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Missouri police organization seeks public input on training, discipline standards

Police training and discipline have been in the spotlight in recent months. Now Missouri residents are being asked to share their thoughts on the subject through surveys, email comments and public listening sessions.


The Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) are reviewing responses to surveys of law enforcement and the public about law enforcement training and discipline in Missouri. The survey will help the public and law enforcement officers better understand each other, DPS Director Sandy Karsten said.

“What we’ve seen since the latter part of May into continuing throughout the nation, as well as in Missouri, is an increase in violent and an increase in aggressive behavior toward police officers,” Karsten said. “And sometimes voices on the protest may be very loud, but not all the voices are being heard.”

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After graduating with 600 hours of training at the police academy, current training standards for the mandatory peace officers license are 24 hours of continuing law enforcement education each year, which includes:

  • Two hours in legal studies;
  • Two hours in technical studies;
  • Two hours in interpersonal perspectives;
  • Two hours of skill development involving firearms;
  • Sixteen hours of electives in any of the preceding core curriculum areas; and
  • One hour of racial profiling awareness training.

The POST Commission is made up of law enforcement officers, a citizen representative and a training expert from around the state. DPS spokesman Mike O’Connell said public meetings were changed to online surveys and listening sessions because of COVID-19 safety precautions.

“So the idea is to look at what the public is saying about the areas of de-escalation, racial profiling, the use of force, law enforcement agencies reaching out and engaging with communities,” he said. “The idea was to get the comments and the ideas from the public and officers before the commission even begins the discussion.

The POST commission does not control or regulate individual police departments, so the discussion is about training and the DPS discipline process. Comments can be submitted to mosema@sema.dps.mo.gov.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice