Ethical Society Of Police Questions Police Promotion Practices In St. Louis

Are members of the Ethical Society of Police being passed over for police promotions
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Are members of the Ethical Society of Police being passed over for police promotions because of their honest and outspoken advocacy for reforms in policing?

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is in dire need of supervisors, yet the Department of Personnel is dragging its feet in the promotion process. Not only does this lack of action impact SLMPD’s employment needs, but it also further erodes morale and retention. Our talent is being lured to nearby departments that offer better pay and more opportunities for career growth.

It has been brought to our attention that Ethical Society of Police members who tested for the SLMPD Sergeant position back in July have not yet received any response or results from the Department of Personnel. This year is the department's first test for promotion in five years though testing is supposed to occur every three years. By comparison, St. Louis County has been testing on schedule every three years.

Other policies also inhibit qualified officers from being considered for promotion. For instance, officers must submit their vacation requests in November. Officers with test dates that conflicted with their set vacation were not allowed to swap with other officers or reschedule.

This issue extends beyond the promotional process to the hiring process as well. Minority applicants continue to be denied from reapplying based on the claim that the "testing group" is still open. Specifically, officers from the 2014 testing group are not able to retest because they have not closed that group. That means that officers who did not pass the test seven years ago are shut out from consideration. Leaving a testing group open this long is an unheard-of practice by police agencies across the country.

Retention is further eroded by city employees as a whole being underpaid. The Department of Personnel and its director appear to be doing nothing to bring the City of St Louis up to par with the other cities in the area. City workers did not even receive Covid-19 hazard pay while working during the pandemic.

The Department of Personnel and its staff are well rewarded while the rest of us suffer in the pay category. The citizens of the City of St Louis and its employees deserve better.

There needs to be a general inquiry into the Department of Personnel and its actions concerning the employees of the City of St Louis. In order to attract and retain the workforce, our city desperately needs reform in hiring and promotions procedures and pay increases.


The Ethical Society of Police (ESOP) is an association of police officers, park rangers, and civilians that advocates for racial and gender equity in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and St. Louis County Police Department. ESOP was founded in 1972 to address racial biases within law enforcement. ESOP also works to improve community/police relations, develop policies and programs to reduce crime, elevate the status of minority civilians and police officers, encourage greater minority employment by law enforcement agencies, and increase professionalism in law enforcement. Membership is open to all races and includes more than 370 law enforcement professionals employed by the City and County of St. Louis. ESOP membership is approximately 97% African American, but membership is open to all races, religions and sexual orientations. For details, call (314) 690-3565, email or visit

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