Protests take financial and emotional toll on police

The financial toll is just part of the price paid in response to the protests.

ST. LOUIS - What is the wave of protests following the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley costing the city? About $2,900,000 in police overtime according to new estimates from The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

But St. Louis Police Officers' Association President Ed Clark said there is an emotional toll as well.

Overtime for officers on the protest detail often includes bearing the brunt of people's emotions. It’s a situation Clark said no reasonable person would wish for.

We've all seen the video of St. Louis police officers standing in a line while people chant and shout.

“It’s been widely reported that the police have been injured. We’ve have dislocated jaws and we’ve had stitches,” he said.

Clark said the stress caused by the potential violence of the situation or possible lawsuits is causing some officers to think twice about why they wanted the job.

“I don’t even know how to explain how hard that is and the toll. But after a while I would say just like any other reasonable person that you start to feel pretty unappreciated,” said Clark.

Clark said, even worse, the situation creates a divisiveness between protesters and police that he believes could be handled differently.

But it doesn't look like protests will end soon according to Alderman John Collins-Muhammad.

“When will the protests end? I don't know," he said. "Are were tired? We're exhausted yes. But were more tired of being shot down.”

Clark said he hopes solutions to community concerns can be reached.

“Just the stress of knowing that like this is going to happen and we’re going to be put in the situation, it just seems like it’s making the divide worse. You’re making people choose sides where, if we invested the time to sit down and talk about solutions, I’m sure we could find them," said Clark

Clark emphasized his belief that all officers would benefit from training in de-escalation. Training in this area is a way not only to reduce violent confrontations but also, he said, to protect the emotional and physical health of local police.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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