ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County Police Chief Mary Barton has fired a contract instructor for the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy for allegedly uttering racial slurs during a class, 5 On Your Side has learned.
St. Louis Police County Police Association business manager Matt Crecelius said officers first alerted supervisors to the instructor's inappropriate comments on Oct. 20.
"Officers brought it to the attention of academy supervisors, and they did what they’re supposed to do and brought it to the attention of commanders," Crecelius said. "Officers also brought it to my attention and I wrote a letter to the chief.
"It then took some time to make the decision and they made the appropriate decision."
In a memo Wednesday, Barton wrote:
"I recently learned that an instructor demonstrated behavior in the classroom that was not consistent with the standards we demand or professional policing. The contracted instructor was suspended until a thorough investigation into the matter could be completed. It has now been brought to conclusion and the existing contracts with the instructor and her company have been terminated," Barton wrote.
She also lauded the officers who reported the misconduct.
"To those that brought this behavior to the department's attention, I extend to you my sincerest appreciation," she wrote. "Discrimination, whether by word or deed, shall not be tolerated by any of us. We must hold ourselves accountable."
Sources tell 5 On Your Side the instructor used a racial slur during the class and said she doesn't believe EBT cards should be used to buy hair and nails.
Several classes have been canceled this week at the academy that the instructor was scheduled to teach, including managing and coaching toxic employees as well as field trainer and supervisor report editing.
The instructor is not named in Barton's memo, but sources say the instructor has been teaching police courses at police academies throughout the St. Louis region, including the Jefferson College Law Enforcement Academy and the Southern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission.
Thursday, the Ethical Society of Police issued a statement, saying that although the instructor is able to work with other departments:
"It has been announced that the contract with a St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy (CMPA) instructor was terminated because the instructor used racial slurs during her instruction. The Ethical Society of Police complained to Chief Barton and the Board of Police Commissioners immediately after being notified of the incident.
Though this instructor can no longer teach at CMPA, it is disturbing that she is still contracted with other departments.
We acknowledge Chief Barton for taking the appropriate action in this situation. Unfortunately, this incident is just one of at least three where derogatory terms have been used where police officers are supposed to receive training in a professional environment. These incidents have been reported in the news over many years.
We believe that additional steps are needed to ensure such an incident will not occur again. We are asking for better checks and balances at CMPA and regular evaluations by class participants.
Also, until more people of good conscience speak up and out against inappropriate behavior and policies that negatively affect Black officers and members of the community, this pattern will not change.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a trend for the FOP and others of good conscience to speak out about race-based issues."
Missouri Department of Public Safety Communications Director Mike O'Connell sent an email to 5 On Your Side's Christine Byers addressing ESOP's statement.
"POST does NOT license continuing education training instructors. We have heard a name associated with this person from two different sources. That person is NOT a Missouri licensed peace officer, NOT a licensed basic training instructor, and has no courses with POST that are approved for POST credit."
Editor's note: We removed a portion of the statement from the Ethical Society of Police that included inaccurate information that was given to 5 On Your Side.