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ST. LOUIS — A report released Monday seeks to answer whether police departments are making real progress toward racial equality or just checking a box.

The anti-bias training that comprises 1.4% of all training time for Webster Groves police officers is entirely online and costs $4.99?

File that one under checking a box, according to Karishma Furtado, a research and data catalyst for Forward Through Ferguson, a spinoff of the Ferguson Commission that produced a report in 2015 outlining a path toward racial equity in the St. Louis region following the police shooting of Michael Brown.

Furtado, along with organization co-chair Rebeccah Bennett and lead catalyst David Dwight IV, presented the group’s second report, titled “The State of Police Reform,” at the Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being.

They plan to host three town hall meetings throughout the area to discuss the report, which concluded, “St. Louis is in desperate need of effective and holistic public safety that doesn’t rely on the failed arrest-and-incarcerate model.”

The group’s report focused on three departments. Here are some of the findings:

Ferguson: A consent decree issued by the U.S. Department of Justice is a legal mandate forcing the department to change, but the “restrictive procedures” of that mandate also can slow things down. The group also noted that Ferguson has had seven police chiefs in the past five years.

“Ferguson is an eye-opening example of ... extreme volatility in leadership and how that degree of upheaval can impede reform,” according to the report.

St. Louis: The size of the department leads to “particularly complex dynamics including a larger leadership structure that often precludes a strong, consistent and clear commitment to one platform,” according to the report. The department is the largest in the region, with about 1,100 commissioned officers, and it is governed by a police chief, a mayor and a public safety director, who, “if you look at their actions, are misaligned,” Furtado said.

The department also has a “nearly constant flux of legal action both spurring and slowing change,” as well as “an oftentimes oppositional police union,” according to the report.

North County Police Cooperative: The group called the department, which is based in Vinita Park, “organically” grown with “community-oriented roots.” The department formed in 2015 as several municipalities consolidated their police departments in north St. Louis County.

There have been advances in programs that help foster racial equality, but not as much progress on the department’s policies, according to the report.

Looking at the region as a whole, the group called for devoting more resources toward addressing the root causes of crime.

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