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County Police Commissioners meet to decide future

The St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners adjourned on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, after meeting only in closed session. They voted unanimously to initiate an independent review of the St. Louis County Police Department. The commissioners are from left: Vice-Chairman Lawrence Wooten Sr., Secretary Laurie Westfall, and Arthur Johnson. Photo by J.B. Forbes,

Regarding “Fallout: Chairman of St. Louis County police board resigns, calling verdict against police ‘wake-up call’” (Oct. 30): The leadership problems of the St. Louis County police department are epitomized by the comments of (now former) Police Board Commissioner Laurie Westfall. She stated that “I think we have a really good board. … This board didn’t even know that all was going on” regarding discrimination that cost the county a $20 million jury award.

As the oversight organization for the police, they should have known what was going on. In Westfall's own words: “That’s our job.” She and her fellow board members certainly did not do that job. She also stated that just because the jury sided with the complainant, “it doesn’t mean they [police commanders] are guilty.” Actually, I think it does. County Executive Sam Page made an appropriate decision to replace her. The homophobic and racist culture of the police department will not change without a complete change in leadership. There must be real leaders in charge.

Helen Nelling • University City