Watchdog: Accountability

Transparency lacking for police misconduct cases in Missouri

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Watchdog,Missouri,Kelly Cohen,Accountability,Law,Law Enforcement

Missouri state probes into police wrongdoing need to be made public, according to an investigation by KYTV-Channel 3 News in Springfield.

The news station learned of two confidential settlements by the city of Branson, both after allegations of wrongdoing involving the same police officer.

The officer still holds a valid state police license to this day, the KYTV investigation shows.

In the state of Missouri, one needs a license to provide most professional services. And it can immediately be taken away for major gross negligence.

Police officers have to abide by this law, too, as they can lose their state licenses after an investigation into their conduct.

The Missouri Peace Officers Standards and Training agency, or POST, reviews misconduct allegations to see whether police officers should retain their state licenses.

In the last two years, POST sent notification letters to 382 law enforcement agencies warning that the departments had given it late notifications of an officer's departure or disciplinary action.

A 2005 state audit found police chiefs do not often notify POST within 30 days if an officer is subject to discipline or under investigation.

Read the full article here.

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