Missouri should withhold funds from police departments that fail to report problem officers or changes in personnel to the state’s licensing agency, state Auditor Claire McCaskill said yesterday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. She said the legislature should increase funding for the Missouri Peace Officers Standards and Training program to help its single investigator and to modernize its tracking of the state’s 18,000 police. “Our system is badly flawed,” McCaskill said. “We do not have enough manpower and resources to track officers that become problems in their departments.”
Her audit was launched immediately after a five-part Post-Dispatch series in 2003, “The Law in Disorder,” that documented how problem officers sometimes avoid discipline and save their careers by moving quietly from department to department. McCaskill said legislation is needed to allow the state to release information about an officer’s record to prospective employers, so they could spot an applicant with a checkered past. The report included 22 cases of police officers being arrested – for offenses including driving while intoxicated, unlawful use of a weapon, theft and kidnapping – that should have been reported to the standards and taining agency but were not.