Missouri POST Commission asks for public input

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri POST Commission held a public meeting in Jefferson City Thursday to get suggestions on changes to law enforcement officer training standards. 

The Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission is in charge of making sure law enforcement officers are trained and are the most professional and best possible. 

On August 6, Governor Jay Nixon asked the POST Commission and the Department of Safety to update and enhance law enforcement training standards in Missouri. The governor asked the commission to also hold public meetings around the state to get input from Missourians, law enforcement agencies, advocacy groups and other stakeholders. 

A POST Commission Official said the group is specifically interested in making improvements to tactical training, officer mental well-being, and fair and impartial policing.

Three men stood up to offer their input at the meeting.

Colin Comer from the Central Missouri Police Academy said they are receiving "fewer and fewer, and worse and worse" applicants at the academy. 

"Why would you set yourself up to be this kind of target?" Comer said. 

Patrick Bonnot from MIRMA also spoke at the meeting and said a small minority gives a bad name to the rest of the profession. 

"Our association is all for training, we know that that lowers our loss rate over time. We want very effective training, and we're very interested to see what the rest of the committee comes up with," Bonnot said. 

POST Director of Public Safety Lane Roberts said the events in Ferguson may have played a small role in Nixon's decision to change the training standards.

"The governor has sent us on this mission, certainly Ferguson has an influence on it, but it's not the sole one," Roberts said. 

The POST Commission will hold four more meetings. The next meeting will be September 24 in St. Louis at St. Louis Community College.

Written comments from the public can also be emailed to the commission through Oct. 15.