St. Charles County officials gave a pat on the back to local police officers and emergency responders, particularly for their dedication and work in responding to emergency situations and their role in handling recent potentially disruptive protests in St. Charles.
The County Council unanimously approved a resolution expressing that support at its Oct. 30 meeting.
The resolution was prompted, in part, by how officers and responders handled a demonstration in September over the acquittal of white ex-Louis police officer Jason Stockley on first-degree murder charges in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith who was black. About 100 protestors brought their concerns to the city of St. Charles when they turned up near Trailhead Brewing Co., on Riverside Drive, at the south end of Frontier Park during the annual Saint Charles Oktoberfest. The crowd marched down the nearby streets about 8:30 p.m., carrying signs that read “No more racist killer cops” and “Black Lives Matter.”
St. Charles County Police Chief David Todd said that, despite frequent comments from people along the protest route and in the parade and several traffic incidents, only a few arrests for property damage and conduct were made. About 100 police from St. Charles City and County and an additional 20 or so emergency responders were involved in the roughly two-hour march on Riverside Drive along the Oktoberfest grounds and near the nearby Ameristar Casino, Todd said
The council’s resolution noted that police have “admirably protected the rights of individuals to exercise their rights to peacefully assemble and express their opinions, while also protecting the rights of other citizens and property owners in the area.”
The protests required participation and careful planning and coordination by the city of St. Charles and county police, the county Sheriff’s Department, the county’s Department of Corrections and other emergency responders, the resolution added.
The resolution states that police and first responders “do not receive the thanks and admiration that they deserve” and notes that the council “expresses its continuing confidence in and support of the work these men and women do, both during civil unrest and during the work they do each and every day.”
“We wanted to recognize you folks because in some areas of the country and region there doesn’t seem to be the recognition like there should,” County Councilmember Joe Brazil [District 2] said at the meeting. “We wanted to make the point that we really do appreciate you folks and we have absolute gratitude for what you do.”
“It worked very well not only for the protesters but for the other people that were in the area at the same time,” Councilmember Mike Klinghammer [District 6], said, lauding the planning and coordination between police and responding agencies.
Councilmember John White [District 7], the father and father-in-law of police officers, said he was proud to put his name on the resolution. He said police officers aren’t paid enough for the long hours of work they do. “It’s not like a normal job,” he said. “These people really deserve our respect.”
Todd said that police understand they work for the public around the clock.
“We choose this profession and we know the risks that come with it,” Todd said. “It’s really nice when we get the phone calls and the officers, men and women, get a pat on the back. We know you care and that’s what it’s all about.”