Black Cops and Firefighters Ask Police Chief Dotson to Resign


Ethical Society of Police president Sgt. Heather Taylor says she's had enough of chief Sam Dotosn. - DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • Danny Wicentowski
  • Ethical Society of Police president Sgt. Heather Taylor says she's had enough of chief Sam Dotosn.

After years of discontent, the police officers association representing black cops in St. Louis has reached its breaking point with Police Chief Sam Dotson. 

"We hope he resigns or is fired," says Sgt. Heather Taylor, the president of the Ethical Society of Police. The organization of black cops counts 215 members, which is about 20 percent of the force. "We can't recover. It's not going to get better." 

Previously, in November, the Ethical Society of Police announced Dotson had lost its members' confidence as a leader. And now, in an exhaustively detailed new report, the group accuses the chief of implementing unfair disciplinary procedures, stocking the top ranks with white officers and assigning priority resources to downtown areas while allowing north city neighborhoods to wither. 

Released yesterday, the 112-page report presents Dotson's department as bisected by a racial barrier between the lower and higher ranks — a divide that black cops have lived with for too long, says Taylor. 

"I feel that a lot of political pressure are behind a lot of [Dotson's] decisions, and he's trying to appease everyone. He just has to do what's right," she says.

Dotson says he isn't going anywhere. He rejects claims that his department has deployed resources unequally. He also notes that the department's hiring and promotions are governed by the same civil service procedures followed by all city agencies. 

"We have a lot of room to do better," Dotson says. "But if their complaint is lodged against me, it's lodged against the entire process in the city." 

At a Thursday night forum held at the New Northside Conference Center, Taylor was joined by leaders of the Firefighters Institute for Racial Equality, which represents black firefighters — a group that's currently suing the city over hiring and promotion procedures.  

Both groups plan on holding more forums in the future. 

"This alliance is needed," Capt. Abram Pruitt, president of the Firefighters Institute for Racial Equality, told the forum audience. He called on the city's black communities to support the black cops and firefighters. 

"We have problems and they affect you directly. Nobody is going to help black folks, and lead black folks, but black folks."  

Read the full report from the Ethical Society of Police: 

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at

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