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Ethical Society of Police plans community forums on new police chief

Ethical Society of Police president Sgt. Heather Taylor speaks to a forum on disparities in the St. Louis police and fire departments on July 7, 2016. Her organization has called on chief Sam Dotson to resign.
File photo | Wiley Price | St. Louis American
The Ethical Society of Police, led by Sgt. Heather Taylor, shown here in a 2016 file photo, is holding a community forum Thursday night on the search for a new chief.

The union that represents officers of color in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department wants to know what the public wants to see in a new police chief.

The Ethical Society of Police is hosting the first community forum Thursday night at Vashon High School beginning at 6 p.m. Its president, Sgt. Heather Taylor, said the society plans to schedule at least one more forum, and conduct a survey.

"We're been trying to do these forums to show that we are about community-oriented policing," she said. "When you don’t connect to your community, people don’t often talk to you, they don’t give you tips on crime, they’re fearful of you. We just want to show some level of transparency."

Taylor said the forums are intended to compliment an advisory committee set up by Mayor Lyda Krewson. With the city doing a nation search for the first time, she said, it's important to get as much community input as possible.

The selection process for a new chief could take as long as a year.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.