Ferguson Police Rebuilding 4 Years Later

Department had fallen to 36 officers

Kevin Killeen
August 16, 2018 - 4:59 pm

Kevin Killeen/KMOX

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FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOX) -- The "Help Wanted" sign still hangs over the police department, four years after the death of Michael Brown and the protests that followed.

Chief Delrish Moss says when he first arrived, the police staff had fallen to 36 officers. Now it's back up to 46, and he wants to hire four more for a total of 50 officers.

Moss says it's not hard to get applicants who want to work in Ferguson, but it takes time to do background checks and build the right team.

Asked if the current 8 percent staff shortage is hindering crime fighting, the chief says it has not.

During recent anniversary protests at the Ferguson Market, demonstrators thronged the parking lot -- effectively closing the business -- and police let them, but Moss says it wasn't for lack of officers.

"The protest situation recently was not one where police said, 'we're going to wash our hands of it,'" Moss said. "That was one of those things where you have to calculate how you go in. You have to look at -- what is the greater good."

Moss says he's been keeping open lines of communication with protest organizers to avoid misunderstandings that could lead to clashes with police.

Also, Moss says his officers have been improving their relationship with the community, especially school-aged children, by hosting swimming events and athletic contests to give kids a positive memory of police.

"We're building for the future," Moss said.

The chief says overall crime in Ferguson was down 21 percent last year, and is trending down again this year, but he said he didn't have the numbers.