ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – County Police Chief John Belmar has announced there will be investigations into the claims that officers serving on MetroLink did not fulfill their duties.
Belmar says he and the department take all allegations against their officers seriously, and all incidents cited in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article will be thoroughly investigated by internal affairs.
“We’re going to get to the bottom of it,” he says.
Belmar has claimed that the accusations were politically motivated, saying Bi-State Development is using the situation to gain an upper-hand. He maintains that some claims were false, and a statement by the police department calls it “an invasion of privacy.”
You can read the full statement here: County Police Chief Denies Allegations Against Metro Officers
Belmar says he wishes Metro had brought the incidents to his attention sooner, as these types of incidents are best dealt with immediately.
“Part of the problem is that we have to be able to investigate this almost in real time, because when you don’t do that it can become a little bit opaque. We’re going to do it anyway and certainly you have my commitment on that,” he says.
Belmar says the department was aware of several of the incidents, including an officer covering a security camera in 2015. Belmar says that officer was determined not to be the best fit for MetroLink, and was reassigned shortly after.
In regards to the allegations that St. Louis County police changed radio frequencies, blocking Metro from certain information, Belmar says it was to ensure officer safety by having a police-focused channel in the event that officer needs to call for aide, and that St. Louis City police has also switched their frequency.
The Post-Dispatch article also claimed that police were absent from their posts during July 4th weekend, and that is also being investigated, but Belmar says to their knowledge, no incidents were reported that weekend, and credits that to the cooperation of the city and county police.
Metro’s Public Safety Committee Chairman Vince Schoemehl has called for Belmar’s resignation following the accusations.
“Absolutely not,” Belmar says. “I’m not going anywhere.”