Missouri

What to do here

Click a "Get Template" button to get an email template about a specific issue. Edit the template to connect on a more personal level with your lawmaker. See the Contacting Logistics page for information about how to write an effective email to your lawmakers. Get your lawmakers' emails with the search box to the right. Send the email!

Be sure to check out the Next Steps at the bottom of the page. Go to the References/Further Reading page to see our sources and do some research of your own.

Last updated Jan. 20, 2020

Summary

Key:

Legislation Achieved

Some Progress

No Progress

  • Demilitarization

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    No knock warrants
    1033 program
    Military-style training
    SWAT data

    Missouri a

  • For Profit Policing

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Civil asset forfeiture
    Quotas
    Cost of misconduct

    Missouri b

  • Broken Windows Policing

    Minor offenses
    Objective justification for stops
    Reporting stop details

    Missouri c

  • Accountability

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Reckless civil rights violation
    Independent investigation
    Qualified immunity

    Missouri d

  • Reinvesting in Communities

    Mental health response

    Education, housing, and community health resources

    Missouri e

Demilitarization

Learn about demilitarization and the specific issues below on the Demilitarization page (opens in a new window).

 

No knock warrants

No Progress:

Missouri has not yet enacted a law eliminating the use of no-knock warrants. Legal precedent allows for the practice in exigent circumstances.

Pending Legislation: HB405 and HB456 have been introduced during the first regular session of 2021. If either bill passes, no-knock warrants will be “issued only with reasonable suspicion that the perpetrator of a violent felony offense will escape or cause bodily harm to others.” Evidence obtained without meeting this requirement can be suppressed in court. This bill makes it more difficult to obtain a no-knock warrant and creates consequences for unauthorized no-knock searches.

1033 purchases

No Progress:

Missouri has not yet enacted a law ending its participation in programs that facilitate the transfer of military weapons from the federal government to police departments. Despite facing scrutiny over involvement in the program after the death of Michael Brown, the state remains actively involved in the 1033 program.

Pending Legislation:
SB60 has been introduced during the first regular session of 2021. If it passes, police departments will not be able to receive certain military equipment from any federal surplus programs. This bill discourages an overly militaristic mindset in officers and encourages non-violent resolution.

Military style training

No Progress:

Missouri has not yet enacted a law refocusing training away from self-defense responses and towards community centered training like that offered by Blue Courage.

SWAT data

No Progress:

Missouri has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use. The state did change its body camera laws, but hasn't updated reporting requirements for SWAT team use.

For Profit Policing

Learn about for profit policing and the specific issues below on the For Profit Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Civil asset forfeiture

Some Progress:

Beginning in 2001, Missouri required that all profits from civil asset forfeiture cases be directed into the state's education fund. Regrettably, Missouri police departments have relied on the practice known as 'equitable sharing'--Missouri litigates forfeiture claims in partnership with the federal government and gets to retain 80% of the profits. Legislators in 2018 tried to limit this process, but the bill (HB 2507) died in committee.

Quotas

Some Progress:

Missouri banned ticket quotas following protests in Ferguson in 2014. However, many departments have illegally continued this practice. The Attorney General sued two cities in 2019 for disregarding the 'no quota' rule.

Cost of misconduct

No Progress:

Missouri has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.

Broken Windows Policing

Learn about broken windows policing and the specific issues below on the Broken Windows Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Minor offenses

No Progress:

Missouri has not yet enacted a law decriminalizing minor offenses that do not threaten public safety such as spitting and loitering. Legislation to decriminalize marijuana died in the House, despite receiving unanimous support from the Special Committee on Criminal Justice. Of note, Missouri has the 8th highest prison population in the nation.

Objective justification for stops

No Progress:

Missouri has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop (i.e. not simply for furtive movement, suspicious activity, or matching a generalized description).

Reporting stop details

Some Progress:

Missouri requires cataloging of race, gender, residence, outstanding warrants, and presence of alcohol/drugs for vehicle stops, but these reports are reported in an aggregated fashion to the Attorney General. In 2019, the AG requested that departments submit the dis-aggregated data to learn more about the intersections of crime and policing, but this is still a voluntary option.

Accountability

Learn about accountability and the specific issues below on the Accountability page (opens in a new window).

 

Reckless civil rights violation

No Progress:

Missouri has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.

Independent investigation

No Progress:

Missouri has not yet enacted a law institutionalizing an independent prosecutor within the state’s Department of Justice for instances of police misconduct. However, in 2019, St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell established an independent unit tasked specifically with examining cases of police misconduct. This change came after Bob McCulloch, Prosecuting Attorney in 2014, declined to appoint an independent investigator for the Michael Brown case.

Pending Legislation:
HB287 has been introduced during the first regular session of 2021. If it passes, a special prosecutor will investigate officer-involved deaths and shootings. This bill would end the practice of police departments investigating themselves when an officer shoots or kills someone. A third party investigator allows for greater objectivity.

Qualified immunity

No Progress:

Missouri has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.

Reinvesting in Communities

Learn about reinvesting in communities and the specific issues below on the Reinvesting in Communities page (opens in a new window).

 

Mental health response

Some Progress:

Missouri counties across the state work with Missouri Council Crisis Intervention Team to develop mental health training for officers and connect law enforcement to local mental health services. However, CIT programs still dispatch officers to mental health crisis situations.

Education, Housing, Community Health Resources

No Progress:

It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.

Next Steps

No matter what, register to vote:

Contacting officials is just one piece of the puzzle we can't stop there. We need to make sure our elected officials reflect our values and support reform at every level of government. Register here:

To keep these policies at the forefront:

Keep emailing about them (if you just finished the 5 Days Challenge, keep up the schedule—set reminders in your phone to email about each issue on its specific day).

To ask for more than this:

Use our templates as a model to ask for bigger changes. Color for Change and The Movement for Black Lives both have specific policy related to a reimagined law enforcement system. If you think there are additional policies we ought to consider, send your thoughts our way.

To get updates from Meet the Momentum:

Subscribe below.

 
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
Contact: Contribute new information, suggest corrections, ask questions. We'd love to hear from you!
Subscribe