Friday, February 20, 2015 -
8:30am to 3:00pm

John K. Pruellage Courtroom

The Thin Blue Line: Policing Post-Ferguson

Presented by the Saint Louis University Public Law Review

The 2015 Public Law Review Symposium addressed the legal and societal challenges placed on the justice system in our world post-Ferguson. Today’s law enforcement officials face new hurdles in an era marked by social media, smart phones, a 24-hour news cycle, citizen journalists and a growing divide between local police and the people they are called to serve. With the world’s attention turned on Ferguson, Mo., critique of law enforcement procedure, tactics and subsequent prosecution procedures is at an all-time high. Through hosting panels on Policing the Protests and Policing the Police, "The Thin Blue Line: Policing Post-Ferguson" identified legal challenges that face law enforcement on the streets today. This event brought together academics, law enforcement officers and practitioners to engage in a candid discussion of the changing environment in which our justice system is closely examined.

Symposium Video

Opening Presentation:

Reflections on Policing Protest:

Reflections on Policing Police:


Event Schedule

9:00 9:10-9:45 9:45-10:10 10:20-12:00 12:00-1:00 1:30-3:00


Dean Michael A. Wolff,

Dean and Professor of Law, Saint Louis University School of Law

Opening Presentation

Robert P. McCulloch, 

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney

Q & A

Panel 1: Reflections on Policing Protest:

Chief Jon Belmar - St. Louis County Police Chief
David Klinger - Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of Missouri, St. Louis
Alex Vitale - Associate Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College

(moderated by Anders Walker)


Panel 2: Reflections on Policing Police:

Kami Chavis Simmons - Director of the Criminal Justice Program and Professor of Law at Wake Forest University School of Law
Seth Stoughton - Assistant Professor of Law at University of South Carolina School of Law
Edward Maguire - Professor in the Department of Justice, Law, & Criminology at American University

(moderated by Roger Goldman)


Chief Jon Belmar 

St. Louis County Police Chief

Chief Jon Belmar has served in the agency since 1986 and was appointed to the position of Chief of Police by the St. Louis County Board Commissioners on January 31, 2014.

Chief Belmar has a degree in criminology from Arkansas State University and after became certified as a bomb technician at the FBI’s Hazardous Device School at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama in 1997. He attended the 228th Session of the FBI National Academy in 2007 and has received 48 awards and letters of appreciation.

He began his career as a patrolman in the Affton Southwest Precinct and in the South County Precinct before his promotion to Sergeant in 1995. In 1998, Chief Belmar was then promoted to Lieutenant within the Division of Criminal Investigation as the commander of the Bureau of Crimes Against Persons and remained at that position until his promotion to Captain in 2004. In July 2013, Chief Belmar was then promoted to the position of Commanding Officer of the Division of Special Operations as a Lt. Coronel. In addition, he was appointed to the St. Louis County Domestic and Family Violence Council in 2000, and has been a member of the Executive Board since 2001.

Chief Belmar is currently an active member in both the Affton and South County Chambers of Commerce. He was raised in North St. Louis County and currently resides in West St. Louis County with his wife and their two children.

David Klinger

Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of Missouri, St. Louis

David Klinger is an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis specializing in policing, terrorism and use of deadly force. He received a B.A. in History at Seattle Pacific University, a Master of Justice from American University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Washington.

Prior to pursuing his graduate degrees, Professor Klinger worked as a patrol officer for the Los Angeles and Redmond (WA) Police Departments.  He was the recipient of the American Society of Criminology's inaugural Ruth Caven Young Scholar Award for outstanding early career contributions to the discipline of criminology in 1997.

Professor Klinger has lead two federally-funded research projects that deal with the use of force by police officers. One was the study of officer involved shootings and the other was of police special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams. He has published several scholarly articles that address arrest practices, the use of force, how features of communities affect the actions of patrol officers and terrorism. Prior to joining the Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty at UMSL, Professor Klinger was Assistant (1992-1998) and Associate (1998-1999) Professor of Sociology at the University of Houston.

Alex Vitale

Associate Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College

Alex Vitale is an Associate Professor at Brooklyn College teaching courses in criminology, sociology of law, social movements and political sociology. In 1989, he received his B.A. at Hampshire College studying Urban Studies and Cultural Anthropology. Professor Vitale then went on to receive his Ph.D. in Sociology at the City University Graduate Center in 2001.

From 1990 to 1993, Professor Vitale served on the staff of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness developing and preserving health care and social services programs and defending the civil rights of the people living on the streets and in shelters.

His research interests include community policing, the policing of demonstrations and civil disorder, urban politics and economics and social movements. Professor Vitale has written and contributed in several books, articles and other publications. He co-wrote People, Power, and Politics in 2002 and authored City of Disorder: How the Quality of Life Campaign Transformed New York Politics in 2008.

In 2013, he was appointed to the New York State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and received the "Citizen of the City Award" for his Police Reform Organizing Project by the Urban Justice Center.

Kami Chavis Simmons

Director of the Criminal Justice Program and Professor of Law at Wake Forest University School of Law

Kami Chavis Simmons is a professor at Wake Forest University School of Law. She joined the faculty in 2006, teaching courses in Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Professional Responsibility. Prior to Wake Forest, she worked as an associate at private law firms in Washington, D.C. where she participated in various aspects of civil litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and internal investigations. In 2003, Professor Simmons was selected as Assistant United States Attorney at the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. involving her in a wide range of criminal prosecutions and in arguing and briefing appeals before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

She graduated with highest honors in 1996 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After receiving her B.A., she then went on to receive her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law in 1999.

Professor Simmons has articles published in several legal journals focusing on using Cooperative Federalism principles and stakeholder participation to implement sustainable reforms in the criminal justice system. She is a frequent contributor to national media outlets like The New York Times and The Huffington Post and has been quoted in other outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, International Business Times and Deutsche Welle regarding police accountability and the structural reform of law enforcement agencies. 

She was elected to the American Law Institute in 2012.

Seth Stoughton

Assistant Professor of Law at University of South Carolina School of Law

Seth Stoughton is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina where he is affiliated with the Rule of Law Collaborative. His scholarship focuses on the regulation of police and has appeared in the Minnesota Law Review, the Tulane Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, and other journals. He has appeared on national and international media and written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The State, and other news publications. He teaches in the criminal law area, including Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and the Regulation of Vice.

Professor Stoughton earned his B.A. in English from Florida State University and then went on to receive his Juris Doctor at the University Of Virginia School Of Law. At Law School, he was an Articles Editor on the Virginia Law Review, an Elsie Hughes Cabell Scholar and the recipient of the Thomas Marshall Miller Prize.

Seth served as an officer with the Tallahassee Police Department for five years training other officers in report writing. He helped create policies to govern the use of new technologies, earned multiple instructor and operator certifications and taught personal safety and self-defense courses in the community. In 2004, he received a Formal Achievement Award for his role as a founding member of the Special Response Team. After leaving the police department in 2005, Seth spent three years as an Investigator in the Florida Department of Education's Office of Inspector General, where he handled a variety of criminal and administrative investigations. In 2008, he received a statewide award for his work combating private school tuition voucher fraud.

Edward Maguire

Professor in the Department of Justice, Law, & Criminology at American University

Ed Maguire is a professor in the Department of Justice, Law & Criminology at American University. Professor Maguire is a criminologist who does research that focuses on police organizations and violent crime. Before teaching at American University he held previous positions at George Mason University, the University of Nebraska, the U.S. Department of Justice and the United Nations.

Professor Maguire is invited regularly to speak on topics related to crime and justice throughout the United States and around the world. He has written or edited three books and more than 50 articles and chapters on various themes related to policing, crime, criminal justice, organization theory, and social science methodology. He recently finished two major externally funded research projects: a six-year study of a violent crime outbreak in Trinidad and Tobago, and a four-year study of human trafficking in the Philippines.  He and his colleagues also recently finished a national study of ballistic evidence processing in American police departments.  He is currently leading a national study of protest policing in the U.S., a study of predictive policing in Uruguay, a study of transnational crime in El Salvador and the U.S., and several studies of policing, gangs and violence in the Caribbean.

Professor Maguire received a B.S. in Criminal Justice at the University of Lowell in 1991 and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice at the University at Albany, SUNY in 1992 and 1997, respectively.


Contact Name

Theresa Campbell



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