Board of Police Commissioners

The St. Louis County Police Department Board of Police Commissioners is a civilian oversight board with five members representing the citizens of St. Louis County. They are the final authority on general orders and policies that govern the control and supervision of the St. Louis County Police Department. Board members are selected from the community by the County Executive and approved by the County Council.  St. Louis County was ahead of its time recognizing the need for civilian oversight and established the Board of Police Commissioners in 1955.  According to the St. Louis County Charter, the "Board of Police Commissioners shall consist of five citizens of the State of Missouri, resident freeholders of the County for not less than three (3) years next preceding their appointment and thirty (30) years or more of age." Not more than three members of said Board shall belong to the same political party, and none shall hold any other public office in the County or elsewhere members of the organized militia or of the reserve corps of the Armed Services and notaries public expected. The members of the board shall be appointed by the county executive with the approval of a majority of the entire county council.”  The Board derives its authority from Section 4.270 of the St. Louis County Charter where it states, “The board of police commissioners shall be in charge of the police department.”


The St. Louis County Charter authorizes the Board of Police Commissioners to perform a variety of critical functions and tasks. For example, they review policies governing the operation and conduct of the department by approving all General Orders or policies of the Department. The Board appoints and provides oversight of the Chief of Police with the power to dismiss the Chief. The Board reviews all external complaints before they are presented to the Chief and may make recommendations on officer discipline.

The Board conducts hearings for employees appealing discipline or termination by the Chief and hears appeals from citizens over complaint dispositions.

The function of the Board is unique among police departments in that it allows the police department to remain independent of political influence while at the same time providing direct oversight from citizens representing St. Louis County. Anyone wishing to address the Board is welcome to speak at a Board meeting held every month at police headquarters. For information on how to establish a citizen review board similar to the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners or learn the manner in which they operate, please contact 314-615-4277. You can also visit The National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement website. 

Current Police Commissioners


Bishop Lawrence M. Wooten, Acting Chairman

Date Appointed: February 2014

 Bishop Lawrence M. Wooten was appointed to the Police Board of Commissioners in February 2014. A native St. Louisan, Bishop Wooten is the pastor of Williams Temple and the presiding Bishop of the Eccleastical Jurisdiction of Eastern Missouri/ Western Illinois Church of God In Christ.



Ms. Laurie Westfall, Secretary

Date Appointed: April 2014

Laurie Westfall was appointed to the the Board of Police Commissioners by County Executive Charlie Dooley in April 2014. She has three grown children and nine grandchildren. She resides in West St. Louis county.      She has served six years on the 21st Judicial Commission and has participated in the selection of a Panel for two Magistrate Judicial positions for  the City of St. Louis. She has also  served on the Condemnation Commission in St. Louis County


Mr. Art Johnson, Member

Date Appointed: November 2016

Art Johnson was born and raised in St. Louis.  Art spent 27 years at AAA, the last seven years as President and CEO.  He retired from AAA in April, 2013.  Art has served on several  Boards throughout the years and continues to remain involved in the community.  He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Lindenwood University and is active with Youth In Need.  Art was appointed to the Police Board of Commissioners in November, 2016.



Mr. Mark Gaertner, Member

Date Appointed: November 2016

Mark J. Gaertner is a native of St. Louis. He graduated from Rohan Woods School, Chaminade Preparatory School, St. Louis University and St. Louis University School of Law.

 Mark is currently a partner with the law firm of Holloran Schwartz & Gaertner, LLP. He is a past president of the St. Louis County Bar Association and stays active in organizations such as Responder Rescue and The Backstoppers. Mark was appointed to the Police Board Commissioners in November of 2016.