FERGUSON, MO (KTVI) – Wives and children of many police officers are in virtual hiding, as some face assault and death threats. Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes talked with the wife of a Ferguson officer who said she's not leaving town, because she fears people aren't hearing the whole truth about her husband's department.
During the spring of 2014, the City of Ferguson commissioned a study to find out what residents thought about City services, including the Ferguson Police Department. It's data that some fear could be met with threats of violence, at a time when police families are already telling their sons and daughters, "Don't tell anyone you're the child of a police officer."
The police wife said, "We don't have answers for them" as she broke down. Then she continued, "It's very frightening. Most people who have a family member who's a police officer are very proud of what they do."
She remains proud, in hiding. We protected her identity for her safety. She continued, "This is real and people actually do know how to find us and they do want to harm us."
She's received many strange calls, including this message, just before I met her, (Unknown caller) "Would you rather hear me coming out, coming out and robbing your house? And it would be like, it'd just be like silence man, you couldn't hear nothing."
She talked about looking over her shoulder, "Did they follow me here? Did I do a good enough job after work today of taking different routes, on my way home. Just letting my younger daughter leave the house ..."
She says some families are leaving town. She says she's decided to stay for Ferguson Police officers, but also for Ferguson residents, who ranked the police department as one of the best city services.
It's in a survey no one's talked about, headed by a Professor at University of Missouri-St. Louis. It's from May of 2014, before any unrest, when the City of Ferguson wanted to know what residents thought about annexing an area north of 270.
Researchers asked registered voters and 61 percent of them said they believed Ferguson was "moving in the right direction." Then citizens ranked city services, putting police third after the fire department and trash service (above six other departments like "code enforcement" and "streets," at the bottom).
When you break it down by ward, even the area surrounding Canfield where Michael Brown died, 69% of those residents rated Ferguson Police good or excellent. Only 4% scored Ferguson police as poor.
The police wife fears the public is not hearing everything. When people complained about militarization of police, she said it wasn't Ferguson police with the heavy gear. She said, "They didn't have the equipment they needed." Not even helmets, until families pooled their money to buy them.
Now she wonders if the Department of Justice also only hears those screaming loudest. She added, "Well, it appears the DOJ made up their mind before they ever got started." She continued, "I'm very worried about what's going to happen to the citizens and what's going to happen to the businesses and what's going to happen to the police officers. This is a good community with a long history and they love their community."
Ferguson mayor James Knowles said the Department of Justice is aware of the UMSL study. He said he's open to any help his town can get with reforms. The council has already eliminated the "tow release fee," which we exposed in a recent Fox Files investigation. Ferguson eliminated the fee September 25th. Some towns add a fee of $500.
Ferguson Police families continue raising money for police helmets, through an organization called Helmets for Heroes.
More to see:
After nights of calm, raucous protest in Ferguson
New video claims Officer Wilson told resident to stop recording
Ferguson resembles ghost town with businesses boarded up ahead of Michael Brown grand jury decision