Rachel Lippmann


Lippmann returned to her native St. Louis after spending two years covering state government in Lansing, Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and followed (though not directly) in Maria Altman's footsteps in Springfield, also earning her graduate degree in public affairs reporting. She's also done reporting stints in Detroit, Michigan and Austin, Texas. Rachel likes to fill her free time with good books, good friends, good food, and good baseball.

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Police cars park outside of the Bel-Ridge Municipal Complex, which includes spaces for Village Hall, its municipal court, and the police department.  11/8/14, Durrie Bouscaren
Durrie Bouscaren/St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

A voluntary effort to reform the municipal courts in St. Louis County is getting a financial boost from the MacArthur Foundation.

A group that includes researchers from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and officials from local municipal courts, the St. Louis County police, St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch's office, and state court administrators has received $150,000 to get a better understanding of who is coming into the municipal court system in St. Louis and why they are ending up in jail. The funds will also help the group refine programs to reduce that number.

Mayor Francis Slay signs the bill authorizing a vote on new capital-improvement bonds.
Provided by the mayor's office.

After nearly 14 months of political gridlock, a $180 million bond issue is on its way to St. Louis voter in an August election.

The Board of Aldermen approved, and Mayor Francis Slay signed the authorizing bill Tuesday. The bonds would help pay for major capital needs like road and bridge projects, new equipment for the fire department and upgrades to the security system at one of the city's two jails. 

Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia police commissioner and leader of President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing
Provided by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers, their families and supporters gathered in downtown St. Louis Friday morning to remember colleagues who have been killed in the line of duty.

One hundred sixty four officers from the department have been killed since 1863. The last name to be added to the list was in 2011, when Darryl Hall was killed while responding to a fight at a nightclub while he was off-duty.

kevindooley via Flickr

A $180 million bond issue that would fund critical capital needs like new fire trucks and city building repairs remains on track to go to the voters in August.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave their initial approval to the measure Thursday. They will return on Tuesday to send the measure to Mayor Francis Slay for his signature. He must sign the bill, and it must be transported to the city's Board of Election Commissioners, by 5 p.m. on May 26.

The Missouri Supreme Court has set a July 14 execution date for David Zink for the 2001 kidnapping, rape and murder of a woman
Courtesy of the Missouri Department of Corrections

The state of Missouri has scheduled the execution of another inmate.

David Zink is set to be put to death by lethal injection on July 14. He was convicted in 2004 of raping and murdering a woman he had kidnapped after rear-ending her car on a highway outside of Springfield, Mo. 

kevindooley via Flickr

A $180 million bond issue to address the city's capital needs remains on track for an August vote.

The Ways and Means committee approved the measure Thursday by a 7-1 vote. The committee's chairman, Alderman Steve Conway, was the lone no vote.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers raise their weapons at a preshift meeting 3.23.15
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio intern

Funding to put additional police on the St. Louis streets likely won't go to voters until November.

The city's public safety committee took more than three hours of testimony Wednesday on the measures that set up the funding mechanisms for the new officers. But in the end, lawmakers took no action, which likely scuttles the hope of Mayor Francis Slay to ask voters for their approval in August.

(via Flickr/alancleaver_2000)

A second juvenile will stand trial as an adult for the November death of a Bosnian immigrant.

Appeals Court judge Roy Richter was on the bench in Ferguson for the first time on March 19. Video screens were set up in another building to accommodate those who wanted to watch the court but did not have cases.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson's municipal court has significantly improved its operations since the release of a blistering federal report in March, the office that handles administrative affairs for the courts in Missouri has found.

via Flickr/Arvell Dorsey Jr

The Illinois State Police has become the first law enforcement agency in the state to get permission from the federal government to use drones.

The Federal Aviation Administration authorized the state police's unmanned aircraft system last week. The drone, which is stationed in central Illinois, is available for any department across the state to use, as long as it complies with a 2013 law that limited warrantless surveillance to emergency situations.

traffic ticket
Chris Yarzab | Flickr

The 90 municipalities in St. Louis County are beginning to consider the impacts of new limits on their budgets that would be set by the passage Thursday of Senate Bill 5.

Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to sign the measure into law. The impact of its 23 pages won't be fully apparent for three years, but it's fairly clear already that things will look vastly different come Jan.1.

Chief Sam Dotson stl police 1.27.15
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio intern

St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson plans to develop a new website that would rank judges by how often they give probation to people facing certain lower-level felony gun charges.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Missouri appeals court has upheld the 2011 firing of the city’s former corrections commissioner, Eugene Stubblefield.

The Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the July 16, 2014, opinion of Judge Robert Dierker without making its reasoning public. Dierker had ruled there was plenty of evidence that the city of St. Louis had just cause to let Stubblefield go.

St. Louis County Crisis Intervention Team officers respond to as many as 60 calls per week involving a person with a mental health issue, according to Sgt. Jeremy Romo.
Jason Rojas | Flickr

Updated at 2 p.m. with comments from Chuck Wexler, local leaders. — A report from a national research group says St. Louis’ fragmented policing is hurting the region in many ways.

The Rev. Starsky Wilson, co-chair of the Ferguson Commission.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

The Ferguson Commission agreed Monday night by a unanimous vote to adopt a new operating principle that requires its working groups to use a lens of racial equality as they consider their recommendations for the September report. 

Michael Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, listens on March 5 as attorney Daryl Parks announces the family's intent to sue former police officer Darren Wilson and the city of Ferguson for her son's death.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated as of 10:30 pm., April 22, 2015:

The family of Michael Brown will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Ferguson on Thursday, according to a news  release sent Wednesday night.

Adrian Wright, a former mayor of Pine Lawn, says his political opponent used the city's police department as a tool of political intimidation. Adolphus Pruitt of the NAACP is at left.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri has sued the city of Pine Lawn for using its police department as a tool of political intimidation.

The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday centers around the 2013 race for mayor between Sylvester Caldwell, who was the incumbent, and challenger Nakisha Ford, who was backed by former mayor and councilman Adrian Wright.

Board president Lewis Reed signs legislation creating a civilian oversight board for St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

More than 30 years of work by city aldermen and activists paid off Monday, as the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved a civilian oversight board for the city's police department.

Applause broke out in the chambers as President Lewis Reed announced the 17-8 vote. Two members voted present, and one alderman did not vote at all.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking podcast team welcomed St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce as its latest guest for what turned out to be a particularly spirited show.

Joyce is a St. Louis native with deep political roots. Both of her parents – Jack and Nellene Joyce – served as aldermen in the 23rd Ward (the old home turf of Mayor Francis Slay.)

Joyce graduated from  Bishop DuBourg High School in south St. Louis and obtained her law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1987.

Chief Jon Belmar said police questioned three people regarding the shootings but they did not turn up any suspects
file photo by Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that left a Jennings man dead.

Thaddeus McCarroll, 23, was shot and killed by an officer on the St. Louis County police tactical team around 11:30 p.m. Friday night after allegedly charging at the officers with a knife.