Slay, other city officials to testify for local control of police department

St. Louis – Mayor Francis Slay and several other current and former St. Louis city officials are expected to testify in Jefferson City Monday in support of a bill that would return control of the police department to the city.

The St. Louis Police Departments has been under state control since the Civil War. Kansas City's department is also controlled by the state.

Representative Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, said local control would allow city taxpayers to have more of a say in how the department is run.

"We spend one third of the city budget on public safety and there should be some accountability with the city residents when it comes to the police department," Nasheed said.

Nasheed said her bill would not affect the police department's $600 million pension fund.

Leaders of the police officers association said they're concerned about their benefits and the amount of political influence the mayor's office would assert if control is given to the city.