Police Chief Sam Dotson, left, and Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce look on as Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson talks about the city's "no refusal" policy with drunk drivers. Prosecutors will now seek warrants to draw blood if somebody refuses a breath test.
The end of state control of the St. Louis Police Department was literally centuries in the making. But St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the change hasn’t been obvious to city residents.
And that, he said, is a good thing.
“Local control has been a significant step for the metropolitan police department,” Dotson said. “And really, you haven’t noticed anything. It’s been seamless and transparent like it was supposed to be.”
As previously reported by St. Louis Public Radio, management of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officially returned to the purview of the City of St. Louis on Saturday. After the at times contentious process to regain control, and a 152 year run under state management, the city can now look ahead to the impact local control will have on St. Louis.
The process of turning control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department over to City Hall begins today.
Ald. Craig Schmid, the chair of the public safety committee at the Board of Aldermen, will introduce the bill in which the city accepts "responsibility, ownership and liability as the successor-in-interest for contractual obligations, indebtedness and other lawful obligations of the Board of Police Commissioners."
In the first of four discussions as part of our town hall meeting about statewide ballot issues we take a look at Proposition A, concerning local control of the City of St. Louis police department.
Host Don Marsh talks with Jeff Rainford, Mayor Francis Slay’s Chief of Staff for the City of St. Louis, and John Chasnoff, Program Director for the ACLU of Eastern Missouri. Rainford supports Proposition A while Chasnoff opposes it.
Official Ballot Title: (source: Missouri Secretary of State website)
Groups including the ACLU and NAACP have long supported local control of police. But Chair of the Organization for Black Struggle, Montague Simmons, says Proposition A would undercut transparency and citizen oversight.
“The banner head that they’re using for local control, we built credibility for,” Simmons says. “People understand it and they identify directly with citizen review. They identify it with accountability and transparency. Absent that, people will be buying in to something they can’t live with.”
Proposition A, the state ballot measure to hand control of the St. Louis Police Department back to the city has come under fire from local activists.
A coalition of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and NAACP is urging Missouri voters not to vote for Prop A on the grounds that language establishing a citizen oversight board and open access to police records has been stricken from the bill.
Montague Simmons is a spokesman for the group. He says they support local control, but not at the expense of accountability.
A ballot measure that would return oversight of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department back to city officials picked up endorsements from lawmakers across Missouri today.
The 40 or so new endorsements bring the total number of legislators on board with the effort to 87. More than two-thirds of them are Republicans. (See all the elected officials who support the measure here).