local control

Two bills continue to sit in the Missouri Senate that would restore local control over the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, despite last week’s announced agreement between Mayor Francis Slay (D) and the Police Officers Association.

The compromise would give police officers collective bargaining rights, preserve police pensions, and preserve officers’ ranks, salaries and benefits once they become city employees.  There would also be a no-strike clause.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department says not much would change if oversight of the department returns to City Hall for the first time in 150 years.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

As lawmakers circle around a possible compromise on the local control legislation in the Missouri Capitol today, St. Louis' Mayor Francis Slay shared some of his thoughts on the possible ramifications.


Missouri Republican Senators End Filibuster

Missouri's Senate has embraced a plan to extend federally funded jobless benefits while cutting eligibility for state-funded benefits.  Several Republican senators upset about federal spending ended a filibuster Thursday against legislation renewing the federal long-term benefits. That came after the Senate voted to cut state jobless benefits by six weeks, to a maximum of 20 weeks.

(St. Louis Board of Aldermen & Missouri Senate websites)

The newly re-elected President of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen has called a controversial state Senator "unfit to lead," and is asking her to step down over remarks she made about black politicians who are supporting local control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A Missouri Senate committee heard testimony today on the St. Louis police local control bill that easily passed the Missouri House last month

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay told the committee on governmental organization that an overwhelming majority of voters support local control, and that under state control, city residents have no input into how the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is run.

St. Louis Police: No Local Control

The top officers of the St. Louis Police Officers' Association are challenging a potential 2012 ballot measure granting St. Louis and Kansas City local control of their police department.  The lawsuit filed Thursday in Cole County contends the summary and financial estimate that would appear on the statewide ballot are unfair and misleading.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The battle over who will control the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has entered the theater of the courtroom.

Legislative efforts to give the city's Board of Aldermen direct oversight of the department have stalled. (It's currently governed by a five-member board, four of whom are gubernatorial appointees. The mayor is always the fifth).

Harrison Sweazea, Mo. Senate Communications Office

Legislation that would restore local control over the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has stalled in the Missouri Senate

Two St. Louis-area Senators, Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) and Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D, University City), began a filibuster of the bill today.

St. Louis residents pay for the city’s police force, but the state controls it.

While St. Louis’ mayor sits on the Board of Police Commissioners, Missouri’s governor appoints the other four members.

It’s been that way for 150 years, since the outset of the Civil War.

In recent years, the drumbeat to bring local control back to the city has been growing louder.

As part of St. Louis Public Radio’s continuing Bound By Division series, Maria Altman reports the reasons for and against local control have changed since the Civil War, but it’s still an issue that pits the city against the state.

A Missouri Senate committee has approved legislation that would restore local control to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, but not before adding a provision that could also kill it.

The amendment would reduce the number of city aldermen in St. Louis to 14, and the number of wards from 28 to seven.

The move comes one day after a related bill easily passed the Missouri House.

For the first time ever, the Missouri House has passed legislation to give the city of St. Louis control over its police department, which has been under state control since the Civil War.

The vote was 109 to 46 in favor, and the bill now goes to the Missouri Senate.

A day after a measure granting St. Louis control of its police department cleared the latest of several legislative hurdles, a broad coalition of politicians, business and community leaders and civil rights activists pledged to help it get through the Missouri Senate.

The message they'll bring? You have to listen to the people.

Tim Bommel, Mo. House of Representatives

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to legislation that would return control of the Metropolitan Police Department to the city of St. Louis.

The department has been under state control since the Civil War.

St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom says the department may have to lay off as many as 65 officers because of a budget shortfall.

KSDK-TV reports that Isom spoke Wednesday to the city's Police Board. He says he continues to hope the cuts aren't necessary, but the department is evaluating how to make ends meet.

The budget for the police department is $164 million this year.

 A Safer Missouri, a group in favor of local control of the St. Louis Police Department, announced three additional entities today which have endorsed local control:

St. Louis City Hall is ratcheting up pressure on Jefferson City to relinquish control of the city's police department, or pay for it themselves.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says he expects the Missouri legislature to return control of city police department this year.

If not, the Mayor says St. Louis is within its rights to bill the General Assembly for part of the cost of running it.

Political activist Rex Sinquefield is donating $300,000 to a Missouri group's effort to remove the St. Louis and Kansas City police departments from state control.

The political action committee A Safer Missouri plans to collect the 150,000 valid signatures necessary to get the issue on the Nov. 2012 ballot.

A Missouri House committee has voted in favor of legislation to give St. Louis control over its police department, which has been under state control since the Civil War.

Those arguing in favor of local control say it's past time for St. Louis to regain authority over its police force.

St. Louis Public Radio photo

Have you ever dealt with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department? The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies wants to hear from you.

The department got its first CALEA accreditation three years ago; it's trying to get re-accredited for another three years. As the department explains :