local control

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 :