St. Louis Police Officers Association

(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).

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.

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.

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