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Mayor Slay: Police department needs to lose 80 officer positions

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Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio
About 1,300 officers serve on the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

St. Louis City officials says 80 officer positions must be cut from the city's police force to offset the department's rising pay, health care and pension costs. 

Police Chief Dan Isom and Mayor Francis Slay support eliminating the jobs through attrition. 30 positions, funded through federal grants, would end this year, when those grants are slated to expire.

Mayor Francis Slay says despite a 45 percent increase in police spending since he took office, spending for retirement benefits is out of control.

"The problem is not a revenue problem," Slay said. "The problem is an expense problem. And we all know what's causing the expense problem and that continues to rise. The pension costs this year for the police department is going up by $8 million."

Next year's police budget is slated to increase by roughly that amount -- from $163 million to $172 million . 

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