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Local control ballot measure picks up more endorsements

St. Louis Public Radio
State Sen. Joe Keaveny has filed legislation that would return the St. Louis Police Department back to local control for the first time since the 1850s.

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).

Included in today's list was outgoing Senate Minority Leader Victor Callahan, from the Kansas City area. His Democratic colleague, Senator Joe Keaveny of St. Louis, called that a welcome surprise.

"I've  been working on this for two and a half years," Keaveny said. "There were some portions of the state, especially Kansas City, that didn't want anything to do with it because they don't have control of their police department, and they don't want control of their police department."

Callahan, Keaveny says, is well respected in his district. And he believes the legislative endorsements will help convince residents to support the measure.

"These are the people they elected to come to Jefferson City to represent them," he said. "I think when they go back and say, I've been up there, his is really in the best interest of the state, I think that carries a lot of sway."

Keaveny says in addition to state lawmakers, the coalition supporting the measure is also reaching out to mayors across Missouri.  He's confident of a victory at the ballot box, after two failed legislative attempts.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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