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St. Louis mayor Slay gives testimony on St. Louis police local control bill

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(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
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St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay delivers his annual State of the City report to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen at City Hall in St. Louis on April 25, 2008. Slay spoke out today about local control of St. Louis' police department.

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.

“Again, if something goes wrong in city government, if people have an issue with what I’m doing, they can go to the polls and they can vote one way or another…they can’t do that with respect to the police department,” Slay said.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has been under state control since the Civil War.  But committee chairman Kevin Engler of St. Francois County told Slay the bill’s chances of passing are slim.

“I think your problem’s gonna be getting the bill off the floor, if it gets to the floor, because of the filibuster rule," Engler said, "there’s quite a few people that sympathize with your opponents…but as a former mayor, and I know my vice chair’s a former mayor, we’re very similar, we sympathize (with you).”

The senate version of the bill is already being filibustered by a group of opposing senators.  Opponents to the House bill also testified today that police pensions could be raided if St. Louis regains control over its police department. 

No action was taken on the bill today.

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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