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Ousted Bel-Ridge police chief runs for city office

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File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio
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In a 2014 file photo, police cars park outside of the Bel-Ridge Municipal Complex, which includes spaces for Village Hall, its municipal court, and the police department.

The name of a recently ousted Bel-Ridge police chief will appear on the ballot when the city’s voters elect new aldermen on April 4.

Gordon Brock led the Bel-Ridge Police Department for 16 years before his termination last winter, following accusations of harassment, mismanagement and accepting bribes.

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Mayor Rachel White wants voters to take a serious look at Brock's candidacy.

“I hope that the people of Bel-Ridge will look at all the evidence here and see what’s going on, and judge him off the facts,” said White, who leads the town of 2,700 in north St. Louis County.

Brock, who has filed to run for alderman in Bel-Ridge’s third ward, did not immediately return calls for comment.

In September, White presented Brock with a list of 37 allegations with witness statements to justify his removal. Among them:

  • Failing to maintain and process criminal files, allowing investigations into assault and rape cases to stagnate.

  • Improperly maintaining evidence, such as keeping guns associated with crimes in “random drawers in random offices.”

  • Accepting bribes from local business owners to pass city inspections.

  • Making racially insensitive and racist statements to the city clerk regarding the death of Michael Brown, and using a racial expletive.

  • Taking cash from a wallet found at a city bus stop.

  • Threatening city employees.

The letter called for Brock’s immediate suspension without pay, following a termination hearing. But none was held. Instead, he signed a separation agreement with the city. It stipulates that he receive pay until the end of 2016, health insurance benefits until March 31, 2017, and a badge identifying him as a retired officer.

“They offered us a settlement, which the Board accepted,” White said. “Because if we went the other way, it would have cost the city upwards of $50,000, and that money could be best used for our residents.”

In the city's 2016 elections, 328 voters cast ballots; a turnout rate of 24 percent.

This is not Brock’s first time seeking public office. In 2012, while still chief of police, he won election to the village’s Board of Trustees. Brock stepped down a month later, after concerns among fellow board members that holding both positions may be a violation of state law.

Follow Durrie on Twitter: @durrieB.

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