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Mo. House rejects St. Louis Police local control bill

St. Louis Police Headquarters.

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Early this afternoon, the Missouri House rejected legislation that would have given St. Louis control over its police department.

The state has overseen the city's police force since the Civil War.

In voting against local control, State Representative Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) noted that the bill's supporters included lots of politicians, while the opposition came from groups representing police officers.

"Why in the world would we give a power grab to the politicians in the face of the people who are on the front lines protecting our citizens every day?" Silvey said during debate on the House floor.

The sponsor, State Representative Jamilah Nasheed (D, St. Louis), says St. Louis citizens only want what other Missouri cities have, control over their own police departments.

"This is the first time in history that it's gotten out of committee...I feel good that we had the opportunity to dialogue and discuss local control of the St. Louis Police Department on the floor of the House...hopefully next year we will debate it and pass it out of the House," Nasheed said.

Nasheed adds that she may try to revive the measure this session by adding it as an amendment onto other related bills.

A similar bill remains alive in the Missouri Senate.

Meanwhile, State Representative Joe Carter (D, St. Louis), a supporter of local control, has filed legislation calling for the state to take over ALL police departments in Missouri.

"Since those who voted against House Bill 1601 think state control of the St. Louis police is such a great idea, they should embrace a state takeover of their own local police departments," Carter said in a press release.


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