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Alderman wants voter referendum on local police control

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By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – The St. Louis alderman who leads the public safety committee wants voters to have a chance to express their opinions about who should control the city's police department.

If the Board of Aldermen approves the measure sponsored by Alderman Terry Kennedy, the referendum would go on the November ballot.

The results would not be binding on either the Board or the state legislature.

Kennedy says he's just trying to provide direction on the issue.

"This has been before the state Legislature more than once, and in many of those discussions there's always the talk about well, what do the citizens want," says Kennedy. "So this gives a clear opportunity for the citizens to speak."

The state House this year rejected a measure that would have returned oversight of the police department to the Board of Aldermen. It's the farthest a local control measure has ever gotten in the General Assembly.

Opponents of local control say the city wants access to the department's pension funds.

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