St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar appears to have the support of the two nominees to the Board of Police Commissioners — at least for now.
Former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ray Price and Michelle Schwerin, an attorney at Capes Sokol, answered questions Monday from all but one of the County Council members who will vote on their confirmation. That could come Tuesday if background checks are completed in time.
“Is it your goal to replace Chief Belmar?” asked Tim Fitch, the former police chief who is now a Republican county council member.
“No,” Schwerin answered. “My goal is to gather facts, and determine a strategy to identify the positive aspects of the department and build on them, and identify areas that need to be improved.”
Price said he also had not made up his mind about Belmar’s future.
“It would be premature to make that kind of a decision at this time,” he said. “I know a number of the council members have expressed their opinions. I respect those. But it is our independent job to review his performance, and most importantly what we think he may or may not bring to the future, and then act accordingly.”
County Executive Sam Page nominated Schwerin and Price to the board Friday, part of the department’s response to an Oct. 25 ruling in which a jury found that the police department had refused to promote a sergeant because he is gay, and awarded him $20 million. Page tweeted a few days later that “the time for leadership changes has come.” He later expressed his support for Belmar, telling 5 On Your Side that “he is the right man for the job.”
Price would replace Roland Corvington, a former FBI agent who recently resigned as chairman of the board. Schwerin would take the place of Laurie Westfall, who is serving on an expired term, as are the three other members.
A spokesman for Page said the county executive “is hopeful the council members will confirm the two nominees as he continues to vet possible future board members.”
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