St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners

Former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ray Price
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ray Price talks with St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum about his legal career and his new role as chairman of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page appointed Price to the board that oversees the police department this fall. Page has now appointed four of the five members — and could replace former county executive Steve Stenger’s final appointee at any time.

Thomasina Hassler, left, and Laurie Punch were approved as members of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioner on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council on Tuesday approved two new members of the Board of Police Commissioners, completing a nearly entire turnover of the body responsible for overseeing the police department.

While the council easily approved Thomasina Hassler’s nomination to the five-person panel, there was more dissension over Dr. Laurie Punch’s appointment.

St. Louis County Police car
Paul Sableman | Flickr

In October, attorneys for St. Louis County fighting a discrimination case filed by a gay police sergeant made the argument that a judge should rule against him because Missouri law doesn’t include sexual orientation as a protected class.

The legal maneuver prompted an angry response from County Executive Sam Page, who said he was “horrified and surprised that argument was used, and I don’t want to see it used again.”

But outside attorneys hired by the county made that exact argument in a court filing this week.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar listens to U.S. Attorney General  Sessions' remarks. (03/31/17)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County is headed to mediation with a police officer who was awarded a huge jury verdict in a discrimination case.

A jury found that Sgt. Keith Wildhaber was denied promotions for being gay — and was retaliated against when he lodged formal complaints. He was awarded nearly $20 million.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page has nominated Dr. Laurie Punch, left and Thomasina Hassler to the county's Board of Police Commissioners.
Washington University School of Medicine, Thomasina Hassler via Facebook

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page is keeping his promise to bring leadership change to the police department.

Page on Thursday announced that he had nominated Dr. Laurie Punch, a trauma surgeon, and Thomasina Hassler, a longtime educator, to the Board of Police Commissioners, which oversees the police department. He had two other nominees approved by the county council last week.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar speaks with a St. Louis Public Radio reporter at his office in downtown Clayton on Tuesday. Nov. 5, 2019
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar says he was surprised by a nearly $20 million verdict against his department for discriminating against a gay police sergeant.

“Without getting too much into a conversation about the verdict, yes, I was surprised by it,” Belmar said Tuesday. “But I would say that we have to take a look at these things as an opportunity to move forward.”

Attorney Michelle Schwerin, center right, and former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ray Price, center left, speak with attendees after answering questions from St. Louis County councilmembers. Nov. 4, 2019
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page answers question on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, from a group of reporters. Page is poised to appoint new members of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

In the first St. Louis County Council meeting since a jury awarded a police sergeant nearly $20 million in a discrimination lawsuit, County Executive Sam Page on Tuesday promised “serious changes” in the police department.

That came just hours after the county Board of Police Commissioners announced it is hiring an outside consultant to review the department.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 8, 2013 - St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley says a recently passed ordinance mandating background checks for nominees to the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners is slowing down the process of filing up the depleted panel.

Earlier this summer, Dooley nominated Democrat Freddy J. Clark and Republican Dave Spence to serve on the five-person police board.

File photo

The long-running saga to fill the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners ended Tuesday when the St. Louis County Council approved Laurie Westfall’s nomination to the board that oversees the St. Louis County Police Department. She is the widow of former St. Louis County Executive Buzz Westfall. 

Greg Quinn's Web Site

The longest-tenured member of the St. Louis County Council won't run for re-election. 

Councilman Greg Quinn, R-Ballwin, said on Monday that he will not run for another term on the seven-person council. His term expires at the end of this year; filing for his seat begins Tuesday.

Quinn said after over two decades on the council, it’s time to move on to pursuits outside of politics. “While I’ve enjoyed my 24 years of public service, I just think it’s time for me to devote myself to other things,” Quinn said.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch may need to make a little room on his wall. 

That’s because Fitch has received two resolutions from the St. Louis County Council celebrating his service – under very different circumstances. The one he received Tuesday commemorates his retirement, which takes effect Friday. (Fitch is starting a consulting company to advise law enforcement groups and companies.)

Dave Spence, the GOP's nominee for governor, announced Tuesday he was withdrawing his nomination to be on the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners. He's seen here with Charlie Dooley.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 22, 2013: Republican Dave Spence withdrew his nomination to be on the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners, a move he attributed to an ordinance that calls for stricter background and credit checks.

It’s the latest twist in St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley’s so far fruitless effort to bring the embattled police board to full strength.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 10, 2013 - Despite a lukewarm response, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley told reporters he wouldn’t veto a proposal requiring financial and criminal background checks for nominees to the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners.

Dooley said he’s currently reviewing potential appointees to the embattled commission after one of his nominees for the board stepped aside.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Despite a lukewarm response, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley told reporters he wouldn’t veto a proposal requiring financial and criminal background checks for nominees to the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners.

Dooley said he’s currently reviewing potential appointees to the embattled commission after one of his nominees for the board stepped aside.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 3, 2013 - The St. Louis County Council effectively killed St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley’s proposal to add subcontractors to the county’s conflict of interest statutes.

That move came Tuesday night, after the council gave initial approval to another ordinance mandating background checks for nominees to the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The St. Louis County Council effectively killed St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley’s proposal to add subcontractors to the county’s conflict of interest statutes.

That move came Tuesday night, after the council gave initial approval to another ordinance mandating background checks for nominees to the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners.