Tim Fitch | St. Louis Public Radio

Tim Fitch

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 Department Chief John Belmar gives update on case involving to shot police officers
File photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and several county council members want an immediate change in police administration following a nearly $20 million verdict against the county in a discrimination lawsuit by a gay officer.

And one council member called on Police Chief Jon Belmar to resign.

Page released a statement Sunday that called for the appointment of new members to the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners. The commission is a civilian oversight board that reviews police department policies and appoints the St. Louis County police chief.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page's nominees to the Board of Freeholders await a committee hearing on Oct. 15, 2019, in Clayton.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council on Tuesday grilled most of County Executive Sam Page’s nominees to the Board of Freeholders, a 19-person body that could rearrange the governance of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

One particular point of contention was that only one of Page’s selections lives in unincorporated St. Louis County. Other council members wanted to know the potential board members’ views on whether St. Louis should become a municipality within St. Louis County.

Members of the St. Louis County Council meet on Sept. 3, 2019.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council wants a 1,000-foot buffer zone in unincorporated areas between medical marijuana facilities and schools, houses of worship and day cares.

It’s a move that split the county council on Tuesday, with some members saying the buffer zone made sense — and others contending it’s too onerous.

Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger walks out of federal court Friday after pleading guilty to federal charges.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County elected officials and employees who are found guilty of corruption will not be able to collect their pensions. 

The County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to revoke the pension benefits of those convicted of public corruption such as bribery. 

“The offenses had to occur while they were in office or in their county employment,” said Councilman Tim Fitch, R-St. Louis County, the sponsor of the bill. “Once you’re convicted, that’s when the ordinance would kick in.”

Legal medical marijuana
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Some members of the St. Louis County Council want a 1,000-foot buffer between medical marijuana dispensaries and schools, churches and day care centers.

A constitutional amendment that voters approved last year spells out parameters for facilities that grow, manufacture, test and sell medical marijuana. Included is language that allows local governments to place a 1,000-foot buffer zone between those places. But the planning commission is recommending a 500-foot buffer in unincorporated areas of the county.

St. Louis County Councilmembers congratulate Hazel Erby for her tenure as councilwoman. Erby served on the county council for about 15 years. May 15 2019
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council is looking into eliminating pensions for county officials who commit a felony.

The proposal came from Councilman Tim Fitch, R- St. Louis County, who said it would apply to those who pleaded or are found guilty of a felony while in office.

The proposal comes a few weeks after former County Executive Steve Stenger pleaded guilty to federal public corruption charges. He resigned as county executive in late April. Fitch said the proposed legislation could affect Stenger’s pension.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway, right, slammed Carpenter for "mismanagement" -- and criticized her response to the audit.
File Photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council wants state Auditor Nicole Galloway to look into county government in the wake of Steve Stenger’s guilty plea on federal corruption charges.

That move came as St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced that the county is getting back to the negotiating table with the owners of Northwest Plaza.

Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and his attorney Scott Rosenblum leave the federal courthouse in St. Louis Monday afternoon after Stenger pleaded not guilty to federal pay-to-play charges. April 29, 2019
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 4:15 p.m., April 29 with more information from Stenger's court appearance — Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he steered county contracts to big campaign donors.

Stenger appeared in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Noelle Collins Monday, hours after resigning as county executive. He was released without having to pay bond, but will not be allowed to travel outside of eastern Missouri without permission.

St. Louis County Councilman Tim Fitch speaks with reporters following a swearing in ceremony for elected county officials. Jan. 1, 2019
File Photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A Republican councilman is calling for St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger to resign, citing a sour relationship with the county council and uncertainty over a federal subpoena of the Democratic official’s administration.

But Stenger made clear Monday morning he has no plans to step aside, disputing Councilman Tim Fitch’s characterization that St. Louis County government is in “chaos.”

Members of the St. Louis County Council meet on March 28, 2019, to discuss whether outside attorneys should be brought in to respond to a federal subpoena.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County residents will vote Tuesday once again on whether to give the county council its own an attorney, an outgrowth of a longstanding fight between council members and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.

But detractors of the idea don’t believe it will actually change much, since the council’s attorney would still report to a county executive appointee.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger (left) and Sam Page (right) attend a county council meeting. A new resolution calls on the prosecuting attorney to look into if Stenger violated county charter.
File photo | Andy Field | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 2:20 on Monday with news of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership subpoena.

A federal subpoena was issued last week seeking information about St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s administration.

One particular focus was how Stenger’s administration issued contracts, which has been a source of contention for months between the Democratic chief executive and the council.

St. Louis County Councilman Tim Fitch takes the oath of office on Tuesday afternoon.  Jan. 1, 2019
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

New St. Louis County Councilman Tim Fitch wants to reinstate nearly $5 million in funding for the police department to hire more officers.

The proposal comes a month after the county council voted to cut $35 million from the 2019 budget, including the money for the new officers.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell hugs Missouri Supreme Court Judge George Draper III on Jan. 1, 2019. Bell is the first African-American to serve as St. Louis County prosecutor. Jan. 1, 2019
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly five years ago, Wesley Bell had a murky political future.

He fell short of winning a seat on the St. Louis County Council after losing decisively to incumbent Hazel Erby.

Flash forward to the first day of 2019 and Bell’s political fortunes have dramatically shifted. After winning election to a Ferguson City Council seat after the shooting death of Michael Brown, Bell shocked St. Louis County by easily upending Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. As he looked upon hundreds of people gathered for his Tuesday afternoon inauguration, Bell acknowledged the opportunity, and challenge, ahead.

Former St. Louis County police chief at his campaign kickoff for St. Louis County Council
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch – who’s jumping into the political arena.

Fitch often made headlines in his former job. He didn’t hesitate to go public with some of his concerns, even when it put him at odds with then-County Executive Charlie Dooley.

Former St. Louis County police chief at his campaign kickoff for St. Louis County Council
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch is pledging to accept no campaign donations for his Republican campaign for St. Louis County Council. And if elected this fall, he says he’ll work for a county charter change that would limit campaign donations for county officials.

At his campaign kickoff today in Sunset Hills, Fitch blamed the lack of donation limits for some of the rancor between council members and County Executive Steve Stenger.  He contends that large contributions to Stenger, in particular, have exacerbated some of the disputes.

Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss greets residents, supporters and protesters at the city police department hours after being sworn in as chief.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Delrish Moss saw the turmoil and chaos unfold in Ferguson, it hit close to home.

Before he was sworn in on Monday as Ferguson’s top law enforcement officer, Moss spent several decades in the Miami Police Department. He said the unrest that followed Michael Brown’s death was reminiscent of what he’s witnessed firsthand in Miami.

St. Louis County Police form a line in front of protesters on Tuesday. They were put in charge of securing protests on Monday when St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger called a state of emergency.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10 a.m. Friday with lifting of state of emergency. On a cloudless Tuesday night on West Florissant Avenue, the mood was relatively calm. A few dozen protesters, onlookers and media milled about on a parking lot – a far cry from chaos that struck the thoroughfare on Sunday night.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon)

Updated with additional quotes from Chief Belmar.

A 27-year veteran of the St. Louis County police has been selected as the department's eighth chief.

"I am pleased to announce the selection of Lt. Col. Jon Belmar as the new chief of the St. Louis County police," police board chairman Roland Corvington announced this morning, after about an hour of closed-door deliberation.

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.)

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

Crime in the parts of St. Louis County covered by the county’s police department dropped 7.4 percent between 2012 and 2013, according to numbers released by the department today.

This is the fifth straight year for a decrease - something St. Louis County Chief of Police Tim Fitch called a "great accomplishment."  The latest figures bring the total level of crime to its lowest point since 1969.

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 2:15 p.m.,  Friday, Dec. 13

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch has been using his blog to make blockbuster declarations lately, but perhaps none was as stunning as Friday’s post in which he announced his retirement as of February.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Although billed as a “Urban Crime Summit,’’ one of the key crime statistics offered by the four-day event’s host, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, affected rural Missouri as well.

Missouri’s per-capita crime rate is the 9th highest in the nation, Koster said in his opening address at Wednesday’s session, the third day of the Summit – and the first of two days in St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 27, 2013 - On the same day the interim chairman of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners announced his intention to step down, the St. Louis County Council delayed a vote to approve two new members to the embattled panel.

Councilmembers decided on a 4-2 vote to hold off on the nominations of Republican Dave Spence and Democrat Freddy Clark to the five-person board. Spence – a Ladue businessman who was the GOP nominee for governor last year – replaces Gregory Sansone, who resigned last week. Clark replaces Floyd Warmann, who stepped down from the board earlier this month.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The controversy over a subcontract for St. Louis County’s crime lab took another turn on Monday when St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch accused unnamed “political researchers” of digging up dirt about him and his department.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 26, 2013 - The controversy over a subcontract for St. Louis County’s crime lab took another turn on Monday when St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch accused unnamed “political researchers” of digging up dirt about him and his department.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The St. Louis County Council has passed a resolution offering support for St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch, who's been in the middle of a well publicized controversy over a subcontract for the county’s crime lab.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 20, 2013 - The St. Louis County Council has passed a resolution offering support for St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch, who's been in the middle of a well publicized controversy over a subcontract for the county’s crime lab.

With four "yea" votes and two abstentions, the council on Tuesday approved Councilman Greg Quinn’s resolution “thanking Chief Fitch for his dedicated service to St. Louis County” and “fully supporting Chief Fitch for the discharge of his duties.”

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 13, 2013: After a string of published reports examining contracting for the county's new crime lab, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley has thrown his support behind adding subcontractors to the county’s conflict of interest policy.

Dooley told the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday that “recent events outlined in the media relative to a subcontractor in the police crime lab have raised questions about the interpretation of St. Louis County’s conflict of interest law.”

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The bomb and arson units in St. Louis city and County are joining forces on July 1 - the latest merger between the two largest police departments in the region.

The 10 officers will still be employees of their own departments, but will now respond to calls throughout the region in two, eight-hour shifts. The arrangement, said St. Louis city police chief Sam Dotson, should almost eliminate overtime costs.

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