City Wins Local Control of Police Department

ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – Mayor Francis Slay thanked voters for giving the city control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for the first time in 151 years.

Mayor Slay fought for years to get control transferred from officials in Jefferson City.  On November 6, 2012, 64% of the city`s voters approved Proposition A and paved the way for local – instead of state – control.

Slay said he will appoint three members to a new transitional police board.  Governor Jay Nixon will appoint the other two.  Slay said all members should be picked in about 30 days.  The city must then pass an ordinance to make the transfer of control legal.  The board will then work on accepting the department’s records and assets from the state.  

Mayor Slay’s Thank You Message on YouTube:

Opponents have said they were worried the city will mismanage officers’ pensions.  Slay said control of that retirement plan would stay with the state, and the city would not manage the pensions at all.

“There has been a lot of mis-information, but it’s clear under the statute,’ Slay pointed out.  The pensions are still under Chapter 86 of the state law, so that’s not going to impact anything.”

When it comes to the question of layoffs the mayor’s office says they won’t have any. However, they did say that certain jobs lost by retirement or resignation won’t be replaced. As for the touchy subject of police pensions, fraternal order of police union manager Jeff Roorda says control of that money will stay with the state. They`re also looking to streamline office positions.

“We ought to move those resource out onto the streets where we can tackle this crime problem we have in the city in a thoughtful way. Every officer retains their rank, seniority salary they have that was critical to us,” said Roorda. 

As for current board members, they would continue to look for a new police chief.  Once he or she was found, the board would be disbanded.  But, Slay said he will look for at least one current or former board member to sit on the new one.  That is state law.

The state of Missouri took over control of the St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri police departments in 1861.  This happened often in Border States at the start of the Civil War.  Supporters of the southern Confederate states were concerned the departments` vast arsenals and easy access to river traffic would be used by the northern Union army.  After the war, local control was returned to every other city in the country except St. Louis and Kansas City.

Slay expected the entire transfer to be done — and the new police board to be seated – by July 1, 2013.  Until then, the current board wanted the community’s input on a new chief.  They would hold three public meetings throughout November.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Harris-Stowe State University
Main Auditorium
3026 Laclede Avenue
St. Louis, MO  63103
6:30 – 8 p.m.

Thursday, November 8, 2012
Grbic Banquet Center
4071 Keokuk Street
St. Louis, MO  63116
6:30 – 8 p.m.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Omega Center
3900 Goodfellow Boulevard
St. Louis, MO  63120
6:30 – 8 p.m.

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