St. Louis May Regain Control of Its Police For First Time Since Civil War


Missouri legislative leaders have agreed to remove control of the St. Louis police department from a state-appointed board and return it to city government, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. A local control bill will likely be reintroduced in a special summer legislative session called by Gov. Jay Nixon largely to consider a tax credit reform and subsidy package.

“It looks good at this point,”said Mayor Francis Slay. “It looks very encouraging. It looks like there’s a lot of bipartisan support, in both the House and the Senate for this. There’s no organized opposition against it.” The police department is governed by a five-member Board of Police Commissioners, made up of the sitting city mayor and four governor appointees. The arrangement dates from the Civil War era. The city has been fighting to regain control for years. Slay has long said the arrangement doesn’t allow the city to direct police policy or set budget priorities. The St. Louis Police Officers Association has fought back fiercely, saying city officials would meddle in arrests and pilfer pensions.

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