2012 Vote Could Restore Long-Lost Local Control Over St. Louis PD


A 2012 ballot initiative in Missouri presents an opportunity to return control of the St. Louis police department to the city, the Post-Dispatch says in an editorial. The paper describes the situation as a “150-year-old farce” dating to the Civil War. “Thatt’s how long the battle over the control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has been stewing,” the Post-Dispatch says. “In 1861, Confederate sympathizers in the state capital placed control of the department under the governor, fearful that Unionists in St. Louis would turn the police against the rebel cause.”

It continues, “Shamefully, some of the same fears have been driving the discussion in Jefferson City in recent years as city leaders have fought unsuccessfully to convince lawmakers that local control simply makes political sense and is the law of the land in every city in the state except for the two largest ones. Arguments against local control have featured suggestions from rural lawmakers that the aldermen in St. Louis, many of whom are black, would exercise undue political influence over the police department. And exactly how would this make them different from the mostly white mayors and town councils of those lawmakers’ cities?.().If it passes — and why should anyone outside of the city care who runs the city’s police department — the city would regain control of something it never should have lost.”

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