St. Louis County police say they are looking into allegations that officers covered up security cameras during shifts at a MetroLink substation, among other allegations reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. County Police Chief Jon Belmar implied in a statement that the allegations are the result of “politics and infighting.” The statement said the security camera at North Hanley MetroLink substation, which documented at least eight instances since 2015 of police covering up its lens, is improperly placed in a “private room” used to monitor security cameras, hold briefings and write reports. A spokesman for county police called the camera “clearly an invasion of privacy.”
The allegations, detailed yesterday by Post-Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger, follow months of building tension between county police and Metro public safety officials over patrolling the public transit rails. Metro officers have been unable to enforce laws on the transit lines in the county under legal threat by county officials who allege that Metro officers lack legal authority as law-enforcers. Metro operates 46 miles of light rail and 79 bus routes in its territory, which traverses St. Louis County, the city of St. Louis, and St. Clair County in Illinois. In response to spikes in violence, St. Louis County now supervises all officers working the transit system under a memorandum of understanding signed by regional political leaders.