A proposition to restore control of the St. Louis Police Force to that city will be on the November Ballot. Spokesperson Aaron Baker said they are run by a governor-appointed commission. “Currently, the police officers in St. Louis are basically considered state employees,” said Baker, “This change would reverse a civil war era law and return control of that police force back to the city of St. Louis.”
He believes rural voters should care because their tax dollars are affected. If Proposition A passes, it would save St. Louis taxpayers about $4 million and state taxpayers about $500,000. There is also the risk that if a St. Louis Police Officer became involved in a liability lawsuit, state taxpayers would shoulder that burden.
According to Baker, the board of the St. Louis Police Officers Association supports the measure, and during a nonbinding referendum St. Louis voters supported the measure by 71 percent. “So if you’re sitting in rural Missouri, and you’re wanting to help folks in St. Louis have control of their police force like the rest of us do, it’s something they support, it saves tax dollars, and it really just makes sense,” said Baker.
Baker said Representative Mike Lair, Senator Bill Stouffer, and Senator David Pearce have all thrown their support behind the measure.
Click to hear KMZU’s Chelsea Wade talk with Baker:
Article from Senator Bill Stouffer
A Civil War-era law may finally come to an end if Missouri voters support a ballot initiative to restore local control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
In 1861, control of the St. Louis Police Department was taken from the city and given to a commission made up mostly of political appointees chosen by the governor. The intent of this law was to keep firepower out of the hands of a pro-Union city in a largely pro-Confederacy state. Today, the outdated law still remains in place.
Proposition A, more commonly known as the “Local Control Initiative,” will appear on the statewide ballot this November. With voter approval, control of the St. Louis Police Department will be restored to where it belongs — with the people and City of St. Louis.
Rural voters benefit from this good-government initiative as it increases the accountability of the St. Louis Police Department, reduces state and local costs and saves state and local taxpayers millions of dollars. Rural voters also see the benefits of local control over political cronyism, as local control leads to better, more efficient government.
Today, if residents of the City of St. Louis have a problem with their local police, they must call the governor’s office. I cannot imagine my local police force or sheriff not being accountable to local voters or jurisdictions.
According to the Missouri auditor’s office, this new law would save state and local taxpayers an estimated $4.5 million per year. Removing duplicated services in purchasing, legal and
personnel departments will play a major role in these cost savings.
Supporters of the ballot measure include the St. Louis Police Officers Association, the mayor of the City of St. Louis and many local city officials and community leaders. The effort is also supported by a bipartisan and diverse group of state legislators. The Safer Missouri Citizens Coalition is currently conducting a grassroots effort statewide to educate voters on the issue. When voters go to the polls in November, they will see this ballot language on the issue:
Official Ballot Title:
Shall Missouri law be amended to:
• allow any city not within a county (the City of St. Louis) the option of transferring certain obligations and control of the city’s police force from the board of police commissioners currently appointed by the governor to the city and establishing a municipal police force;
• establish certain procedures and requirements for governing such a municipal police force including residency, rank, salary, benefits, insurance, and pension; and
• prohibit retaliation against any employee of such municipal police force who reports conduct believed to be illegal to a superior, government agency, or the press?
State governmental entities estimated savings will eventually be up to $500,000 annually. Local governmental entities estimated annual potential savings of $3.5 million; however, consolidation decisions with an unknown outcome may result in the savings being more or less than estimated.
Fair Ballot Language:
A “yes” vote will amend Missouri law to allow any city not within a county (the City of St. Louis) the option of establishing a municipal police force by transferring certain obligations
and control of the city’s police force from the board of police commissioners currently appointed by the governor to the city. This amendment also establishes certain procedures
and requirements for governing such a municipal police force including residency, rank, salary, benefits, insurance, and pension.
The amendment further prohibits retaliation against any employee of such municipal police force who reports conduct believed to be illegal to a superior, government agency, or the press.
A “no” vote will not change the current Missouri law regarding St. Louis City’s police force.
If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.
I have supported this local control issue in the past, and I continue to support it now. I welcome your questions on the issue. Please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-1507 or