House Urban Issues Committee Approved St. Louis' Control Over its Police Force
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House Urban Issues Committee Approved St. Louis' Control Over its Police Force

Date: March 12, 2008
By: Erika Navarrete
State Capitol Bureau
Links: HB 2117

Intro: The House Urban Issues Committee approved a bill that would give St. Louis complete control over its police force after hearing from St. Louis Mayor, Francis Slay.

Erika Navarrete (Nahv-ah-rett) has more from Jefferson City. 

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OutCue: SOC

St. Louis Mayor, Francis Slay urged Missouri legislators to give his city local control over its police force.

The Mayor said it was time for the state of Missouri to return the St. Louis police department to the people of St. Louis.

 

Actuality:  SLAY1.WAV
Run Time: 00:14
Description: "St. Louis tax payers pay the bills. The police department belongs to them. They have a right to control their own destiny when it comes to keeping their neighborhoods safe. They have a right to operate the police department in the best way possible to meet their own needs."
 
The Mayor also said St. Louis has not had control of its police department since the Civil War.

Representatives of the St. Louis police union testified against local control.

Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Erika Navarrete, KMOX News.


Intro: The House Urban Issues Committee passed a bill that would allow St. Louis complete control over its own police force, and the St. Louis mayor testified on its behalf.

Erika Navarrete (Nahv-ah-rett) has more from Jefferson City. 

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OutCue: SOC

Since the Civil War, the St. Louis Police Department has been under the control of a board appointed by the governor. 

St. Louis Mayor, Francis Slay said its about time the people of St. Louis have the right to operate their own police department.

 

Actuality:  SLAY2.WAV
Run Time: 00:09
Description: "This is not about me. It's not about one mayor or one police board. It is about the people of St. Louis having a voice and the governance of their department."

The mayor said he wanted to make it clear that he is strongly for the local control but not in support of any change to the police pension system.

Police union representatives testified in opposition expressing their fear of pension loss if the city gained control over the police budget.

Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Erika Navarrete, KMOX News.


Intro: The House Urban Issues Committee approved a bill that would give the city of St. Louis local control of its police force.

Erika Navarrete (Nahv-ah-rett) has more from Jefferson City.

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OutCue: SOC

Representatives of the St. Louis police union testified in opposition to the bill expressing their fear of pensions loss if the city gained control of the police budget.

Former police officer, Gary Wiggert, said he's spoken to several Aldermen who have said they are in support of changing the pension plan.

 

Actuality:  WIGG.WAV
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Description: "We are thankful that the state is in control of our pension because that guarantees that our pension would be fully funded."


But the bill sponsor, Democratic Representative Talibdin El-Amin, assured the bill excludes pensions from local control. 

The bill passed out of committee on a five to one vote.

Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Erika Navarrete, KMOX News.


Intro: Although the House Urban Issues Committee approved a bill that would give the city of St. Louis complete control over its police force, several representatives from the St. Louis police stood in opposition.

Erika Navarrete (Nahv-ah-rett) has more from Jefferson City. 

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Retired St. Louis police officer, David Sommers, expressed his concern with health insurance loss if the city were to gain total control of the police budget.

He said medical insurance is crucial in the case of a work place injury.

 

Actuality:  SOMMER2.WAV
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Description: "Health insurance and the pension would be absolutely critical to our survival. Our medical insurance is administered through the state of Missouri and we do not wish to loose that benefit.

He also said the city is currently not funding their benefits properly and fears it could get worse if the police force was under complete city control.

St. Louis Mayor, Francis Slay testified in favor of the bill.

Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Erika Navarrete, KMOX News.