By Ken York The Daily Record firstname.lastname@example.org
The Civil War has been over for a while, but St. Louis still doesn’t control its police department.
It was 1861 when the Confederate-leaning state of Missouri wrested away control of the St. Louis police. Thereafter, a board of civilians appointed by the governor except for one member, the St. Louis mayor, took control of the police.
The feeling in 1861 was that the police force was the only quasi-military force in the St. Louis area. Having it under the control of Unionists was unacceptable.
One hundred fifty-one years later, a ballot issue may give the city its police department back.
Proposition A will be on the Nov. 6 ballot throughout Missouri. A political action committee, A Safer Missouri, believes it’s an idea whose time has come.
“The main issue here is the state has control, and so we (the voters) have to relinquish control. That’s why it’s a statewide vote,” said Stephen Pollock, a field agent for A Safer Missouri.
While the ballot measure has little direct impact in Laclede County, Pollock said he thinks it fits with the values of the local area.
“In Laclede County, I think Proposition A is a good thing. Local control, that idea … We like to talk about state control versus federal control. Well, it’s the same thing on the lower level, state control and city or county control. We want to bring it home,” he said.
Prop A is expected to save about $500,000 for the state and $3.5 million for the city of St. Louis every year. The state savings would come because Missouri would no longer need to keep a legal defense fund handy in case a St. Louis Police officer gets sued.
The savings for the city are expected to be mainly administrative.
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