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Bill to create civilian oversight board of St. Louis police introduced

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-The city of St. Louis has taken a step towards creating a Citizen Oversight Board for the police department. On Friday, the Board of Aldermen heard the first reading of the proposed bill.

The alderman behind the bill, Terry Kennedy, says currently, if you have a problem with the police, you have to complain directly to the department. He says there are similar boards in other cities across America and he thinks St. Louis could benefit from one.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association released a statement saying in part, “Our critics on the Board of Aldermen don't understand or care to understand what they criticize or the devastating effect their attacks on police officers have on the safety and security of the very neighborhoods they represent.”

Mayor Francis Slay would appoint seven city residents to the board if the bill is passed. The St. Louis Board of Aldermen would have to confirm the appointments. The board would be able to independently review evidence and witness statements from investigations by police Internal Affairs.

After the review, the findings would be presented to the public safety director and police chief. The board would also make recommendations on police policies and procedures.

Mayor  Francis Slay vetoed a similar bill in 2006. But after the events in Ferguson, he supports this bill. He called it a compromise that will help “work out differences.”

There will be a public hearing before an actual vote on the bill.