Wellston residents respond to new police cooperative

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WELLSTON, MO (KTVI) - Residents in Wellston are speaking out after more than a week of being policed by officers with the new North County Policing Cooperative.

The officers have taken over for the financially troubled Wellston Police Department.

David McDaniel has lived in Wellston for 14 years.

“I’ve seen some good things and some bad things,” he said. “Shootings – and we really don’t need that.”

However, in the short time since the change, McDaniel said things have “improved.”

“We see more officers now than what we ever have and I really think that’s good for the community,” he said.

Fox 2’s visit to Wellston came on the same day as an op-ed written by St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In the piece, Belmar criticized the idea of police cooperatives. He said they are mostly made up of poorly trained officers who have bounced around from department to department.

Some believe the critical stance is part of a push for the county to take over policing duties for the cooperative and the other small police departments.

However, several Wellston residents told Fox 2 that they are happy with the new cooperative.