CLAYTON, MO (KTVI) – Despite documented health hazards, a condemned government building will remain open, at least for now.
A St. Louis County Court judge denied a temporary restraining order that would have kept staff from working at the University City Police Department.
Attorneys for The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 15 and University City stood before a judge Wednesday morning.
FOP Attorney Danielle Thompson said the judge was sympathetic to the officers’ concerns, aware of the documented hazards, including asbestos.
The legal team representing University City argued that if the police department building is shut down, University City would be without an operating police force. No infrastructure or property is in place, they said.
The judge sided with the city, citing the need for citizens to have a functioning police department.
The decision comes exactly one month after a University City building commissioner condemned the building.
“It means they are still working in a hazardous, toxic environment that the University City building commissioner himself has deemed condemned,” Thompson said. “They’re still in a condemned building and under the ordinance they shouldn’t be in that building.”
She added that the fight to protect officers is not over. She said the FOP will press University City leaders about what is being done to ensure the safety of officers and other staff in the short term.
“Whether that means protective gear, or temporary housing for the police department for certain officers. But t health and safety of our officers is our number one concern,” she said.
Monday evening, city council approved nearly $2 million to address environmental issues inside the police department building.
Eventually, a decision will be made to renovate the building or re-locate officers to a new one.