ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis County police chief has proposed a consolidation of city and county police departments. A copy of the plan has been obtained by FOX 2.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar's combined department would have 2,654 commissioned officers. The city now has 1,328 and the county has 1,006 officers. The proposal says the focus would be to ``secure the downtown and central corridor.''
The plan also calls for leaving the 52 municipal police departments in the county intact. Belmar described his proposal in an interview Thursday as a ``concept paper.''
The proposal says that the plan would increase the effectiveness and equity of police services across the region. It may recalibrate the public safety image of St. Louis. Once legislation is approved then the plan to consolidate will likely take 5-years to complete.
With a $354 million price tag, the plan is expected to cost $74 million more than current budgets of the combined St. Louis city and county police departments. But, it would include 320 more commissioned officers than there are in both departments.
St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden issued a statement saying it would be premature to comment on the plan, which he said he had not seen.
The union for city police and the county' NAACP president expressed concerns about the proposal.
This proposal is different from the Better Together plan, which would merge all of St. Louis City and County under one new government. Mayor Lyda Krewson says that plan would require a statewide vote.
A statement from Mayor Krewson's office says, "The City of St. Louis and St. Louis County both have excellent police departments. But we have 53 other police departments. We need consistent standards, consistent enforcement, and consistent training. You certainly don't achieve that consistency by combining two departments and leaving the other 53. That doesn't do the job."
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch