ST. LOUIS - Former St. Louis County police chief and now county councilman, Tim Fitch let it be known on Twitter Monday, that he wants county police to take over protection for Washington University and Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.
Fitch explained to Fox 2 that he is basing his proposed legislation off of Better Together`s plan of a county and city merger which he said would also allow the disbanding of all police departments.
Fitch said that both the university and the airport are in support of Better Together`s plan.
“That`s what they want to do as a region,” Fitch said, “they want one police department to take over the entire region, a one big mega metro city police department. So what I`m saying is that since you (the university and airport) are in favor of that, then I can see you being in favor right now to get rid of your own police departments that you are suggesting all the other cities do as well.”
If Fitch's proposal is approved by the voters, he said it will have little to no impact on county police.
“They may have to absorb some more manpower to cover the airport and Washington University,” he said, “but those two entities would have to pay for that and every expense would have to be covered by those two agencies.”
Officials at the university told Fox 2 that while they cannot speak in much detail about the proposal, they are proud of their police department.
Part of their statement said:
“Dismantling our joint approach to law enforcement and public safety would be a serious detriment to all of the citizens of St. Louis County, including the members of the Washington University community who reside there.”
Meanwhile, in a statement to Fox 2 the airport officials said:
“We do not feel the proposed legislation to change deputization authority over the STL Airport Police, serves our citizens, visitors, and customers who utilize the Airport. We are opposed to the proposed legislation.”
We also reached out to the police department and were told that while they are aware of the proposed legislation, it is too soon to comment.
In a statement to Fox 2, spokesperson Ed Rhode with Better Together said, “This is yet another political stunt from a politician trying to keep his taxpayer-funded job.”
The proposal is expected to go before county council next week.