PINE LAWN, Mo. – An unexpected move by Pine Lawn may cost the city its police service. It involves a vote by the board to put its policing out for bid, while the city is reportedly negligent in payments.
The North County Police Cooperative (NCPC) has been policing in Pine Lawn for about seven years. Alderwoman Dionne Jones told us crime has dropped in the city since then.
[The NCPC] worked really hard to close it down, and I’ll always be grateful to them for that. That made this street a safer street,” Jones said.
Another Pine Lawn alderman notified FOX 2 this week that the city was putting police services out for bid.
We reached out to NCPC’s Major Ron Martin about the situation.
“It was a very surprising phone call to get from you, and no sooner that you called me, I got another call, and it was true,” Martin said.
Martin said the NCPC struggled to get Pine Lawn to pay for services.
“There’s one municipality in particular that remains inconsistent, remains insufficient, and this is the one,” he said.
He said it’s only Pine Lawn out of the eight cities they cover.
The NCPC answered FOX 2 request for the Missouri Sunshine Law. They provided us years of invoices showing the pattern of reported delinquency, with the latest one alleging they’ve been shorted by Pine Lawn more than $127,000.
Pine Lawn’s city administrator Lillian Eunice declined to show FOX 2’s investigative reporter Chris Hayes her figures.
“I will stand on the accounting as we know it,” she said.
“How much do you owe them?” Hayes followed up.
“We are saying we do not owe them that,” Eunice said.
“How much do you owe them?” Hayes said.
“Wait a minute, hold on, I’m not going to talk finance and figures here on the news media,” she said.
“The public wants to know where the money’s going,” Hayes said.
“And I would invite the public, anybody that wants to know, and they can come right in here,” Eunice responded.
“I’m representing the public. How much do you owe?” Hayes asked.
“All we know is we do not owe $127,000,” Eunice said.
“So, you’re not going to tell me,” Hayes said.
“No,” she said.
Although, Pine Lawn’s city administrator declined to share numbers, Alderwoman Jones said she intends to get to the bottom of it, in the hopes of salvaging the relationship.
“Because you pay for what’s important to you. They are important to me, and so I want them to get paid,” Jones said.
With just 26 days left on the police contract, Pine Lawn has little time to figure out who will police them. The North County Police Cooperative said it is not submitting a bid this time.
“The big loser in this, it’s not us, and it’s not the City of Pine Lawn. It’s the people, Martin said.