St. Louis now has local control of police department

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Local control is now a reality for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Mayor Francis Slay signed an executive order completing the transfer of power. Missouri voters approved the plan in November. The change takes effect Sunday at 12:01a.m.

Saturday marked the final meeting for the board of police commissioners.  The board approves policies and purchases for the department.  Members have been appointed by the governor.  Under local control, the police chief will no longer report to that board.

“The chief will report to the director of public safety and the director of public safety reports to the mayor,” said Mayor Francis Slay.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department had been under local control dating back to the civil war era.

“It’s the only thing that I’m aware of that the city has fought for 152 yearsand it’s finally accomplished,” said Slay.

Chief Sam Dotson praised board members for their service.  He believes the transfer of power will allow him to make quicker decisions.  He said his department is already forming crime-fighting partnerships with other city departments.

“We took the health department into neighborhoods to look for lead contamination, we took the forestry division in to trim some vacant lotsand we took the building division in to board up vacant buildings,” said Dotson.

Critics of local control feel the mayor’s office will now have too much power.  The St. Louis Police Officer’s Association had fought against local control.

Supporters of local control believe the move will help the department operate more efficiently.

“The first thing we’re going to do is tell our employees, nobody is losing their job,” said Dotson. “But as we go forward in time, we’re going to look for opportunities to save money and take that money and re-invest it back in the city of St. Louis.”

Dotson said those re-investments could lead to more police officers or new equipment.

Under state control, the process for selecting a police chief required the candidate to be a member of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.  That process could change now that the mayor is in charge.

Previous Story:

Follow Jeff Bernthal on Facebook and Twitter:
Jeff Bernthal on Facebook
Jeff Bernthal on Twitter

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News