JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State control over the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Missouri House members passed the bill, and it is now in the hands of state senators. As HB 702 passed through the house in Jefferson City, some people in St. Louis are hoping the bill fails in the Senate.
“If the state takes over the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, that’s reversing the will of voters,” said Nick Desideri, communications director for St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones’ office. “There are still many ways to stop this in the Senate, and we’ll be looking to Senate Democrats to stand strong.”
He said their office believes state control is an empty promise the state can’t deliver, decreasing crime. Desideri said across the state is a prime example.
“In Kansas City, which is still under state control, the city saw its three deadliest years in the past three years,” he said. “It’s clear that state control isn’t working in Kansas City, and it wouldn’t work in St. Louis either.”
Representative Brad Christ said the city’s police department is down hundreds of officers and it is time for the state to take over.
“I think 10 years is a good stint. The other thing people voted on 10 years ago were the campaign promises of lower crime, cost savings, and a thriving business economy,” Christ said. “This 10-year stint has failed on all three of those.”
He said Kansas City is a good example of how state control impacts crime state, but he has a different take than Desideri.
“Their crime statistics are about half of St. Louis, so it’s a significant drop from our state control to their local control,” Christ said. “Second of all, their crime statistics have stayed pretty steady over the last 10 years while their region is growing. So St. Louis is declining, and our crime is rising.”
If the bill passes, five people will control the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Mayor Jones will be one, and the other four will be appointed by the governor. They must be residents of the city for at least four years.