ST. LOUIS – The latest Missouri legislative session ended Friday, and so did a GOP-backed attempt to change control within the St. Louis Police Department.
SLMPD has operated under the control of the mayor’s office for nearly a decade after approval from voters in 2012. For more than 150 years before that, the agency operated under a police board rather than local control.
One bill pushing for a change back to the previous system cleared the Missouri House, but did not advance past the Senate before Friday’s deadline.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones criticized the proposal several times before it fell short, once telling FOX 2 it was a “slap in the face.” She released the following statement on Friday:
“As this session ends, SLMPD remains under city control, accountable to St. Louis taxpayers instead of police board bureaucrats. The failure of this takeover shows a strong consensus among leaders: A state takeover of SLMPD would be tremendously costly to the State of Missouri while doing nothing to make our city safer.
“Improving public safety requires local trust and accountability, but the leadership of the POA and ESOP worked alongside right-wing outstate Republicans trying to overturn the results of our elections. They failed, and St. Louisans will not forget their desperate attempt to take power from residents and hand it over to Jefferson City. Thank you to the Democrats and Republicans who recognized that the people closest to the problem are closest to the solution.
“As mayor, I remain committed to reimagining public safety in St. Louis because what the city has been doing for decades has not made our neighborhoods safer. Doing so requires a holistic approach that addresses root causes of crime while using innovative new tools to take the burden off our officers. I will continue to work alongside Chief Tracy and all of our public safety partners while keeping up the fight for commonsense gun safety laws to protect our families.”
Earlier this year, the City of St. Louis and the St. Louis Police Officers Association agreed to a new union contract to enable pay raises for SLMPD officers as the department deals with some shortages.