JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Supporters of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department who want control of the department to stay in the city took their case to Jefferson City, Missouri. With signs in their hands and chanting “Hands off St. Louis,” dozens of grassroots organizations gathered on the front steps of the state capitol.

The Missouri House and Senate are thinking again about taking local control away from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD).

“State control of St. Louis police department is based in history of pro-slavery,” said Senator Karla May, who represents St. Louis City. “By once again, seizing control of St. Louis democratically elected legal institutions, the Missouri government is reviving the legacy of historic discrimination against people of color.”

Earlier this month, lawmakers in the Missouri House voted that the state should seize control; it’s now up to the Senate.

“The officers believe that no one has their backs and they are fleeing the city, and we can’t have that,” said Rep. Justin Sparks from Wildwood in St. Louis County. “We need them to stay, and we are showing them we have their backs.”

SLMPD have been under local control since 2012. State control means decisions are made by a five-member board appointed by both the governor and mayor.

People have voted to place control of SLMPD with the people in the community, and they feel that the elected officials are not listening.