St. Louis City budget meeting discusses plan for officer vacancies

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ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis City Board of Estimate and Apportionment met Thursday morning and unanimously approved the city budget for fiscal year 2022. 

This is the first budget for new Mayor Tishaura Jones and it includes the elimination of 98 vacant St. Louis Police Officer positions. 

The budget will now go to the full Board of Alderman for more hearings and debate before any final action is taken. The budget must be set in stone before July 1.

The vote was 3-0 with Mayor Tishaura Jones, Comptroller Darlene Green and Aldermanic President Lewis Reed all voting for it. They are the three members of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment.

However, Reed voted against the particular amendment that reduced staffing on the police force. That means the vote on that amendment was 2-1.

The elimination of 98 vacant uniformed officer positions frees up $4 million. Now that money is going to other programs.

If the Board of Alderman approves the budget as is before July 1, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund would get an increase of $1.5 million, $500,000 would be allocated to giving legal support to the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency (CREA), Victim’s Support services would get just under $999,827, and the Department of Health and Human Services would also get just under $999,644 to give support to the unhoused.

The Ethical Society of Police, which represents some Black and minority officers, said Wednesday that “St. Louis City has a ‘right now problem’ relative to violent crime, so any measure that does not include adequate police staffing is misguided. The imbalance between the number of calls for service in the busiest districts to the number of officers assigned leaves little time for proactive patrols and community building.”

The group endorsed Jones for mayor.

Last week, the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association which represents most city officers was also critical of the mayor’s plan.

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