ST. LOUIS – With violence swirling around St. Louis, debate is ongoing in Jefferson City on whether the state should take over the city’s police department.

The state ran the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department until 2013, when citizens voted to return control of police to the police. But the department’s disputes with St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who recently announced she’ll step down June 1, and other issues has led many lawmakers to believe police would be better off if Jefferson City ran things rather that St. Louis officials.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones is dead set against losing control of the police and having that go to the state of Missouri, much like Kansas City.

The Ethical Society of Police, which represents Black officers, is in agreement with the St. Louis Police Officers Association that a state takeover would be for the best.

Chris Goodson, a former head of the city police board, oversaw the department under state control. He was appointed to the board in 2004 by former Governor Bob Holden, and served as board president from 2005 until 2009.

“We had a very diverse board. We had members from north St. Louis, south St. Louis. I was from the central corridor – still am from the central corridor,” he said.

Goodson believes a citizens board should oversee the police department.

“I’m rather ambivalent on who does the appointments, but I’m 100% passionate that there should be a citizens’ community board,” he said.

Goodson has his own ideas for setting up such a board.

“I’d like to hear a discussion about that. For example: is it the mayor of the City of St. Louis that appoints three of the members and the governor appoints two? Or is it the mayor appoints two and the board of aldermen appoints one?

“Why do I bring something up like that? That’s not fantastical. That’s what San Francisco does; that’s what Los Angeles does.

“There’s three things people really want. They want their trash picked up, they want their potholes filled, but most importantly, they want to be safe in our city, and so we have to improve that.”

The measure is still in the state legislature, which adjourns on Friday.