Legislation Would Give Missouri Control of St. Louis Police

State Control of St. Louis Police Department in Legislature

(LibertySociety.com) – Control of the St. Louis Police Department could soon be shifted back to the state if new legislation that just cleared the Missouri House is signed into law by the Governor. In 2012, voters approved a measure to shift the control back to the city, which had been under state control for over 150 years. Democrats and Republicans in the state have voiced their concerns about crime in the city spreading to suburban areas due to the city’s inability or unwillingness to control crime. A four-person commission board, which would include the mayor of St. Louis, Tishuara Jones, would be appointed by Republican Missouri Governor Mike Parson.

KCUR reported that State Representative Justin Sparks, R-Wildwood, advocated for the support of the police officers, whose representatives have endorsed the bill, stating that he and fellow lawmakers “need them to stay.” The legislation has received support from Democrats as well, with most of them citing the need to support the police officers. The Missouri Senate is also considering legislation that closely resembles what the House has produced. The new police chief of the St. Louis Police Department has voiced his opposition to the legislation in the Senate.

Representative LaKeySha Bosley, D-St. Louis, successfully added an amendment to increase the pay of police officers by $7,000, adding $3,000 more to the original amount proposed in the bill. However, her efforts to have the state pay for the increase in salary failed, leaving the city to cover the cost. Representative Steve Butz, D-St. Louis, also supports the legislation, citing the strong support from the St. Louis Police Department when they testified in a hearing about the bill.

Progressive Representative Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, expressed his opposition to the bill. He questioned how some, particularly people of color, would feel about it.

If the new bill passes, Governor Parson will begin appointing the board in August 2023.

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