The process of turning control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department over to City Hall begins today.
Ald. Craig Schmid, the chair of the public safety committee at the Board of Aldermen, will introduce the bill in which the city accepts “responsibility, ownership and liability as the successor-in-interest for contractual obligations, indebtedness and other lawful obligations of the Board of Police Commissioners.”
Most of the process of creating a municipal police force is outlined in language approved in November as part of Proposition A. But the devil remains in the details. For example, the Civil Service Commission will have to determine a proper disciplinary process, since police officers will now be city employees. And there’s always the possibility, however slight, that the Board of Aldermen could refuse to pass Schmid’s bill.
As you know, our ward organization did not endorse Prop A, or local control this past election cycle. We had concerns about the limiting language of the bill and also the backing of Rex Sinquefield was disturbing. I know I’m not the only one following this process like a hawk. Members of the “Vote No on Prop A” group were down at the Board of Aldermen meeting this morning to question the sponsor of the bill and make sure that City Hall is aware that people are paying attention. And we are. One of my ongoing goals is to track bills and legislation that affects us as a ward and a city – not a small task – but something that we as citizens have a responsibility to do if we are to keep our electeds accountable!
I need help to accomplish this – if anyone is interested in following a particular piece of legislation, or has a cause that is near and dear, or wants to keep tabs on what their favorite senator is doing, please let me know. And I’ll keep you posted on City Hall’s progress on Prop A – information is power!