Local control over St Louis Metro Police Dept to start in September

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by Diana Zoga / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on June 4, 2013 at 6:38 PM

 (KMOV) – On Tuesday morning, the Public Safety Committee for the Board of Alderman set a target date of September 1st for local control to take effect.

 Last November, voters approved Proposition A which allows the City of St. Louis to take over control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department from a state board.

Prop A allowed the city to take control as soon as July, but city leaders say the city needs more time to transition.

The Public Safety Committee sent a bill to the full Board of Aldermen on Tuesday morning.  The full board will work to finalize the transition.

Police Chief Sam Dotson said this is a chance to reinvent the department.  The department is working on plans to decrease the number of police districts in the city from nine to six.

“State statute requires that we have nine police districts and that’s been in place for many, many years.  That doesn’t really reflect the City of St. Louis anymore,” said Dotson.

“We are looking at redistricting, we’re balancing the work load in all the six districts,” added Dotson.

Alderman Antonio French, 21st Ward, says it’s a chance to reallocate resources in the city.  He says that he expects to see the board set up a formal process for the public to meet with the police department, given that the monthly meetings for the state-run Board of Police Commissioners were open to the public.

“As always, the devil’s in the details so we want to make sure those details expressly give some public input,” said French.

“The police department just being a part of city government and being accountable and answerable, I think that is going to change the culture a bit and hopefully reconnect the police department and the community a little bit more,” added French.

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