Senate Bill 172 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday evening.  Senator Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau) has sponsored a version of this bill for the last seven years.  You could say that he was ahead of his time in recognizing the fiscal impact to ALL state taxpayers, not just St Louis regarding costs associated with the St Louis City Police Department!

Senate Bill 172 would eliminate the requirement for the state to pay a share of the liability claims against the St Louis Board of Police Commissioners or St Louis Police Department. This has been occuring since a court case in 2005 resulting in the state incurring responsibility for paying half of the legal claims against the St Louis Board of Police Commissioners and Police Department.  Since the court case in 2005,  state taxpayers paid out over $5.7 million for claims against these entities, plus paying for their own law enforcement agencies at home.  This accounts for a shocking 10% of the legal expense funds expended during that same period.

In addition, our friends over at 24thstate.com — and they are friends, we just disagree on this issue — have posted an article from Mayor Slay’s Chief of Staff, Jeff Rainford, on the specific court case that obligates state taxpayers to pay for the operations of the St Louis Police Department in an amount that exceeds the original $66 million funding before the Hancock amendment. The City has the constitutional right to ask that state taxpayers pay their share for the operation of the state police department located in St Louis City. Fortunately for all of us, the city hasn’t exercised that option, yet.

Local control is a fundamental principle of good government. Citizens who are paying the tax for the operations of the police department should have the ability to reach out and through their local elected officials, be able to effect changes that positively impact their community. 

Right now they can’t – but they should!