It is becoming increasingly clear that what happened with the St. Louis police department’s contract with a tow company falls somewhere between an administrative breakdown and a serious crime against the police department and the City’s taxpayers.
There is no way to sugar coat this. There is no excuse for it. It is important that we find out what went wrong and fix it so it does not happen again.
When it comes to fighting street crime, the City has one of the best departments in the country. Crime was down last year and is again this year. But, the latest revelations show that, at the very least, the police department’s administrative functions need a serious overhaul. Fixing them will be one of the most urgent tasks of the next police chief.
I cannot blame this matter on the awkward form of governance that gives control of the City’s police department to the state. The police department’s internal business functions broke down. Whether there were also any criminal acts will be determined by a federal investigation. When the investigation is completed, it is incumbent upon the police department and the City to take all necessary steps to recover any money that might be due under the contract.