Crime fighting, adequate pay, pensions, and police headquarters? There are plenty of urgent needs for additional spending from a public safety budget that's already the largest line item of the municipal budget.
City police officers argue, correctly, that some departments in St. Louis County pay better. The police pension system - like public employee pension systems in almost every city and state -suffered badly during the financial market's decline last year. And, according to an expert hired by the department, headquarters needs far more work than can be covered by $10 million worth of bonds approved by voters two years ago.
I'd like to pay, train, and better utilize officers to reduce crime. I'd like to fix the police pension fund without crippling the department or burdening our citizens. I would prefer to move police commanders to the most cost effective space that meets their needs. And, I'd like to explore the notion that we can make our City and our region safer with some sort of common public safety discussion with St. Louis County.
But, none of these decisions will be up to me. Or to you.
The State of Missouri will have the deciding votes on these subjects because they, not us, control the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Ready to control your own police department?