ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - “And the survey says”…that a vast majority of St. Louis residents questioned in a telephone poll oppose turning control of the police department back over to the city.
At least according to a survey commissioned in part by the St. Louis Police Officers Association.
Union spokesman Ed Clark says the phone survey of 274 city residents by “Opinions Incorporated” shows that most respondents think local government is too big and disorganized to effectively run day-to-day operations of city police.
“We like the set-up as it is now,” Clark said during a midday press conference Wednesday. “This Board of Police Commissioners is an insulating barrier between us and local politicians.”
Phone surveys were conducted in late November through mid-December with a range of plus-or-minus 5%.
These were the questions and results reported by “Opinions Incorporated”:
1. “Wichita and Tampa are the same size as the city of St. Louis. Wichita has a mayor and six city council members, while Tampa has a mayor and seven city council members. Meanwhile, St. Louis has 39 paid, elected politicians. Do you feel that the city of St. Louis should reduce the number of elected officials?”
YES – 236 (86.1%)
NO – 32 (11.7%)
UNSPECIFIED – 6 (2.2%)
2. “In 2008, city of St. Louis voters passed a tax increase to fund public safety increases in police and fire departments. Since then city politicians have cut police and fire department funding while increasing their own salaries. Do you trust St. Louis politicians to properly manage the police department?”
YES – 33 (12.0%)
NO – 240 (87.6%)
UNSPECIFIED – 1 (0.4%)
3. “The government of the city of St. Louis hasn’t changed in almost 100 years, since the Charter of 1914. At that time St. Louis was twice the size it is today. City residents may change the city’s charter. Do you feel that the charter should be changed to cut the number of paid elected officials?”
YES – 234 (85.4%)
NO – 36 (13.1%)
UNSPECIFIED – 4 (1.5%)
The results fly in the face of “Proposition L” on last November’s ballot in which more than two-thirds of voters agreed that control of the police department should be returned to the city, but Clark contends that the ballot item was too vague.
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