CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOX) — No resolution in sight to the political deadlock in Dellwood.
Six weeks into the new year, and nothing’s been done — there’s not even a budget. Yet another city meeting was cancelled this week, because quorum couldn’t be met. Four of 8 aldermen are holding out to prevent a vote on outsourcing the police department to St. Louis County, even after an audit of the department revealed that officers mishandled 121 felony cases over the last several years.
In the meantime officers are fleeing. The force originally had 15 officers, now only four are left. County Police Chief Tim Fitch says his officers will continue filling the gap for the foreseeable future, for free. “What we need to do is make sure the citizens and businesses are protected in Dellwood,” he explained. “What they do politically, that’s between the citizens and their elected officials. We do not get involved in those discussions.” Fitch says he doesn’t expect a permanent resolution until voters in April either retain or fire the hold-out aldermen.
In the meantime, he says he gets a call from other cities about outsourcing their police about every other week: ”There are a few, mostly small, dysfunctional police departments in St. Louis County that we are well aware of and have dealt with for years,” Fitch said. “Those are the ones that have to either talk to their neighbors about consolidating their departments or outsourcing to someone else. We are certainly an option that’s available to them.”
Fitch says many municipalities in the St. Louis region financially can’t fill potholes let alone operate an effective police department.
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