ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The day after the St. Louis County Council approved a ten-year partnership between the city and county’s economic development agencies, St. Louis Police announced a merger between the city and county’s bomb and arson units Wednesday.
The announcement was made at the weekly Board of Police Commissioners meeting.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch have both cited fiscal reasons for the merger.
“This is just another step in the direction of trying to figure out how we can continue to operate these specialized units that are very expensive,” County Police Chief Tim Fitch said.
The merger will go into effect July 1 and the merged squads will operate out of St. Louis Police Headquarters downtown.
“Tim Fitch and I have sat down and talked about a variety of different next steps,” Chief Dotson told KMOX. “Instead of rushing into it though we’re going to take little steps and make sure that we’re not missing anything and that it works.”
Tuesday night, discussion between County Council members and residents became heated as residents warned of a slow but deliberate merger between St. Louis City and St. Louis County.
“It appears to be another step in the process and Mr. Dooley and Mr. Slay have both publicly stated their interest in the merger,” one woman said, referring to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.
“You using that for political purposes down the road doesn’t have nothing to do with it,” councilman Mike O’Mara replied as the two spoke over each other.
“No, it’s practical purposes, it’s not partisan, but thank you,” the resident replied. The measure passed 5-2.