ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – For the first time in 152 years, the mayor’s office gets control of the St. Louis Police Department.
Approved by voters last November and signed into law by Mayor Francis Slay, Saturday, the change from a state-appointed board takes effect Sunday.
Police Chief Sam Dotson says residents won’t notice much change on the street, but the department can be managed more efficiently, “The first thing we’ll do is tell our employees that nobody’s going to lose their job or any salary. But, as we go forward in time, we’ll look for opportunities to save money, then take that money and re-invest it back into public safety in the city. It could be spent on additional officers, new technology, or new equipment.”
Mayor Francis Slay says the future is bright for the police department, “In the city’s history, mayors have sometimes fought with police chiefs, with terrible results. Those days are over.”
During the final police board meeting, president Richard Gray said he doesn’t look at it as an end, but a beginning, “Under the leadership of the mayor and chief of police, the department is in such a unique and incredible position to advance to a level never reached before.”
Board member Bettye Battle-Turner had a message for the dozens of police commissioners who preceded her on the board, many who were in attendance, “Thank you. You served well, which made it easy for us to serve well.”
Board member Erwin Switzer said while there’s a change in management of the department, one thing won’t change, “The people of St. Louis will still be protected by some of the bravest and most-dedicated officers that can be found in law enforcement anywhere in the United States.”