County Police Get a Raise, City Calls for Reinforcements

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A 30 percent raise for St. Louis County patrol officers will be announced this morning. St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger says it’s a result of county voters approving a half-cent sales tax for police in April.

“We are working on a plan to hire approximately 110 officers. It is unlikely that all 110 officers will be hired within the first year, just because of availability,” he says.

Stenger hopes the pay hike will boost morale in a department that has seen some experienced officers leave for better paying jobs elsewhere.

“I think that next step that we’re taking, improving police pay, is going to dramatically increase morale, even over what it was increased through the passage of Prop P,” he says.

Meanwhile, there’s no pay raise in sight for St. Louis city officers. Mayor Lyda Krewson says reinforcements are on the way, in the form of Highway Patrol officers who will soon be patrolling the interstates.

“Currently, city police do not spend a lot of time on highways. They spend some time, but it’s a force multiplier, and I think that speed and contraband on highways is an issue, so let’s let the highway patrol take care of it,” she says.

Krewson says she’s working on getting a bill approved to raise police pay, much like Prop P.

“We have put together a board bill, which you may have seen on the Board of Aldermen agenda, which would be a half cent sales tax for police, fire and other law enforcement initiatives,” she says.

But that wouldn’t come up for a city-wide vote until November.

City aldermen are also considering a separate plan to start collecting the payroll tax on non-profits with 20 or more employees — a move that could raise up to $12 million a year for police.

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