The Missouri House has given first-round approval to legislation that would return control of the Metropolitan Police Department to the city of St. Louis.
The department has been under state control since the Civil War.
St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom says the department may have to lay off as many as 65 officers because of a budget shortfall.
KSDK-TV reports that Isom spoke Wednesday to the city's Police Board. He says he continues to hope the cuts aren't necessary, but the department is evaluating how to make ends meet.
The budget for the police department is $164 million this year.
A Safer Missouri, a group in favor of local control of the St. Louis Police Department, announced three additional entities today which have endorsed local control:
St. Louis Public Radio is a service of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.