The battle over who will control the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has entered the theater of the courtroom.
Legislative efforts to give the city's Board of Aldermen direct oversight of the department have stalled. (It's currently governed by a five-member board, four of whom are gubernatorial appointees. The mayor is always the fifth).
St. Louis residents pay for the city’s police force, but the state controls it.
While St. Louis’ mayor sits on the Board of Police Commissioners, Missouri’s governor appoints the other four members.
It’s been that way for 150 years, since the outset of the Civil War.
In recent years, the drumbeat to bring local control back to the city has been growing louder.
As part of St. Louis Public Radio’s continuing Bound By Division series, Maria Altman reports the reasons for and against local control have changed since the Civil War, but it’s still an issue that pits the city against the state.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay delivers his annual State of the City report to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen at City Hall in St. Louis on April 25, 2008. Slay spoke out today about local control of St. Louis' police department. (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)