The city of St. Louis, Missouri, has regained control of its police department from the state. The St. Louis Dispatch reported that Mayor Francis Slay signed an executive order the last Saturday of August to end the state's oversight of the city's police department after 152 years, saying that it was "too long in coming."
"Local control will make our city better and safer for generations to come," the mayor said in his remarks at the meeting, according to the news source. "In the city's history, mayors have sometimes fought with chiefs with terrible results. Those days are over."
The switch over from local to state control occurred in 1861. The St. Louis Dispatch reported that the switch aimed to thwart union sympathizers in the city before and during the Civil War.
The change to local control is expected to streamline the city's police departments and make them more effective and efficient. However, the change is not expected to be without some bumps along the way. Chief Sam Dotson has reportedly said that his team is ready for the transition and is prepared to take this new task on. City residents should expect no changes in patrols or staffing, according to the news source.
As the St. Louis Police Department moves to local control, it will be up to local officials to maintain compliance with State training standards so that the level of service to the public remains either at the same level or improves. As with any change, St. Louis has the opportunity to review, streamline and improve how policing is provided and refocus resources on those areas that will provide the most benefits to its citizens.
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