ST. LOUIS -- Fifteen members of the St. Louis police department were disciplined Wednesday, after eight officers seized World Series tickets from scalpers and gave them to friends and family to use.
St. Louis police chief Joe Mokwa suspended eight officers without pay for two weeks for giving away the seized Cardinals tickets, which should have been stored as evidence. He recommended that their rank be reduced for at least a year. They could lose up to $20,000 each in pay as a result.
In addition, a lieutenant and three sergeants face punishment for failure to supervise. Another three officers will be disciplined for violating an internal procedure, he said.
The names of those involved were not made public. Mokwa says the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's office will review the matter to recommend if any criminal charges should be filed.
The department said its Internal Affairs Division started investigating in November after receiving a complaint from a citizen that his confiscated tickets were used improperly during the World Series.
"This is a very emotional time for the Department and for me because families and careers are impacted by this disciplinary action," Mokwa said in a statement. "However, I will not allow the behavior of a small number of officers to compromise the integrity of the 1,400 officers of this Department who serve and protect this community honorably everyday."
Mokwa's recommendations will be made to the Police Board on the grounds that the officers violated ethical standards and evidence handling procedures.
He said the officers made a mistake that has shaken the confidence of the public and other officers. He said the department will work to rebuild the community's trust.
The president of the St. Louis Police Officers' Association, Sgt. Kevin Ahlbrand, said the association is satisfied that the punishment is in line with the offense.
"We stand with and support our membership in such instances, and we believe the discipline in this situation was fair and just," he said in a statement.
Tickets are no longer torn at Busch Stadium but are electronically scanned. The tickets were stored as evidence after they were used, but should have been stored immediately after being confiscated, police have said.
Face value of World Series tickets at Busch Stadium ranged from $50 to $250 each. The Cardinals hosted three games during their World Series win over Detroit in October, including the deciding Game 5.