- Cape businessman known for starting NARS dies at 49 (2/23/17)9
- Apparent punch at girls basketball game propels lawmaker into action (2/21/17)4
- Business notebook: Owners ready to roll out the Barrel 131 (2/20/17)6
- Japanese restaurant up and running; owner surprised by fondness of sushi here (2/24/17)
- SoutheastHEALTH, Washington University School of Medicine announce collaboration (2/24/17)18
- Missouri bill would limit transgender school bathroom access (2/22/17)48
- MSHP: McLendon shot in side; autopsy refutes witness account (2/19/17)23
- Annual father-daughter dance provides some fun bonding time (2/19/17)1
- City issues precautionary boil order near Arena Park (2/23/17)
- $22M bond issue would alter Jackson schools (2/22/17)13
Local control a positive step
Since the Civil War, the St. Louis and Kansas City police departments have been controlled by the state of Missouri. However, last November, in a nonbinding resolution, 69 percent of St. Louis voters asked the state to leave and return the department to local control. I agree and here's why.
In 1999, former state auditor and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill cited the Board of Police Commissioners for its lack of oversight, fiscal mismanagement and violation of state law.
Over a decade later not much has changed. In 2009, Missouri Auditor Susan Montee also found a host of financial improprieties, including misuse of interest funds, the purchase of a gold badge costing taxpayers nearly $10,000 and wrongful pay of $109,000 in severance.
Moreover, in data reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, "Crime in the United States 2009," St. Louis and Kansas City ranked one and 21, respectively. This alone should be a wake-up call for all Missourians.
It is apparent that the state of Missouri's control over the St. Louis Police Department does more to perpetuate crime than prevent it.
While local control may not solve every problem, it is the first step in addressing mismanagement, lackadaisical oversight and reducing our rankings on the national level.
It is for these reasons that I support House Bill 71 and Senate Bill 23.
ROGER A. GRAHAM, Cape Girardeau