Supporters of St. Louis police local control speak to Cape Republican women

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Representatives of a group who support a statewide ballot initiative that would transfer control of St. Louis police from the state to the city asked local conservatives and members of the Cape County Republican Women's Club to endorse their efforts during a Friday meeting.

David Berry and Ann Marie Moy of the Safer Missouri Citizens Coalition asked attendees of the club's monthly meeting at Dexter Bar-B-Que to consider that St. Louis is one of two cities nationwide that does not have local control of its police department only because an 1861 law is still in effect.

The coalition promotes a "yes" vote for the initiative, also called Proposition A, which will appear before voters statewide on the Nov. 6 ballot. The passage of the initiative would update the law, supporters say, and would save taxpayer money, make the police department accountable to the people of St. Louis and offer protection for officers by prohibiting retaliation against an officer who reported illegal or unethical conduct. Supporters also say the initiative would protect the rights of officers and other police employees.

Opponents of the initiative say government-appointed citizens now administer the police department and that allowing the initiative to pass would hand over control completely to unions and the city's mayor, a Democrat, and his "St. Louis City Democratic political machine."

It appears that conservatives are split on the matter.

A letter read in opposition during the meeting from Gary Weigert, a past president of the St. Louis Police Officers Association and a consultant for the St. Louis Tea Party, told club members that several St. Louis-area tea party groups and several Republican organizations are against the initiative.

Club president Holly Linter told the coalition that the club members would consider taking a position on the issue after allowing ample time for research.

Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger and state Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, both Republicans, have endorsed the initiative. Lichtenegger, who attended the meeting, said she decided to give her support after consulting with city and county legislators.

"My job as a state representative is to put things as local as possible," she

said.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

236 South Broadview Street Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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