SB 535
Allows the City of St. Louis to control its police force without state intervention
LR Number:
Last Action:
1/5/2012 - Second Read and Referred S Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee
Journal Page:
Calendar Position:
Effective Date:
August 28, 2012

Current Bill Summary

SB 535 - This act modifies provisions relating to the St. Louis police force.

No elected or appointed official of the state or a political subdivision may interfere with any member of the St. Louis police force in the performance of his or her job duties or in any investigation or else face a penalty of $15,000 and disqualification from office.

This act also makes it an unlawful employment practice to take certain adverse employment actions against an employee of the St. Louis police force for reporting the illegal conduct of a co-worker.

The City of St. Louis is authorized by this act to establish a municipal police force, no sooner than January 1, 2013, after certain conditions have been met and according to certain procedures. For instance, the city is required to amend its charter to repeal its residency rule and the city is prohibited from requiring its employees to live in the city for more than seven years.

The city must also hire a public safety director who has at least ten years experience in correctional management and the director must complete continuing education courses in correctional management every year.

The terms of the commissioners of the board of police shall expire upon the establishment of the police force and several provisions of current law shall no longer apply to the city or its municipal police force, but the act shall not be construed as changing the retirement benefits provided under current law.

The municipal police force is required to employ, without a reduction in rank, salary, or benefits, all commissioned and civilian personnel of the board of police commissioners. These employees may not be fired or have their salary, benefits, or ranks reduced except for cause and only after certain disciplinary procedures have been followed.

Under this act, the city may adopt rules for the police force, but disciplinary decisions shall be governed by the civil service commission’s rules. The commission shall issue decisions in appeals of disciplinary actions, which shall be subject to appeal.

The city must provide or contract for certain benefits. Health, medical, and life insurance must be available for purchase by the spouses, domestic partners, or dependents of deceased retired officers and employees who receive benefits from the Police Retirement System of St. Louis.

This act requires the city to create a transition committee to coordinate and implement the transition of the police force to the city.

This act provides that the city shall not be restricted in any way in the selection of a police chief. Under this act, the police chief may require the city's sheriff and other local and municipal law enforcement officers to act under the chief's control when needed.

This act further provides that any person who acts as a private watchman, private detective, or private policeman in St. Louis without having obtained a written license is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

This act modifies the definitions of "earnable compensation" and "police officer" for purposes of the St. Louis police retirement system to remove references to Section 84.160 which will expire upon passage of this act. The makeup of the St. Louis Police Retirement System Board of Trustees is also modified.

This act provides, in the event the state or any state official is ordered to provide state funds to St. Louis City to satisfy pension obligations for members of the Police Retirement System of St. Louis, that the amount of the funds shall constitute a first lien on the funds of the city. The state treasurer and director of the department of revenue are required to withhold all money due to the city until the amount, together with interest, is satisfied.

The State Legal Expense Fund will no longer reimburse the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners for up to a maximum of one million dollars per fiscal year for claims tendered to the Attorney General after the effective date of this act. The Attorney General will continue to provide legal representation for claims tendered by the board of police commissioners before the effective date of this act.

Some of the provisions of this act are nonseverable.

This act is similar to SS/HB 1 (2011), SB 23 (2011), and HB 71 (2011).