The state Senate is considering a bill that would return control of the St. Louis Police Department to Missouri. If the bill is signed into law, a board of police commissioners appointed by the governor would oversee how the department operates.

While admitting that the city has a public safety issue, Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, admitted that it’s not a “universally” supported position in his Republican Caucus.

“It’s certainly not something that, the best that I can tell, that the entirety of our caucus supports. I’m sure it is a priority of some folks,” he said. “I don’t know that I would call it a universal caucus priority. I think you’ll have some Republicans who are going to have some issues with it when it comes to the floor.”

Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, argued that with the city having a new prosecutor and police chief, more time needs to be granted.

“I think you enter into a situation to where you need to give people more support financially, things like that, to do as they want to do and give them an opportunity,” Rizzo said. “You can’t continue to change people out and have this back-and-forth between state control ten years, and then local control ten years, and whatever it might be to take away from the fact that they probably need to pay police officers more.”

Currently, Kansas City is the only city in Missouri without local control of the police department.

The bill could be heard by a Senate committee soon.

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