This is one of those bizarre, "only in Missouri" situations.
On Nov. 6, every voter in Missouri has the chance to decide whether the City of St. Louis can control its own police department.
A "yes" vote would reverse more than 150 years of control by a five-member board. Four members are appointed by the Missouri governor; the St. Louis mayor is the fifth member.
You'd be hard pressed to find another large city in America that doesn't run its own police department. That is, unless you drove four hours west on I-70. Kansas City has the same issue.
But in the weirdly worded Proposition A before voters in November, residents of Springfield, Joplin, Independence and Goodnight, MO, will decide whether to end that practice—only in St. Louis.
The question asks whether the law should be amended to "allow any city not within a county (the City of St. Louis) the option of transferring certain obligations and control of the city’s police force from the board of police commissioners currently appointed by the governor to the city and establishing a municipal police force."
Just last week, the St. Louis Beacon broke the news that the union president for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police opposes Proposition A. Things are working just fine now, he said in a letter being circulated by opponents. Why change?
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said the existing system is a remnant of Civil War-era rivalries and was designed to be a curb against political influence in the city's police department.
Supporters of Proposition A say it will save money, eliminate outdated governance, protect cops better and very simply create local control of a local institution.
Should this measure pass? Why shouldn't the city's police department be run locally? What do you think about voters in far-flung regions of Missouri holding the department's future in their hands?