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Recently, Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee completed an audit of the City of St. Louis Police Department. She found that the Department lacked controls to prevent theft from the evidence room, that 4 million dollars in seized goods had never been returned to felony suspects, that the Board of Police Commissioners failed to monitor the controversial towing contract and that the Board gave former Chief of Police Mokwa an improper $109,000 severance.
As a result, State Senator-elect Joe Keaveny and State Representative Jamilah Nasheed have called for the transfer of the supervision of the St. Louis Police Department from the Governor to the Mayor and the Board of Alderman. After speaking with a former police reporter, a civic leader, reading the editorial by Bill McClellan in the November 20th issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the interview of Police Chief Isom in the St. Louis American, it appears that a number of things must be done before this change is made. At the very least, these include placing the Departmentís budget under the police chief, establishing a strong independent internal audit department, holding regular external audits, establishing policies to reduce political influence on the promotion of police officers and requiring the Board of Commissioners to adopt transparent business programs and policies.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Lowe "Sandy" MacLean is vice chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and is active in local political and community organizations, including the Grand Order of Pachyderms (GOP), a service organization for the Republican Party.