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St. Louis County a step closer to imposing minimum standards for police agencies

St. Louis County a step closer to imposing minimum standards for police agencies

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY • A measure meant to impose minimum standards on 57 St. Louis County police agencies has edged closer to enactment – and legal action that threatens to block the provision.

Split 5-2, the County Council on Tuesday voted to move the ordinance toward final passage, perhaps as early as next week.

The vote defied the St. Louis County Municipal League and various jurisdictions that contend the county has no right to saddle independently chartered communities with the requirements.

County Executive Steve Stenger proposed the legislation as a means to install uniform law enforcement standards governing hiring practices, the use of force and other qualifications will guarantee uniform policing benchmarks across the county.

St. Ann Alderwoman Amy Poelker disagrees with that assessment.

Stenger, she told the council, is acting as "judge, jury and executioner on this bill."

Labeling the legislation "unconstitutional," critics have vowed they will seek a restraining order to stop the ordinance in court.

"This bill is intended more to punish communities than work with communities," Bel-Nor Mayor Kevin Buchek told council members.

Republican Mark Harder and Democrat Hazel Erby opposed the bill.

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Steve Giegerich is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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