New Police Precincts in North, South County Move Ahead

County police officers at previous meeting have urged council members to upgrade their facilities: "Things are literally falling apart."

Michael Calhoun
June 27, 2018 - 4:22 am
Front view of police car with siren and windshield

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CLAYTON (KMOX) -- Two new police precincts are in the works for St. Louis County -- one to the north and the other in south county.

Council members Tuesday night approved the hiring of an architecture firm to design the buildings.

Councilwoman Rochelle Walton-Gray, a Democrat, represents part of north county and says she was inititally skeptical about facilities being a priority.

Before eventually voting yes, she said: "in the police department they're having a lot of issues with their African-American officers and we know there's been some tension with the community, so I wasn't going to support putting money into buildings when we're still working on training."

Councilman Ernie Trakas, a Republican, says he also recognizes the need for these buildings, but, "that said, serious questions remain with respect to the acquisition in south county for the police station."

That deal was handled through the St. Louis County Port Authority and did not require council approval.

Trakas says his questions include whether the county really paid the best price for the land.

County police officers at previous meeting have urged council members to upgrade their facilities.

One said of the north county precinct: "I don't know how else to put it -- some of the things are literally falling apart."

She described a small building with air conditioning that constantly breaks and sewage that routinely backs up into the bathrooms. There's no visitor area, except for a small lobby without any climate control, little seating and no public restroom.

The department, she said, has to reach out to nearby schools and the Black Jack Fire Department to accomodate any kind of community meeting, including drug addition groups and neighborhood watch.

In south county, they described parking issues that spill over to adjacent businesses.

Both council members Trakas and Gray did vote to approve the hiring of the architecture firm, which moves the process forward.