St. Louis police car

(KMOX/Brad Choat)

St. Louis Police Union Sounds Alarm About More Officers Leaving

February 13, 2018 - 4:50 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A new year and old problems persist for the St. Louis Police Department -- more officers are leaving than can be replaced. 

Business Manager Jeff Roorda with the Police Officers Association says the department is down 140 officers from its authorized strength of 1,314 officers -- the highest number the department has ever been down.

Roorda says the problem is St. Louis County officers make $13,000 more than officer in the city. And city officers won't get a $6,000 raise approved by voters last November until July.  

He's heard of 20 people this month, alone, who have either left or put in their papers to leave the department.

"We can't get an academy class finished as quickly as that many or more officers have retired or resigned."

Also, he says a bill before the state legislature would weaken the city police pension, and that could make it harder to attract new officers. 

"It will be devastating," Roorda says. "We struggle to get people to apply for this job, and it is one of the things that our recruiters use to attract people is to tell them we got a really good pension system."