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St. Louis County Chief Worried About Quality of Smaller, Local PDs

March 02, 2010  | 

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch is troubled by the quality of police service provided by several of the small municipalities that dot the midcounty landscape.

He has quietly proposed that they pool their money to form a new county police precinct, eliminating the tiny departments. But while those discussions continue, Fitch is trying a different approach.

Now, he is pushing for a change in the way the state regulates police officers and departments, arguing that licensing entire departments, instead of individual officers, would improve police quality and eliminate dysfunctional departments.

If subpar departments cannot meet minimum standards in whom they hire and how they operate, Fitch said, they should be put out of business.

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