Green Park aldermen continue discussion about city’s police services, scheduled shifts

Some aldermen want police officers on weekend shifts

Officers+from+the+Affton+Southwest+Precinct%2C+including+Capt.+Melissa+Webb%2C+far+left%2C+join%2C+from+left%2C+Dick+and+Peggy+Snyder+and+bottom+left%2C+Officer+Blake+Snyder%E2%80%99s+widow%2C+Elizabeth%2C+and+son+Chi+at+the+official+dedication+of+the+Officer+Blake+C.+Snyder+Community+Room+at+Green+Park+City+Hall+in+2018.

Photo by City of Green Park

Officers from the Affton Southwest Precinct, including Capt. Melissa Webb, far left, join, from left, Dick and Peggy Snyder and bottom left, Officer Blake Snyder’s widow, Elizabeth, and son Chi at the official dedication of the Officer Blake C. Snyder Community Room at Green Park City Hall in 2018.

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

The Green Park Board of Aldermen spent part of its June 20 meeting discussing city police services and the hours the city currently has contracted.

The patrol hours in the city have been brought up often at recent meetings, with some aldermen pushing for another police officer or to change current hours to include weekend nights. 

City Administrator James Mello said he recently contacted St. Louis County Police to discuss adding a part-time weekend officer to the contract, but police said it would be unlikely to happen. Instead the city could add a third officer, which it has moved not to do many times in the past, or increase patrols when dedicated officers are not in the city. 

Ward 1 Alderman Michael Broughton suggested Mello reach out to the Lakeshire Police Department with the possibility of contracting for an overnight patrol instead of increasing off-patrol hours.

“If we make some arrangement with them to do a patrol in the residential areas … I think we’d be better off doing that,” Broughton said. 

Much of the discussion at the June 20 meeting and in the past has centered around changing up the city’s contracted hours to include weekend nights and early mornings. Ward 1 Alderman Carol Hamilton said she would prefer to see a full-time night officer, with sporadic patrols during the daytime. Hamilton said she wasn’t sure which daytime shifts to get rid of, but the presence of a night officer would probably reduce crime.

Ward 3 Alderman Joe Monteleone said he didn’t think there was a solution within the city’s grasp to fully address the crime issue — the problem is too sporadic to fix with one change.

“Officers being on nights doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to catch somebody. These things can happen days and nights, it’s running rampant everywhere,” Monteleone said. “(Police) know what they’re doing as far as patrolling the area, I’m going to leave it up to them.”

Hamilton said she would have agreed with that sentiment in the past, but she knows now that shifts can be impacted by allowing police to be home with their families.

“I don’t want it based on the convenience of someone’s schedule,” Hamilton said. 

Monteleone said even if the city had multiple officers, they still would never be able to stop every crime as it happens.

The board suggested looking into summer 2021 crime data before making a decision on changing hours. The data could show a certain time or place to move shifts.

Also discussed at the meeting was the possible addition of license plate reading cameras in the city. The board recently hosted a meeting between police and business owners to address the possible installation of some of those cameras.

Mayor Tim Thuston said the group identified three to four potential camera locations, and the possibility of putting the cameras out to bid. The city knows the price of the originally discussed camera company, Flock, is $7,500 per year total.