Second officer hired in Green Park

By Mike Anthony
Executive Editor
news1@callnewspapers.com

The Green Park Board of Aldermen voted unanimously last week to adopt an ordinance amending its agreement with the St. Louis County Police Department to add a second neighborhood police officer for the city.
The city contracts with the county Police Department for police service, with one Green Park officer assigned during daytime hours to patrol the city. With the board’s action, a second officer will be assigned to Green Park and could join Officer Jeremy Hake in patrolling the city as soon as Dec. 1.
Ward 1 Alderman Michael Broughton had been opposed to hiring a second officer, contending city officials needed to study the matter further. But Broughton joined the rest of the board Nov. 20 in voting to adopt the ordinance.
Aldermen have been discussing at recent meetings how to spend the estimated $131,000 the city will receive as its share of Proposition P, the countywide half-cent sales-tax for police and public safety voters approved in April.
Before last week, the board twice discussed the ordinance to add a second police officer at an annual cost of $91,611.68.
The board voted 5-0 Oct. 16 to approve the first and second readings of the ordinance, but Ward 2 Alderman Tim Thuston’s motion to consider final passage of the measure did not receive a second. Board President Fred Baras of Ward 3 was absent.
Broughton sought to amend the ordinance to have the second officer hired on June 1 instead of immediately and to make the hiring contingent on the city’s receipt of the Prop P funding. If the funding is not received, the amendment would be null and void, according to the proposed amendment. Broughton later withdraw the amendment after it became apparent it would not receive a second.
Thuston and Broughton clashed over the issue of hiring a second officer, with Thuston saying he believed a second police officer is needed regardless of whether the city receives the Prop P funds.
But Broughton countered that further discussion was needed, and suggested asking the Criminal Justice Program at the University of Missouri St. Louis to perform a survey of the city’s police needs.
During a subsequent work session, aldermen again discussed hiring a second officer, but came to no consensus.
At the Nov. 20 board meeting, Thuston said he regularly receives calls from residents complaining about cut-through traffic. It’s not a new issue, as it has been occurring for years, he added.
“We all want the privacy and we all want people to not cut through and come in to our yards, but it’s going to happen. It’s progress,” Thuston said. “What I’d like to see happen is more enforcement. Having more enforcement would give the police a little more freedom to do some of the things that through the years we’ve not had an opportunity to do.”
He later said, “The biggest problems we’ve got are larcenies, people breaking into cars, speeding — people speeding up and down Green Park Road, flipping over the hills, you know, whatever. Just speeding and cut-through traffic are a big, big deal, and I would really like to see us look into having another officer.”
Regarding the previous work session, Thuston said, “We brought up the subject of having another police officer and I didn’t want to talk about it because I didn’t think it was proper. I thought we should bring it up at a meeting, at a regular Board of Aldermen meeting … Hopefully, we bring this up again tonight so that a citizen can see how we vote and why we vote.
“When they call up and they talk about larcenies, they talk about speeding, they talk about cutting through properties, they know who’s for it and who’s against it. I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to wait six months. I don’t want to do another study. I don’t want to do that crap all over again. Let’s just get to where we can enforce the laws that are in the city — speeding, cut through, et cetera. The laws are on the books. We’ve just got to find a way to enforce them. Waiting is a disservice to everybody.”
The board later voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance adding a second police officer.