Sunset Hills board OKs measures supporting Police Department, chief

Resolutions in support of department go to aldermen next week

By Gloria Lloyd

If the Sunset Hills Police Advisory Board gets its way, the talk of whether to abolish the city’s Police Department in favor of outsourcing police services to St. Louis County will end next Tuesday when the Board of Aldermen meets.

The police board met Wednesday night and voted unanimously to adopt a myriad of resolutions strongly supporting the Police Department and Police Chief William LaGrand, to counteract rumors that Mayor Mark Furrer intends to abolish the department.

“These rumors are dangerous,” police board Chairman Frank Pellegrini said. “I don’t like it, I don’t like having this meeting — but I think it’s time to put a stake in the ground and draw a line.”

The police board’s resolutions in support of the Police Department — along with a resolution that the Board of Aldermen, not the mayor, oversees the police, and a recommendation that LaGrand’s personal use of a city car be reinstated — will be discussed by the Board of Aldermen when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, at City Hall, 3939 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

After the meeting, LaGrand said he was happy with the board’s actions and board members’ expressions of support for his department and its officers.

“I believe that the overwhelming majority of the people who live in Sunset Hills love their Police Department,” he said. “We have people with young kids and families, and it’s just bad for morale.”

The police board adopted the resolutions amid rumors that Mayor Mark Furrer publicly stated at a Kiwanis Club luncheon and a Finance Committee meeting that he intends to dissolve the Police Department.

Furrer was not at the police board meeting and will not attend the Board of Aldermen meeting.

The mayor reiterated to the Call that he does not want to dissolve the Police Department, and that the aldermen know that he is against abolishing the force.

“I give the Police Department a ringing endorsement,” Furrer said. “Every one of the officers and the lieutenants do an exceptional job.”