Some call for STL police departments merger

FERGUSON, Mo. (KSDK) - The situation in Ferguson is raising deep-rooted issues across the St. Louis region. One of them, some say, is the fact that the city has too many suburbs.

There have been dozens of different police departments helping out during the past couple of weeks. They all have different policies and different training programs, and some say that's a problem. Others, are happy the way things are.

One of those people, is the mayor of Greendale.

Greendale is known for its tree-lined streets and well-kept homes. It's nestled between Bel Nor, a country club, and the University of Missouri St. Louis, and, it has a population of not quite 700.

"You moved here because it was a great, nice community. And you stay here because it's nice," Mayor Monica Huddleston said.

But, some say, the small city and dozens of others like it in the greater St. Louis region are contributing to the imbalances across our area, and therefore the unrest in Ferguson.

"If we'd addressed this like we should have 20 years ago, we would not be in this mess right now," said Smith Moore economic analyst Juli Niemann.

And, some say, if St. Louis's suburbs would combine together into fewer, larger municipalities, it would have been easier to respond to the violence.

Just days after looters and vandals took to the streets, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay sent out a tweet saying, "The Herculean task of coordinating dozens of public safety departments is a strong argument for a more unified region."

"The mayor is spot on. We've had a huge problem in St. Louis for years and years," Niemann said.

While the mayor of Greendale admits that so many different cities with so many different agendas can be a problem, she sees a much different solution.

And that is for all of the different cities to work together, but remain separate.

"Regional unification is not a bad word, it's a great word. But it does not equate to 'all of you smaller cities need to merge and become one big fat suburb or one big fat city,'" Huddleston said.

But others say one city is exactly what St. Louis should be.

"You're behaving like you're in a fraternity or sorority, and that's a luxury we cannot afford. What we want is a good standard living for the metropolitan statistical area. We want this area to grow," Niemann said.


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