ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The North County Police Cooperative will not be renewing its service agreement with Pine Lawn due to late payments from the city, the police chief said.
In a letter sent to Pine Lawn city leaders on Tuesday, North County Co-op Chief John Buchannan said payments from the city have been "inconsistent and insufficient" since the city joined the co-op in 2016.
The letter said those shortcomings have been shouldered by the co-op.
"Pine Lawn’s history of lateness and not paying required contractual amounts threatens the workings and mission of the NCPC," the letter said.
According to documents obtained by 5 On Your Side, the North County Co-op sent an invoice to the city for $127,208.34 on Sept. 7. According to the itemized invoice, the city owed the monthly payment of $60,941.67 for each of the last two months and another four payments of $1,775 after providing insufficient payments in four different months earlier this year.
Owner of B&I Eatery says since they opened they have felt safe serving the community. Nicole Isabell has questions and concerns about who will patrol Pine Lawn moving forward.
"I was unaware they were going to do that," Isabell said. "End service all together? That's crazy but I can't believe they haven't gotten paid. Hopefully they can work it out."
The co-op said it would agree to continue to provide month-to-month police services as long as the city pays what it currently owes, and makes monthly payments on time.
"The NCPC has every intention to ensure a smooth transition to your new law enforcement provider for benefit of the residents of Pine Lawn," the letter said.
The North County Police Cooperative is a policing alternative that serves the following municipalities in north St. Louis County:
- Beverly Hills
- Hanley Hills
- Velda Village Hills
- Vinita Park
- Uplands Park
The cooperative was started in 2015 when Vinita Terrace and Wellston contracted the Vinita Park Police Department to handle police services in their municipalities in 2015. When they started policing in the new areas, the name was changed to the North County Police Cooperative.
"This is not going to be Vinita Park coming in and taking over. It can't happen that way," then-Police Chief Tim Swope told St. Louis Public Radio. "This is all of us joining together and having some skin in the game."
Each of the municipalities served by the cooperative has its own precinct office and police services for the public.
Those precincts report to the mayor and board of the municipality they serve.