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St. Charles County Voters Will Decide Future of Sheriff's Department

Voters will consider the County Charter Question on Law Enforcement which would create a separate St. Charles County police department and a Police Chief who would not be elected.

St. Charles County voters will decide whether to establish a county police department which would be responsible for law enforcement duties in the county. 

Under the proposal, the St. Charles County Sheriff's Department would remain in charge of court services, prisoner transport, process serving. The elected sheriff would remain in charge of these departments. 

About 180 sheriff's employees would move over to the new police department when it's created in 2015, according to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Those employees would be overseen by a new county police chief. 

Sheriff Tom Neer said his main purpose in suggesting the change is to ensure a qualified person is running law enforcement in St. Charles County. The appointed police chief would have to have 15 years of law enforcement experience, six years of management experience and a college degree. 

To run for sheriff, a candidate must be a registered voter who has lived in the county for at least two years, at least 21 and free of felony convictions.

Neer said he's unsure if he's interested in the police chief position, according to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He's up for reelection in 2014. 

A group of sheriff's deputies have organized in opposition to the proposal. Signs are posted across the county, and they've created a Facebook page and website

Opponents feel the change would remove accountability for the Sheriff from the people. "It will not provide additional protection for county citizens. The remaining diminished Sheriff’s department will not have law enforcement powers/duties," wrote Lisa Payne-Naeger in a blog post urging residents to vote against the amendment. 

Councilman Joe Brazil said the people in his district are opposed to not being able to elect a sheriff.

"I don't think people in St. Charles County are too stupid to make the right choice for sheriff," Brazil said. 

Other County Charter Amendments

In addition to the sheriff's department question, voters will consider a number of other charter amendments including:

ST. CHARLES COUNTY BALLOT ISSUES

  • Question 1: Amends the St. Charles County Charter in four ways;
  1. The county would give written notice to other municipal governments that they will be included in the master plan if they want.
  2. The county would have to post ordinances that include a penalty for violation on the County's website and in six public places instead of having to post it in a local newspaper.
  3. A technical amendment that clarifies the length of time for bills to be presented to the County Executive, and requires a veto override vote to be taken within 30 days of veto.
  4. The County Executive would have to submit a proposed budget to the County Council by Nov. 5 or the first working day after Nov. 5 each year. 
  • Question 2: This would allow the County Executive to appoint someone to fill a vacancy on the County Council who is a member of the same political party as the person who left, subject to approval by the council. The appointee would serve until the next general election.
  • Question 3: This amendment would give the County Executive oversight of the working conditions of employees in the county, as well as the ability to investigate harassment and discrimination.
  • Question 4:  This amendment would prohibit officers and employees of the county from accepting a service or thing of value from someone who has dealings with the county.
  • County Proposition A: This would amend the charter to require a council member to forfeit his office if he is physically absent from 12 consecutive meetings of the council unless excused. 

See our full St. Charles election results wrap up here.

Bret Halfaker November 07, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Who's Stupid idea is this to remove the Sheriff from the county. Do you not realize this office is the highest office of law enforcement of St. Charles County, and protects all citizens from unlawful arrest from any outside force Of St. Charles County. Any other law enforcement wither it be Federal, State or Foreign they have to check in with the county Sheriff and get his approval before they are allowed to do anything to you the citizen of St. Charles County. If this Sheriff does not want to do his job let him step down and lets get a Sheriff in place that is willing to up hold Justice in St. Charles County.. An Election every 4 years is good, if there is a little uprising in the Department it is good, because it brings the best out in our officers and brings grievances up that need to be addressed and Aired out, without any retaliation from the power in place or the power to be, our Officers should not have to deal a dictatorial leadership they should be able to express their ideas so that they are able to perform there jobs better and able to protect the citizens of St. Charles County. Keep this in mind, they look out for the best interest of the citizen and politician of this county, and no out side interest can come into this county and harass you because they don't like your politics or the way you do Business, They have to go through you Sheriff before they come to you.
Dino McDonnell November 07, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Well Bret if you must know who’s stupid idea it was to create a St. Charles county police department, it was Sheriff Neer. You also need to know that the charter amendment did not do away with the St. Charles county Sheriff department. So now that we have established that you are ignorant voter, what is your real point?
Bret Halfaker November 07, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Well Dino, I see who the Ignorant voter is just by your attitude, so you must be a part of his political machine, And my point is, you must be defending Neer and this action,because there is something in it for you, so what do have to gain, and what is your point, I prefer not to have a county Police I prefer a Sheriffs office as it is. I don't like the idea that you and him feel that you can steal the right and the Voice of the people away from them to choose who they wish to serve in this capacity, and justify quarantining a job for one's self with out the voice of the people. If I remember correctly Neer said he did not want the job of Sheriff but spent apprx. $100,000 to get elected, And now he claims he don't want to be the Police chief of this new dept. It appears to me that I am Only ignorant of the fact, because I failed to attend the county council meetings and object to this expensive proposal. And I object to this not being made public to the people except 2 weeks prior to the vote, Seems to be a lot of smoke screen to make sure the people never really knew what was going on so they could be prepare to vote on an agenda and understand it. Who is going to pay for the transition.? Are you going to use seized drug money to pay for this and is this what this money is rightfully to be used for?
Dino McDonnell November 07, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Bret, you are the type of person who would vote someone without any police experience in office, but that will not happen now. The money is going to come from the downsizing of the current sheriff office. You Lose.
Bret Halfaker November 07, 2012 at 11:34 PM
I figured you had a stake in this, I have 2 members of my family that are cops, and I have several friends who are cops also, and no I would prefer an individual that has proven his salt when it comes to this job. This is not a job to be taken lightly. But I do take o fence to an oath keep the goes behind the peoples back and makes back room deals. What you have done, is broken your oath to protect and uphold the constitution of the United States of America. I believe that if push come to shove, and you were to up hold the Constitution of Mo and the people of this county, you would turn your back, and this is proof, by hiding from the people that what your intentions were. I always held the law enforcement people in high regard, but this makes me back up and reevaluate the situation. Its a shame that the people can't count on you because you are busy padding you own nest. SHAME ON YOU AND YOUR KIND!!!!! And yes I realize that just anybody can run for the office, but it is a shame that you have no confidence in the people who support you, and make your salary for you, I feel sorry for you and those like you. It truly is a crime that the law enforcement play dirty politics just for there own gain!!!!!
Dino McDonnell November 08, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Bret, the only stake I have was to vote and put a better police department on the streets of the county of St. Charles and not let some yahoo become the chief because of a political position. You are going to have to live with this decision by the majority St. Charles county.

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