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New St. Louis Police Headquarters

July 26, 2014 Crime, Downtown, Featured 4 Comments

For the most part a police headquarters isn’t much different than any other office, so reusing a 1990 office building makes perfect sense. During the open house last Saturday I saw every floor of the new St. Louis Police headquarters, it seems like the space worked well for their needs.

2011 Photo
Vacant 1915 Olive in December 2010
Saturday morning before the ribbon cutting
Saturday morning before the ribbon cutting
The open house began while the festivities were still going on outside. We started at the top, 7th floor, and worked our way down floor by floor.
The open house began while the festivities were still going on outside. We started at the top, 7th floor, and worked our way down floor by floor.
The new office of Chief Sam Dotson
The new office of Chief Sam Dotson
View looking north on 19th Street from the 5th floor
View looking north on 19th Street from the 5th floor
The only clue this isn't most offices is the bank of holding cells and nearby interview rooms.
The only clue this isn’t most offices is the bank of holding cells and nearby interview rooms.

It’ll take a few weeks for police and civilian staff to get relocated into the new building. Hopefully having the long-vacant building occupied again will lead to nearby storefronts getting new businesses. The police are leaving their old headquarters built in 1927 because renovating it for their continued use would’ve cost considerably more. Besides, they couldn’t have stayed during renovations.

What will become of the old building?

— Steve Patterson


Poll: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Archbishop Robert Carlson?

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

St. Louis’ Catholic Archbishop, Robert Carlson, was the center of a controversy last week over his testimony in a tapped deposition:

In a letter released Friday night, Carlson said he “misunderstood” a series of questions when he said he was unsure if he was legally obligated to report sexual abuse to police. Carlson had been deposed for a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, where he was previously a bishop. Carlson had a role in handling claims against priests who were accused of sexually abusing children from 1979-1994. (KMOV)

The controversy continues this week.


In the deposition questions about mandatory reporting begin on page 84, it picks up again on pages 108-09. According to a question from one of the lawyers, mandatory reporting became the law in 1973. Carlson served as the Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis from 1983–1994, where he handled sex abuse claims.

The poll this week asks your favorably of Robert Carlson, the poll is at the top of the right sidebar.

— Steve Patterson


Poll: Thoughts on St. Louis County Sales Tax Pool

May 11, 2014 Crime, Featured 1 Comment
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

The City of St. Louis left St. Louis County in 1876 because it didn’t want to share its wealth with the rest of the county, now Chesterfield wants to do the same thing:

Frustrated by the lack of action by the state legislature on a proposed change to the St. Louis County sales tax distribution system that would let his and other cities keep more revenue generated within their boundaries, Chesterfield Mayor Bob Nation is threatening that his city may look at steps that include seceding from St. Louis County and joining St. Charles County. (stltoday)

Responding to the idea of Chesterfield switching counties, officials from both counties dismissed the idea. The article also explains the sales tax system:

The tax pool system was set up in 1977. Municipalities were either designated “point of sale” cities allowed to keep the revenue from the one-cent tax or “pool” cities drawing amounts from a common fund according to population. The pool also includes the county’s unincorporated areas.

Chesterfield was required to be a pool city when it incorporated in 1988. In 1993, the Legislature required point-of-sale cities to divert some of their money from the tax to the pool. Of the county’s 90 municipalities, 57 are pool cities. (stltoday)

More detail on the change 21 years ago:

The system was modified in 1993 to require point-of-sale cities to divert money to the pool. Many leaders of point-of-sale cities have called it a bad deal ever since. The system was intended as a compromise between municipalities with big shopping centers and those without, all of which have residents who go shopping. Richmond Heights, home to the Galleria, is a point-of-sale city. Florissant and University City are in the pool. (stltoday)

Chesterfield isn’t alone, mayors from other “point of sale” cities want to keep all/more of the revenue generated within their municipal boundaries. The poll this week seeks to find out what readers think, if anything, should be done to the current system. The poll is in the right sidebar.

— Steve Patterson



Poll: Thoughts on Former Alderman Kacie Starr Triplett’s Personal Use of Campaign Funds

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

Kacie Starr Triplett was elected 6th ward alderman in March 2007, after getting just over 50% of the votes in a 3-way primary for the Democratic nomination, there was no challenger in the April 3, 2007 general election.  Triplett, reelected in 2011, was the youngest elected official in city hall until her resignation in November 2012.  Many, myself included, thought she had a long future at city hall. Resigning to take a non-profit job so soon after being reelected seemed puzzling, but plausible. A month prior to her resignation news broke about the FBI looking into the finances of Jesse Jackson Jr.

Then in February 2014 her sudden resignation began to make sense:

A former St. Louis alderwoman has sent out a letter of apology, admitting to using campaign money for personal use.

Kacie Starr Triplett says her illegal use of campaign funds was done on a small-scale, but did not disclose the amount of money she used. NewsChannel 5 obtained a copy of the Missouri Ethics Commission court filing, which states she misused as much as $18,900. (KSDK)

See her February 27, 2014 email here. On Friday we learned some of the consequences she’ll face as a result of her actions and admissions:

A once-rising star in city politics avoids possible jail time but agrees to a stiff fine in a deal with the circuit attorney’s office.

The deal between Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce and Kacie Starr Triplett was signed on March 6th, but announced Friday only after Triplett made good on several payments.

In total Triplett has agreed to pay $22,000 in restitution, which that money will go to the St. Louis city public schools. (Fox2)

Jennifer Joyce, in an email reply, indicated the agreement is for 3 years, saying: “March of 2017 is when it will conclude.” Apparently she could also face a $100,000 fine from the Missouri Ethics Commission.

For the poll this week I want to know your reaction to her illegal use of campaign funds and the consequences, I’ve provided numerous answers but you can also add your own. Pick up to two.

— Steve Patterson


Three St. Louis Aldermen Will Sponsor a Marijuana Legalization Panel Discussion Monday 3/24 6-8pm

Entrance marker to Harris-Stowe State University. Compton and what was once Laclede Ave
Entrance marker to Harris-Stowe State University. Compton and what was once Laclede Ave

Last year the St. Louis Board of Aldermen reduced penalties for possession of small quantities of marijuana, see Reduction in marijuana penalties approved by St. Louis Board of Aldermen.  This year Colorado began allowing the legal sale of marijuana for recreational use, Washington state will do the same later this year.  New polls show a narrow majority of Americans support the legalization.  The debate comes to St. Louis Monday evening:

ST. LOUIS (AP) – The debate over legalization of marijuana will be the subject of an open forum in St. Louis later this month. Three members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen are hosting the forum the evening of March 24 at Harris-Stowe State University. The panel discussion will address the disproportionate number of marijuana arrests for African-Americans, the safety of the drug, and whether a marijuana tax would benefit government revenues. (KSDK)

With the legalization of marijuana being such a hot topic these days, Sixth Ward Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia will address various issues surrounding the debate during an open forum at Harris-Stowe State University, Monday, March 24, 2014, 6-8 p.m. in the Emerson Performance Center’s Bank of America Theatre. Held in collaboration with Alderman Chris Carter, 27th Ward, and Alderman Shane Cohn of the 25th Ward, the panel discussion will address how marijuana arrests disproportionally affect people of color; whether marijuana is safer than alcohol; how legalization would affect black market drug sales and whether a marijuana tax would benefit declining government revenues. (St. Louis American)

The history of the drug and how it became illegal is interesting, and a reflection of our racial fears:

The political upheaval in Mexico that culminated in the Revolution of 1910 led to a wave of Mexican immigration to states throughout the American Southwest. The prejudices and fears that greeted these peasant immigrants also extended to their traditional means of intoxication: smoking marijuana. Police officers in Texas claimed that marijuana incited violent crimes, aroused a “lust for blood,” and gave its users “superhuman strength.” Rumors spread that Mexicans were distributing this “killer weed” to unsuspecting American schoolchildren. Sailors and West Indian immigrants brought the practice of smoking marijuana to port cities along the Gulf of Mexico. In New Orleans newspaper articles associated the drug with African-Americans, jazz musicians, prostitutes, and underworld whites. “The Marijuana Menace,” as sketched by anti-drug campaigners, was personified by inferior races and social deviants. In 1914 El Paso, Texas, enacted perhaps the first U.S. ordinance banning the sale or possession of marijuana; by 1931 twenty-nine states had outlawed marijuana, usually with little fanfare or debate. Amid the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment fueled by the Great Depression, public officials from the Southwest and from Louisiana petitioned the Treasury Department to outlaw marijuana. Their efforts were aided by a lurid propaganda campaign. “Murder Weed Found Up and Down Coast,” one headline warned; “Deadly Marijuana Dope Plant Ready For Harvest That Means Enslavement of California Children.” Harry J. Anslinger, the commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, at first doubted the seriousness of the problem and the need for federal legislation, but soon he pursued the goal of a nationwide marijuana prohibition with enormous gusto. In public appearances and radio broadcasts Anslinger asserted that the use of this “evil weed” led to killings, sex crimes, and insanity. He wrote sensational magazine articles with titles like “Marijuana: Assassin of Youth.” (NPR – Reefer Madness)

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively banned marijuana & industrial hemp in the US, even though the drug had been used by doctors until then. In 1969 the US Supreme Court said the act was unconstitutional, see Leary v. United States. In 1970 congress passed the Controlled Substances Act, which listed marijuana among the most dangerous drugs. From the US DEA:

Schedule I Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote  Schedule II Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, less abuse potential than Schedule I drugs, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are: cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin Schedule III Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Schedule III drugs abuse potential is less than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs but more than Schedule IV. Some examples of Schedule III drugs are: Combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone Schedule IV Schedule IV drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Some examples of Schedule IV drugs are: Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien Schedule V Schedule V drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes. Some examples of Schedule V drugs are: cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolin

Yes, since 1970 marijuana has been listed as more dangerous than cocaine, methamphetamine, etc. For many marijuana does indeed have medical uses:

Pain is the main reason people ask for a prescription, says Barth Wilsey, MD, a pain medicine specialist at the University of California Davis Medical Center. It could be from headaches, a disease like cancer, or a long-term condition, like glaucoma or nerve pain. (webMD)

Some parents say medical marijuana stops severe seizures in their children, the reason a Missouri parent is fighting for medical marijuana here.

Again, the event is Monday 6-8pm at the Emerson Performance Center at Harris Stowe, see map.

— Steve Patterson





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