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The Future Role of St. Louis Sheriff’s Deputies

Prisoner transport vehicle
Prisoner transport vehicle

In counties all across America the Sheriff is the law — think Andy Taylor.

Where county/municipal police police exist the elected sheriff typically is limited to the courts. As counties grow, the question is often if a county police department should be created. In 2012 Sr. Charles County did just that — effective January 1, 2015:

“The public, when they wake up January 1st, they will still have the same professional men and women doing the job they had the day before,” said Chief Dave Todd, who was sworn in Tuesday with his command staff and some other officers.

Most sheriff’s department employees are simply shifting into police posts — including Todd, who has worked in the department 37 years, the last 17 as a captain.

The change, set in motion by a county charter amendment narrowly approved by voters in 2012, mainly amounts to putting policing under an appointed chief with predetermined professional experience and educational requirements.

The sheriff remains elected and will be in charge of court security, transporting prisoners and serving subpoenas and some other documents in civil court cases. The county elected its first sheriff in 1816. (Post-Dispatch)

Not surprising, the National Sheriffs’ Association doesn’t like the idea of creating a police force headed by an appointed person rather than elected by the people.

For example:

The argument that creating a county police force will save the taxpayer money is on its very face absurd. To accept this notion requires one to ignore some basic “truths”.

First, the creation of a county police force does not mean an end to the sheriff’s office. Indeed, the county must continue to fund the sheriff’s office, which still must serve as an arm of the courts for security and service of court papers. If the sheriff runs the jail, this responsibility remains within his office, so long as he wishes to retain it. Therefore, funding of the sheriff’s office will continue.

Second, the creation of a county police force will mean new expenditures – some on a one-time basis and others reoccurring. New cars, new uniforms, new office space, new personnel, i.e. a new chief, deputy chief and command staff, as well as new road officers. It is foolish to think that all these people can or will be drawn from existing sheriff’s personnel.

Third, who will handle communications? There could easily be two communications systems, one for the sheriff’s office and another for the county police.

In short, there can be no savings to the taxpayers by dividing the duties of the sheriff’s office and creating a county police. Savings usually come from consolidation of agencies and efforts, not from the opposite, and even then such savings are small if realized at all. (County Police v. the Elected Sheriff)

The issues are slightly different when you’ve had both a police department and a sheriff’s office since 1861. For those unfamiliar, the City of St. Louis was located within St. Louis County until the Great Divorce in 1876.  St. Louis became a city-county with both municipal and county offices — including sheriff.

Now we have a candidate for sheriff that wants deputies to be able to do more — traffic stops, for example. If the deputies have time be out stopping motorists then perhaps there should be fewer deputies — with the savings going to have more police officers.

But I seem to disagree with most readers. In the Sunday Poll 58.34% agreed with the candidate while 35% of us disagreed.

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis sheriff’s deputies should be able to execute traffic stops

  • Strongly agree 21 [35%]
  • Agree 10 [16.67%]
  • Somewhat agree 4 [6.67%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [5%]
  • Somewhat disagree 2 [3.33%]
  • Disagree 7 [11.67%]
  • Strongly disagree 12 [20%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [1.67%]

Don’t get me wrong — in the 25+ years I’ve lived in St. Louis the sheriff has been the same guy: James Murphy. I can’t vote for him, but I also can’t vote for the guy who wants to grow a patronage office.

— Steve Patterson


Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Sheriff’s Deputies Be Able To Perform Traffic Stops?

Please vote below
Please vote below

One candidate running for St. Louis Sheriff wants deputies to be able to do traffic stops, to ease the workload on St. Louis Police:

Right now the main task for the 180 sheriff’s deputies in St. Louis is to transport prisoners to and from jail and provide security at courthouses. Vaccaro says having sheriff’s deputies execute traffic stops will free up time for St. Louis police officers to respond and investigate crimes. (KMOV)

To me this seemed like a perfect topic for a non-scientific reader poll:

The poll is open until 8pm.

— Steve Patterson


Readers Support St. Louis County’s New Minimum Police Standards

December 23, 2015 Crime, St. Louis County Comments Off on Readers Support St. Louis County’s New Minimum Police Standards

I’ll start this post with opinion from the Post-Dispatch’s Tony Messenger: Cities look foolish fighting against higher police standards:

It’s amazing, when you think about it, that 12 cities in St. Louis County are seeking to stop the ordinance. If they win, lower standards win out, too. If you live in Webster Groves or Clayton or Florissant or Hazelwood, or Kirkwood or Edmundson, your city is spending your tax money defending their right to have sub-standard police departments.

Why would they do this?

It goes back to the passage of Senate Bill 5 (also being challenged in court by multiple municipalities), which reduced the amount of traffic revenue cities could depend upon to fund their coffers. If you haven’t been hibernating since Aug. 9, 2014, you recognize this has been the strongest, and most unified across the political spectrum, response to the protests and unrest in Ferguson after the death of Michael Brown.

Messenger is right, these municipalities don’t want change from the status quo. They know change could lead to them no longer existing. St. Louis County isn’t big enough in land area or population for 90 municipalities and 57 police departments.

More than 70% of those who voted in the unscientific Sunday Poll support the new standards:

Q: St. Louis County has issued new minimum police standards, but some of the 57 police departments object. Do you support or oppose county-wide minimum standards?

  • Strongly support 12 [44.44%]
  • Support 5 [18.52%]
  • Somewhat support 2 [7.41%]
  • Neither support or oppose 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat oppose 1 [3.7%]
  • Oppose 1 [3.7%]
  • Strongly oppose 2 [7.41%]
  • Unsure/no answer 4 [14.81%]

Change isn’t going to come easily, quickly, or quietly.

— Steve Patterson


Sunday Poll: Support or Oppose New St. Louis County Minimum Police Standards?

Twelve of the 90 municipalities in St. Louis County don’t like the county’s new minimum police standards, see Dozen municipalities file formal challenge to St. Louis County police standards ordinance. There are 57 police departments in St. Louis County. A good topic for today’s poll.

Please vote below
Please vote below

Usually I randomize the poll but someone suggested on polls with a logical order that they be presented as such, so this week everyone will see the answers in the same order. As always, the poll closes at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson


The Volkswagen Group Wanted To Be The World’s Biggest Carmaker, Cheated In Attempting To Reach Goal

I’m fascinated by Volkswagen’s emissions-rigging scheme — writing software to make diesel cars perform differently while being tested vs. driven. Why would they do this?

To make sense of it we need to go back to 2007 for the planned introduction of new Volkswagen TDI engine for the 2008 model year:

Amid the looming hordes of European luxury automakers planning a North American compression-ignition invasion in the next couple years, humble Volkswagen has announced its plans to return the Jetta TDI to the diesel dogpile in the spring of 2008. Powered by a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, and either a six-speed manual or DSG automated manual transmission, the 2008 Jetta TDI will be cleared for sale in all fifty states.

Some of the earlier diesels to make it to our shores over the next few years will only be available in 45 states; California, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont have all adopted stricter emissions regulations for diesels that bar some vehicles from entry. Using technology developed under the BlueTec cooperative formed by Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, the Jetta TDI will slip by these stricter regulations without resorting to a urea-based exhaust treatment, as many BlueTec labeled models will.

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are, along with particulate emissions (soot), the biggest hurdles facing diesels in the U.S. Most BlueTec vehicles will control NOx by injecting a urea-based solution called AdBlue into the exhaust system upstream of a catalytic converter that specifically targets NOx. In that catalytic converter, the ammonia in the urea reacts with the NOx in the exhaust gas and neutralizes it into nitrogen and water.

Volkswagen’s Jetta TDI will manage without a urea injection system by using a NOx-storage catalyst. Like the particulate filters in place on this car as well as other diesels, this catalyst is basically a trap that temporarily holds the offensive emissions. Periodically, the engine will switch to an air-fuel mixture that will burn off the material in the traps.

(Car & Driver February 2007)

Delayed a year, this new 2.0 TDI didn’t debut until the 2009 model year. The previous 1.9 TDI engine was sluggish and didn’t meet newer emissions standards — Volkswagen had no 4-cylindar diesel engine for U.S. models during the 2007 & 2008 model years.

From 2005 to 2006, the Jetta TDI is powered by a 1.9-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine (TDI stands for Turbo Direct Injection) good for 100 horsepower, but a healthy 177 pounds-feet of torque. Remember, torque is a rotational force required to get a car moving, so the more torque an engine has, the quicker it can move a car either from a standing stop or when overtaking slower traffic. 2009 and newer Jettas feature an all-new 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine with VW’s “clean diesel” technology. The clean diesel features particulate filters and other devices for removing diesel soot and order from the exhaust, as well as a system for reducing emissions. The 2.0-liter TDI produces 140 horsepower and whopping 236 pounds-feet of torque. While the 1.9-liter engine can best be described as peppy, the 2.0-liter TDI is down right quick. Rocketing out of a tollbooth or merging onto the freeway is a snap for the 2.0-liter TDI, which feels more like the GTI’s 200-horsepower turbocharged gas engine than a powerplant designed for maximum mileage. (AutoTrader August 2011)

The new 2.0 TDI engine was able to meet stricter worldwide emissions standards without using an urea injection to clean the exhaust — brilliant engineering, or so we thought. Every other diesel required urea injection, which had to be refilled about every 10,000 miles. When Mercedes BlueTEC diesels run out of urea you can start it only 20 more times before refilling it (TheCarConnection).

Over the years since the new 2.0 TDI engine was introduced the automotive press raved about it, and consumers bought more and more. After all, the performance was outstanding and the real world MPG exceeded EPA estimates. As we’ve learned, their urea injection-free diesel didn’t meet emissions standards. Their “CleanDiesel” wasn’t clean at all.

Visitors to the 2011 St. Louis Auto Show check out a Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI
Visitors to the 2011 St. Louis Auto Show check out a Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI

Sales of their diesels broke records:

VW Group of America has had great success with diesels in the US recently. Vee-Dub and Audi sold 105,899 diesel-equipped models in 2013. It was the first time the group ever sold over 100,000 diesels in a year, and they accounted for 24 percent of sales. (AutoBlog)

At the Chicago Auto Show in February we saw the newest SportWagen TDI — now a Golf — with a new TDI engine.

The 2016 Golf SportWagen TDI om display at the Chicago Auto Show. The new TDI engine in this 2016 model is equipped with urea injection to clean the exhaust.
The 2016 Golf SportWagen TDI om display at the Chicago Auto Show. The new TDI engine in this 2016 model is equipped with urea injection to clean the exhaust. However, VW has decided to pull all diesels from US showrooms for 2016.

Volkswagen had a stated goal of becoming the biggest car maker in the world, and for the first six months of 2015 they were:

Volkswagen (VLKAF) sold 5.04 million vehicles from January to June, a slight dip from a year earlier. That compares to 5.02 million sold by Toyota (TM) over the same period. Group sales dropped 1.5% due to a weaker performance by its Toyota and Daihatsu brands. (CNN/Money)

Many were expecting a close race between Toyota and the Volkswagen Group for top honors for 2015, now Toyota will locket retain the crown as Volkswagen deals with the fallout. My friends who own these polluting diesels are furious they were deceived. I’m furious millions of these cars have been polluting the environment while billed as eco-friendly clean cars.

— Steve Patterson






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