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Politically Speaking: Ray Price On Challenges Ahead For St. Louis County's Police Board

Former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ray Price
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
Former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ray Price poses for a portrait in the St. Louis Public Radio studios.

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ray Price talks with St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum about his legal career and his new role as chairman of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page appointed Price to the board that oversees the police department this fall. Page has now appointed four of the five members — and could replace former county executive Steve Stenger’s final appointee at any time.

Here’s what Price talked about during the show:

  • Price explained the pressures and responsibilities of serving on the Missouri Supreme Court. He also recounted his dissent in a case involving congressional redistricting in which he used the word "shenanigan" in his concluding sentence.
  • He praised the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan, the system used to select people to serve on the Supreme Court. He also discussed what can be done to encourage more women and racial minorities to apply to judgeships.
  • Price reiterated that he was not ready to make a decision on whether St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar should keep his job. The Board of Police Commissioners has the power to hire and fire a police chief — and Belmar has been under fire over Sgt. Keith Wildhaber’s $20 million discrimination suit victory.
  • He also talked about changes he may make to the police board, including potentially scheduling meetings at different times and locations around St. Louis County.

This is Price’s second stint on a board overseeing a police department. Before becoming a judge, Price was a member of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners. He said he learned a lot from that experience about what to do and what not to do when fighting crime.
In 1992, then-Gov. John Ashcroft appointed Price to the Missouri Supreme Court. He served on the court for 20 years, and was only the fourth judge in Missouri history to have two terms as chief justice. He penned more than 300 opinions during his tenure.

Price retired from the court in 2012. He moved to St. Louis and became a partner at the Armstrong Teasdale law firm. 

Politically Speaking

The podcast is sponsored by the St. Louis-based law firm of Capes Sokol

Follow Julie O’Donoghue on Twitter: @jsodonoghue

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Music: “Counting Blue Cars” by Dishwalla

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Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.