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New St. Louis police contract includes some take-home vehicles

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department squad cars sit at central patrol on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in St. Louis.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
The contract between the St. Louis Police Officers Association and the city raises officer pay and allows some to take police vehicles home.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officers Association’s new contract with the city allows some officers to take police vehicles home.

Officers who live in the city and have been on the force for at least five years would be eligible to use the vehicles, according to contract details released Friday. The contract includes raises ranging from 8% to 12% depending on an officer’s experience. The raises will be paid for out of the general fund.

The department will receive 69 vehicles this spring, and another 36 have been approved within the capital budget.

Details regarding how vehicles would be distributed will be handled within the police department, said Nick Desideri, a spokesperson for Mayor Tishaura Jones.

“It's about making sure the city is more competitive in hiring and retention of police officers while also showing that, hey, the city can run our own police force, and we need to keep it accountable and responsive to the neighborhood their officers serve,” Desideri said.

The contract comes as some Missouri legislators try to place the city’s police department under a state-appointed board of police commissioners. The new contract with the city would be voided if the state takes control of the department.

Raises will take effect July 1. Officers will also receive a one-time retention incentive of $3,000 and pay that will go toward education benefits. The contract requires officers hired after July 1 to take a physical ability test and receive $500. Officers who are already part of the force have the option to take the test for compensation.

“I know Chief [Robert] Tracy is working on a myriad of things to make sure that we're addressing the full scope of the challenges facing our police department,” Desideri said. ”Police departments across the country are facing a nationwide shortage of officers in a labor shortage across the board, and so this is one way we are helping to make ourselves more competitive in hiring and retention.”

St. Louis Police Officers Association officials said earlier this month that the agreement is a “meaningful step in the right direction” to help eliminate pay discrepancies between the city's force and the St. Louis County Police Department.

Chad is a general assignment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.