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Mokwa demotes officers, doesn't fire them

Police Chief Joe Mokwa (UPI file photo)
Police Chief Joe Mokwa (UPI file photo)

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – St. Louis Police Chief Joe Mokwa on Wednesday called for suspensions and demotions for the eight city officers who gave seized World Series tickets to family and friends.

The officers in questions could have been fired. But instead, Chief Mokwa is suspending the officers without pay for two weeks and is recommending the Police Board reduce their rank for no less than one year.

Kevin Ahlbrand with the St. Louis Police Officers Association says he's glad the officers were not fired, but the penalties are still quite stiff.

"Lets not kid ourselves here, the punishment that was received is extremely harsh," Ahlbrand said. "These officers will be taking a significant cut in pay." That could cost high ranking officers as much as much $20,000.

Ahlbrand adds the union will not appeal the discipline.

All department members involved in the situation will be transferred out of vice and narcotics.

Mokwa says he believes the officers can be redeemed. "I don't believe they're thieves," Mokwa said Wednesday. "I think they made a mistake. I think they got caught up in the revelry of the ballpark.

"That's no excuse, but at the end of the day I believe this department is better off and the community is better off with officers in department."

Seven others will be disciplined over failing to follow internal procedures and failure to supervise. And, Mokwa says the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's office will review the matter to recommend if any criminal charges should be filed.

Mokwa also said Wednesday his decision was not influenced by the police union: "This decision was made by me in the middle of the night over several periods when my gut had to make a decision and as police chief with 37 years of experience.

"All I can tell you is the I believe this is fair and reasonable."