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St. Louis Post-Dispatch: St. Louis County police groups back proposed whistleblower ballot measure

CLAYTON — Council Chair Rita Heard Days said Monday she expected to send a whistleblower protection bill vetoed by County Executive Sam Page to voters, as two key police officers’ organizations both said they support the measure.

Days first proposed the legislation last year, arguing it would stop discrimination or retaliatory behavior against county employees reporting misconduct, citing a slew of lawsuits that included several high-profile cases originating in the police department.

But Councilwoman Lisa Clancy, D-5th District, argued the bill won’t meet that goal in its current form because it doesn’t specify that it applies to the county’s police force, which is overseen by the Board of Police Commissioners, an independent five-member panel appointed by the executive.

Whistleblower complaints for merit employees are reported to the Civil Service Commission.

“It’s innocuous at this point unless the police are explicitly named,” Clancy said. “What she leaves out is the bigger piece which is about what police officers do if they have complaints. It is not clear which body they go to, it is not clear that this is implementable by the police department, which renders it useless.”