“BACK IN CONTROL” (PROPOSITION A, 2012)
Some stories are told over and over again, for decades. But just because a story is familiar, that doesn’t mean it is right. When an outdated law harms the way our city functions, it’s time to step in and change the narrative.
In 2012, our team ran the campaign for Proposition A, a statewide ballot initiative that would return control of the St. Louis Police Department to the city and the people of St. Louis. Up until the successful passage of Prop A, the St. Louis Police Department was controlled by the state. This law was an ugly vestige of the Civil War, when Confederate sympathizers in Jefferson City (including Governor Claiborne Jackson) didn’t want St. Louis – which supported the Union – to have authority over its police force and its arsenal.
When a story is rooted in such a dark time in American history, we cannot support its continued telling. Over an intensive yearlong campaign, our outreach team met with thousands of people throughout the entire state. We shared the story of how the law originated and asked for help in shifting this unjust narrative.
People listened. They talked to friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. Soon, we had a coalition that was notable not just for its size but for its diversity. Democrats and Republicans, business owners and labor leaders, rural residents and city dwellers came together to support the return of police control to the City of St. Louis.
On November 6, 2012, we closed the book on that Civil War-era law. Proposition A passed by an overwhelming majority (63%), bolstered by the support of our grassroots coalition and by positive op-eds from nearly every newspaper in the state of Missouri. Today, the people and the City of St. Louis control their own police department – increasing efficiency, lowering cost, and improving accountability.
The old, Civil War-era narrative is no longer being told. A new story has begun.