Two Quick Hits Out of the Post-Dispatch
Mayor Francis Slay is once again talking about St. Louis city and county once again considering the idea of reuniting in various capacities. I totally support the readmission of the city into the county, where it would be the 92nd, and largest, municipality. This would have two primary results, in my opinion: lower taxes in the county and fewer employees on the public payroll in the city. Both of those are, obviously, very good things to me. For a bit more detail, check out this op-ed on the issue.
Also in the Post, the county police chief is concerned about police officers within the county being properly licensed. Now, as regular readers know, I hate occupational licensing, but police work is one of the exceptions for me. Doctors (including dentists), cops, and (most) nurses are the main exceptions on my list to keep full licensure. Lawyers, accountants, and some other medical professions could keep some of it, too, but at a reduced level of licensing. (Lawyers should be licensed more like CPAs. Basically, if you can pass the test — in this case, the bar — you are in.) But back to the police.
I don’t necessarily think licensing agencies instead of individual police is the answer, but I’m not sure. If agencies are licensed, rather than the police themselves, that might reduce the ability of individual police to market themselves and change jobs. Also, if the citizens of small municipalities want to get rid of their own police forces, they are fully capable of doing that now via contracting out the service or disincorporation. As much as I would like to see many of those cities do just that, I don’t support forcing them if their citizens don’t want to. I admit I need to research this issue more, but at first review I don’t see positive change coming from just changing the licensing system.