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Rock Hill Pursuing Efforts Toward New Police Force

May 21, 2004
Over 100 Rock Hill residents crowded into city hall Tuesday night demanding answers to rumors that the city was losing its police force.

While Rock Hill Mayor Robert Salamone would neither deny or confirm the rumors, down Manchester Road in Warson Woods, its board of aldermen was approving a contract to offer Rock Hill police protection for three years with a two-year renewal option.

"The (Warson Woods) board of aldermen approved for me and the police chief to sit down with the Rock Hill people and negotiate a contract if they're interested," Warson Woods Mayor E. William Bergfeld Jr. told the Times.

Brentwood Mayor Pat Kelley also told the Times that Rock Hill Mayor Robert Salamone had approached him about taking over police and fire for the city.

"As an elected official, I'm stymied by what is happening in Rock Hill," Kelley said. He said he first became aware of the situation when residents started calling him about these rumors.

Brentwood performs the police dispatching for Rock Hill.

Kelley said he met with Salamone and Don Cary, Rock Hill's chief financial officer.

"He asked us to give him a proposal for taking over the police and fire department. He said in five years they would be out of money if they didn't do this," Kelley said.

Glendale City Administrator Mike Pounds also confirmed that his city had been approached by Salamone about this matter.

At the Rock Hill meeting, in response to a citizen's inquiry, Mayor Robert Salamone said the board would not discuss the police and fire issue..

"I am going to ask the board to pass a motion tonight that there will be no decision tonight or May 26 until the citizens have input," Salamone said.

He added that the board would have another public session in June to discuss the recommendations.

One resident told the mayor that citizens were concerned about not having a police department. "We don't need this done behind closed doors," the resident said.

Salamone answered, "There was no closed door session."

"What about our property values?" another resident asked. "Don't take our police department away!"

Who said we were taking our police department away other than a rumor?" answered Salamone.

Brentwood Mayor Kelley attended the Tuesday night meeting at Salamone's request.

"He said he wanted to present this to his board," Kelley noted. "Personally I feel that the only reason the municipalities were contacted was because word got out that he had already had meetings with St. Louis County, and that St. Louis County had a proposal for them.

"In our meeting, he told us he had already had four meetings with St. Louis County," Kelley said.

The Rock Hill Board of Aldermen is holding a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, May 26, 7 p.m. at Steger Sixth Grade Center, 701 N. Rock Hill Road.

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