Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Interim Pollice Chief to Study Options

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Interim Pollice Chief to Study Options

Article excerpt

Cottleville, which has been without a police department for a month, hired an interim police chief last week. One of his first jobs will be to advise whether Cottleville should return to having its own department or sign a contract with the county sheriff's department for police protection.

The new chief is Dennis Faulkenberry, 51, of St. Charles County. He made headlines two years ago when he and other officers were fired by O'Fallon for failing to meet the police department's physical-fitness requirements.

But Cottleville Mayor Steve Kochanski said Friday, "We're not tapping him to run the mile in 4.10. We're tapping into his knowledge and expertise."

Faulkenberry was given a three-month contract for which he will be paid about $7,750.

Kochanski said Faulkenberry would assess the former police department and the needs of the growing city.

The police department at one time had nine full-time officers. Several were fired earlier this fall, and others quit mainly because of low pay and a lack of equipment.

Although the last of the officers turned in their badges Nov. 6, Kochanski said three had said they would be willing to return to work. Since then, the sheriff's department has been on call for emergencies.

Kochanski said many residents wanted their own police department with officers on duty around the clock seven days a week. But he said no one wanted to pay for that service.

Cottleville has about $200,000 a year in operating revenue.

Faulkenberry will study whether such service is needed and how best to pay for it. He said he would look into state and federal grants.

Faulkenberry has indicated that he thinks Cottleville should have its own department. He said Thursday night he hoped to have new officers on the job as early as January.

Faulkenberry was fired by O'Fallon in 1993. He, along with other officers who were fired, sued in federal court. In July, a jury said O'Fallon should pay one of the other officers $765,000. The judge in that case has yet to act on the jury's recommendation. Faulkenberry's case is set to be heard in federal court in St. Louis the first week of January, says his attorney, Rick Barry. …

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