Saturday, September 16, 2006

Mayor Making Moves To Fire Police Chief Swope

By Tony Brockmeyer

The First Capitol News has received information that St. Charles Mayor Patti York is apparently planning on firing Police Chief Tim Swope.

York recently vetoed a City Council bill that would give Chief Swope up to $11,000 a year for college tuition and would add an additional year on his contract as Police Chief. Sources at City Hall told the First Capitol News, although York was making an issue about the tuition, she was really against the additional year on his contract. York, who has announced her candidacy for an attempt at a third term as Mayor, has shown her dislike for Chief Swope. The City Council overrode her veto and authorized the tuition and the additional contract year for Chief Swope.

Chief Swope was appointed Chief of Police in March of 2005 after St. Charles was without a Chief for almost a year. The City Council wanted Major Robert G. Lowery Jr., the Commander of the Greater St. Louis Major Case Squad and Assistant Chief of Police in Florissant, appointed Chief of St. Charles. York refused to go along with Lowery’s appointment saying, “He is not the right fit.” York and her husband Lionel met with Lowery and tried to talk him into taking his name out of the running. Lowery was later appointed City Administrator of O’Fallon, Missouri.

Swope’s problems evidently began with York when he fired Sgt. Tommy Mayer who was the president of the Fraternal Order of Police. Mayer was fired in April of 2005 shortly after he ordered City Administrator Allan Williams from his vehicle on the parking lot of police headquarters at gun point and had him spread eagle on the ground. Mayer is a confidant of York and she has traveled the state for him speaking at FOP functions. At a City Council meeting she referred to Mayer as, “Missouri’s Top Cop.”

Prior to his firing, Mayer filed suit against the City, City Administrator and the 10 Councilmen for $101 million dollars. The suit was eventually settled for over $50,000, more than five times what the Council was authorizing for Chief Swope’s tuition. Prior to the suit being settled, York wrote a letter of recommendation to St. Louis Police Chief Joe Mokwa, telling Mokwa how wonderful Mayer was and she expected him to be successful in his suit against the City. Mayer is currently a St. Louis City police officer.

York’s son, Adrian York, a St. Louis police officer, has been telling people that Swope is history. He has said that his mother intends to fire Swope and if she can’t do it now, she will fire him after she is reelected Mayor. Adrian York was recently arrested and charged by Officers of the Missouri State Water Patrol for Boating While Intoxicated. The First Capitol News has learned that in a videotape of the arrest, York is being belligerent and abusive to the arresting officers and is heard telling them his Mother is the Mayor of St. Charles and will take care of it.

Swope also butted heads with York when an investigation was begun involving her daughter. Sources at police headquarters told the First Capitol News that several months ago a local heroin addict stole his parent’s checkbook and wrote checks to several of his friends forging his parent’s signatures on the checks. A police officer investigating the incident called the Mayor directly and allegedly told her of the incident and said that her daughter was not going to be involved in any reports. Several weeks later Chief Swope learned what happened and ordered an investigation into the incident. One of the checks was written to the Mayor’s daughter for $500, which she cashed.

Sources at City Hall told the First Capitol News that the Mayor was mad that Chief Swope had started an investigation into the recall efforts against City Councilwoman Dottie Greer and City Councilman Mark Brown. Our source told us that York ordered Swope to turn over the investigations to her and he refused making her angry. The St. Charles City Charter does not allow the Mayor to give direction to City employees. They are to receive direction from the City Administrator.

Our source told us shortly after York ordered the Chief to give her the recall investigation reports and he refused, she ordered him to provide her with a weekly activity report listing everyone he met with and his daily activities hour by hour. If the Chief has contact with any of the Council members on or off duty the Mayor requires that it must be recorded on his activity report.

Prior to Swope being appointed Chief the police department was thought to be pretty much under control of the Mayor and her Top Cop, Mayer. She allowed individual officers to report directly to her and allegedly gave them direction in direct violation of the City Charter.

Chief Swope also angered the Mayor when he reprimanded Officer Paul Jokerest and transferred him from a desk job in the station to street patrol. Swope took the action when it was discovered that Jokerest had been leaking privileged information to PR Guru Glennon Jamboretz another of the Mayor’s confidants. Jokerest was known to go directly to the Mayor’s office and meet with her while on duty bypassing the chain of command. Jokerest resigned from the department shortly after being transferred but has continued to write letters to the Council critical of Chief Swope.

Mayer, now a St. Louis officer, was quoted recently as saying that Swope would be gone as soon as the Mayor had an opportunity or when she was reelected.

Chief Swope is a 1984 graduate of St. Charles High School and attended college at Central Missouri State University on a baseball scholarship. He has three children and resides in St. Charles.

We contacted Chief Swope for his comments regarding this story but he declined to make any comments. We were unable to contact the Mayor prior to publication.

Many at City Hall believe that the Mayor would attempt to bring Tommy Mayer back as Chief of Police if she is successful in removing Swope and is reelected to a third term.