The Missouri state police are an independent agency, but they do have an arm’s-length relationship with the police department.
When the Missouri legislature enacted the Missouri Independence Act of 2013, it created an independent commission that was charged with reviewing the independence of the state police.
The commission was initially appointed by the governor.
In November 2016, the commission found the department’s independence was inadequate.
The commission said it recommended that the governor terminate the department and that he use his discretion to appoint a replacement.
That person would be chosen by the chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, the governor’s chief legal counsel, the chief judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Missouri, and the governor and attorney general of Missouri.
The attorney general, who is now the state’s attorney general in the Trump administration, has said he plans to appoint his own replacement.
In a statement announcing the commission’s recommendations, the Missouri Department of Justice said the commission is the “first step toward achieving full independence” of the police force.
“We believe the state should take action to establish a full-fledged independent agency that will oversee the police service and provide for the protection of the people of Missouri,” the department said.
The police department has been plagued by scandal and dysfunction since a 2014 investigation found the police use of excessive force and misconduct, including the use of an armored car, and had a poor record in community relations.