Claycomo police directed to abide by new rules

CLAYCOMO, Mo. - Claycomo police are following a new set of rules created by the village board, not the police chief.

This list 41 Action News obtained includes requiring officers not to self-initiate traffic stops, stay within the village and "not look for trouble."

In total, the list outlines 13 items some would say are common sense while others argue they make no sense at all.

"It's sad to micromanage the police department and tell them you can't do your job that's what they are doing," board member Jim Stoufer said.

Stoufer, a 20-year board member, was not one of the three members who signed off on the list which includes:

- Not allowing officers to leave the village even though they have agreements with surrounding cities to assist when needed

- Be present at late night businesses at closing times

- Not self-initiating traffic stops

"The self-initiate is probably the number one most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," he said.

Board member Linda Powell spearheaded the directive and argues this is a list of suggestions.

The taxpayers in this town are paying for you to patrol this town not the surrounding areas," she said. "We did not want to vote this in the ordinance; we did not want to vote this into a law of any kind."

Police Chief Stephen Coonce told 41 Action News he isn't going to comment, but he did say the department is going to follow the directive.

"If you take away an officer's right to be on the street and choose what he needs to do to protect the people he protects and to serve the residents, why even have a cop?" Stoufer questioned.

Powell argues they're not trying to do anything underhanded, but just trying to do what's best for the community.

"There are things on the list that we don't necessarily agree with, but on the other hand the whole list is meant as a guideline, not carved in stone," board member Ben Watkins said.

Powell also said if the police chief wants to change this list or give the board his own list, they will listen because she said the list is not the law.

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