UNIVERSITY CITY, MO – Weeks after their workplace was condemned, University City police officers are asking a judge to remove them from the building immediately.
The union representing most U-City police officers filed a petition for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. In its petition, the union states that officers “are suffering and will continue to suffer irreparable harm” due to “lack of action.”
Attorney Greg Kloeppel represents the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 15. He said University City leaders have not acted with urgency on the building, which was condemned February 16.
“There are a ton of health issues at stake at this time,” Kloeppel said. He said at least two workers are on medical leave due to respiratory problems.
The union sent a letter to the city February 29, demanding immediate removal of the officers from the police department annex, which has been determined to have a variety of problems, including mold, asbestos, mildew, and electrical hazards.
The petition filed by the FOP Lodge 15 indicates that University City responded to the letter, asking for more time as it awaited test results.
In recent weeks, City Manager Lehman Walker told FOX 2 that it has taken a number of steps to remediate the problem conditions, including mold removal, ductwork cleaning, and tuckpointing.
Monday evening, the U-City City Council approved nearly $2 million to take further action on those issues.
But the action will not make any difference, Kloeppel said.
“They had a substantial amount of time to address these issues. They have failed to do so. Too little too late,” Kloeppel said. We know all about mold. But rats crawling on your leg, while you’re at your desk? It’s a substantial health risk to all our membership. And that’s why we’re asking the court for immediate injunctive relief to have them vacated from that building.”
A hearing has been set in St. Louis County court for later this week.
A measure to provide funding for a new police facility was removed from Monday night’s city council meeting.