VII. Marshal Powers and Duties

Parenthetical numbers in the text refer to sections of the current Revised Statutes of Missouri, abbreviated as RSMo.
Selection and eligibility

Following approval by a majority of the voters, the board of aldermen may provide for the appointment of a police chief. If it doesn't, a city marshal shall be elected to a four-year term. The police chief or marshal may also be collector or a separate individual may be selected as collector (79.050). Chapter 79.050 also provides that "the marshal or chief of police shall be twenty-one years of age or older." Chapter 79.230 provides that the marshal may be appointed street commissioner.

The requirements for law enforcement training for fourth-class cities were significantly changed in 2001, when the Missouri General Assembly rewrote the law enforcement training rules (Ch. 590).

  • First, the new rules state that any person who has the power of arrest is a peace officer (590.010 (3)).
  • Second, any peace officer must hold a valid peace officer license (590.020 (1)).
  • Third, this license requires at least 470 hours of law enforcement training (590.040 (1)). The same statute provides that the Police Officers Standards and Training Commission (POST) may set this minimum as high as 600 hours with certain exceptions.

Exceptions to the licensing and training requirements — that once existed for communities with fewer than 2,000 people or for departments with fewer than five officers — have been repealed. However, officers commissioned under small community rules prior to Aug. 28, 2001, with continuous service since or those continuously commissioned since Dec. 31, 1978, may continue to serve (590.020 [4][6]).

Statutes for fourth-class cities still specify that the marshal shall have 120 hours of training. Training may be during the first six months of employment. The POST rules render these provisions inapplicable.

The POST training is financed by a training charge on citations issued by trained officers (590.178).

To issue or accept a peace officer commission without proper training is a Class B misdemeanor (590.195 (1) [2] [3]).


The marshal or police chief and all officers he or she oversees are charged with enforcing the ordinances in force in the city. In addition, they are charged with enforcing state law within the city limits. Unless officers have been deputized by their county sheriff, which many are, their power to enforce normally stops at the city's limits (85.610).

Arrest powers

The marshal and officers may make arrests on warrants, sworn complaints or when an offense is committed or attempted in the officer's presence. This includes ordinance violations and violations of state law (85.610). Citations issued by city officers are heard in the city's municipal court for ordinance violations and the associate circuit court for state law violations (See VIII: Municipal Court).