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Best Scandal 

Bel-Ridge Police

It's been a good year for scandal. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration makes Andrew Chambers of University City the nation's best-paid snitch, despite a history of arrests and lying in court. Post-Dispatch sports columnist Kathleen Nelson steals quotes from the Associated Press and, perhaps worse, receives nothing more than a don't-do-it-again lecture from her bosses. Laumeier Sculpture Park director Beej Nierengarten-Smith stands accused of having her personal art collection appraised and shipped to New Mexico at public expense. But nothing tops the Bel-Ridge police, who for years switched a flashing yellow light to red at the last possible second in order to cite countless innocent motorists for failure to stop. You've got to hand it to the cops, though. When caught red-(light)-handed -- a state highway official saw them do it -- Bel-Ridge police and their accomplices in municipal court did what every defense lawyer tells his or her client to do when busted: They denied everything, then exercised their right to remain silent by denying journalists access to traffic-court records.

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