MISSOURI, (Missourinet).– The mayors of Missouri’s four largest cities and Governor Mike Parson outlined their top priorities for battling violent crime in Jefferson City on Monday.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Springfield Mayor Ken McClure, Columbia Mayor Brian Treece and their four respective police chiefs met with Governor Parson behind closed doors at the Statehouse.
The governor and mayors briefed the Capitol Press Corps after the meeting, inside the governor’s office.
Springfield Mayor McClure says their top three priorities are witness protection and relocation, mental health treatment and keeping guns out of the hands of those under 18. Krewson says protecting witnesses is key to solving more crimes and obtaining more convictions.
Governor Parson also says the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s “surge” on St. Louis interstates is taking criminals and guns off the streets. In response to a question from Missourinet, the governor says the Patrol has made about 300 arrests since the operation began a month ago.
“So the important thing to take out of that (300 arrests), we are getting people off the streets,” Parson says. “And that’s just counting what we (state troopers) did, that’s still not counting what the cities are doing everyday up there. But all of that helps.”
The arrests announced by the governor also don’t include this month’s massive federal special operation called “Operation Triple Beam”, where 69 alleged St. Louis-area gang members were arrested. 16 of those arrests were for murder-related warrants.
Mayor Krewson tells Missourinet she “begged” the governor to send troopers to St. Louis, and praises his response.
“I drive on Highway 70 regularly and I always see one, two maybe three Highway Patrol officers out there, trying to make a difference on our highways,” says Krewson.
She says the operation has been successful, adding that some of the 300 arrests during the surge involve guns and drugs.
The governor also discussed the importance of education and workforce development during the meeting, along with battling poverty.
Parson also says he’s open to the idea of Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s (R) call for lawmakers to approve a statewide carjacking statute.
Schmitt told reporters last week that there have been 305 carjacking incidents in the St. Louis metro area this year. Schmitt notes there is currently no uniform charge for carjacking, adding that the new statute would bring clarity to charging and sentencing carjackings.
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