St. Louis city wants to cut firefighters' pension costs to save police jobs

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by Lindsay Bramson / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on June 12, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 13 at 12:22 AM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- The city of St. Louis says it plans to reduce the number of police layoffs as residents deal with a spike in crime. The announcement comes just months after city officials said they were going to have to cut as many as 80 police officers.

Mayor Francis Slay’s Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford says cutting dozens of police officers due to a budget shortfall is not the solution.

“Having enough police officers and prosecutors to keep this city safe and to remove dangerous criminals from our streets is our number one priority, so thats the priority we’ve identified with the money,” said Rainford.

After recent shootings and a spike in crime on Washington Avenue, extra officers have been out on the streets for the past two weekends.

Rainford says the city wants to bring firefighters’ pension costs down in order to save police officers jobs.

“And what we’re saying is lets take a portion of that money and invest it in more police officers and eventually we may invest even more of that money in police officers as time goes by,” said Rainford

And the city says the way to do that is to take away $8 million from the firefighters’ retirement pension. That money will not only save jobs, but can also hire more than 300 police officers.

“But as we are able to hopefully bring pension costs down, we certainly wanna keep putting as many police officers on the streets as possible because that’s our number one job and we take it seriously every day,” he said.

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