For Shaw neighborhood, private security presence is welcome, nothing new
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- The police officer who shot Vonderrit Myers, Jr. was off-duty, working for a private security firm called Hi-Tek Security Services.
The presence of private security is nothing new in several St. Louis communities, including the Shaw neighborhood, where Wednesday night's fatal shooting took place. It’s a security presence that makes residents feel safe.
“I can come and go safely on my own,” said Nicole McCormack, owner of Restituo, a coffee shop in the Shaw neighborhood. “I often see all of my neighbors out-and-about at all hours too.”
McCormack said police are doing a good job in the neighborhood, but she also knows private security officers are on the job as well.
The Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association says Flora Place has its own community improvement district and has hired security officers to patrol Flora Boulevard.
Those private officers may drive around the block using other streets in the neighborhood, and that is nothing new.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said officers are allowed to work private security on their own time and even though they are off the clock with the city, they are police officers around-the-clock.
"They are well-trained; they have the skills and they have the arrest powers," Dotson said. "So that's why individuals hire police officers for those types of activities. it's not unusual and not dissimilar to any city around the country"
Overall in the Shaw neighborhood, crime is down in nearly every category including assaults, robberies and burglaries when comparing January through September of 2013 to the same period this year.