Representative files legislation to allow deputies to help offic -

Representative files legislation to allow deputies to help officers in St. Louis

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. ( – A Missouri state representative hoping to pass legislation that would allow additional sheriff’s deputies to help police in St. Louis.

Rep. Joshua Peters’ legislation would “allow 173 sworn deputies in the St. Louis City Sheriff’s Department to enforce the criminal laws of the state,” according to a press release.

“The fact of the matter is that the St. Louis City Police Chief wants an additional 160 police officers, and we have 173 deputy sheriffs who spend their time now transporting prisoners and providing courthouse security. The people of St. Louis are already footing the bill for these individuals who can and should be asked to do more to help keep the peace in our city,” said Peters.

The bill also supported by St. Louis Alderman Joe Vaccaro, saying it will allow police to focus more on serious crimes.

“The more presence we have out on the street, it will reduce , not only might , it will reduce crime,” he says.

The legislation would require the deputies to receive the same training as peace officers.

However, some in law enforcement do not agree with the legislation.

A spokesman of the St. Louis City Police Officers Association doesn't think the bill is a good idea, saying it would slow down the legal system.

“Let’s say the sheriff's deputies in the city were actually trained and had all the experience and the skills our guys on the streets employ everyday to move them out of the court house and put them on the street would bring the court system to a grinding halt,” says Jeff Roorda with SLPOA.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson doesn't believe the bill addresses the real problem of violent crime. He and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay support adding 160 new officers to the police force. Roorda also said the amount spent on training the deputies would be just as expensive as hiring new officers.

The St. Louis Sheriff's Department is opposed to the plan too, saying the plan would require more than $3 million in training that would take deputies away from their current duties.

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