First person graduates from St. Louis County Veteran's Court - KMOV.com

First person graduates from St. Louis County Veteran's Court

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Connie King is the first graduate of the St. Louis County Veteran's Court. (Credit: KMOV) Connie King is the first graduate of the St. Louis County Veteran's Court. (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

St. Louis County started a veteran treatment court about a year and a half ago. It's a program that provides veterans an alternative to jail time, and the first person to complete the program just graduated.

"When I hit rock bottom I kinda just wanted to give up, I didn't have a desire to live anymore," said Connie King. She battled with drug addiction for years. But 15 months ago, she stepped into county courtroom 206.

King said, "I think it was a wake up call for me." She was the first person to go through St. Louis County's Veteran's Court.

"It's very successful around the country, really reduced recidivism, tries to keep people out of jail, jail is not the right place for a lot of these people with the needs that they have," said Judge Douglas Beach. 

It's for veterans who have a non-violent felonies. If they get through a 15-month treatment program, the prosecutor will drop the charges.

County councilman, Mark Harder, said, "I think it's the accountability I think it's the people who surround the candidate or the person in the program and this is probably the most support they've gotten in their whole life."

"I conquered just what I was out to do, but you've gotta have a determined, made up mind and I got through those 15 months," said King.

King says it was a long 15 months, but when the day finally arrived, "February 8 is one day I'll never forget, I was just overjoyed, I was happy."

King is about to reach another milestone. This summer will mark two years sober. 

"Without the VA drug court system, I don't know where I would have ended up, I just really can't say, this was my second chance and I'm grateful for it," said King.

If you are a veteran or know one who could benefit from this program, you can call the county at (314) 615-2678.


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