New certification to allow St. Louis City deputies to make arrests, traffic stops
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Safety around downtown St. Louis, especially Washington Avenue has been a big focus over the past few years. Now, the St. Louis City’s Sheriff’s Office elevated its ability to execute that Tuesday evening.
St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts has become an influential face in trying to secure Washington Avenue. Tuesday, Betts and 23 other deputies received Peace Officer Standards Training (P.O.S.T.) certification to help them better assist the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department with arrests, traffic stops, searches and more. The main duty of the sheriff’s office is courtroom security and serving court paperwork like restraining orders and evictions.
Tuesday night’s ceremony began with multiple speakers and ending with Sheriff Vernon Betts, before calling on all the graduates.
“I got some great people that’s gonna help us keep St. Louis safe,” Betts said.
It’s a day that will remain historic for the City of St. Louis and its sheriff’s deputies. Twenty-four deputies, including Betts, are now on par with nearly every other law enforcement officer in the country.
“The whole objective is for us to get the same training and be able to provide the City of St. Louis with the same quality of deputy that exists everywhere else in Missouri,” Betts explained.
It’s nearly a year full of classroom and hands-on training. Betts said being POST certified will allow deputies to better assist officers and tamp down violent crime in the city.
“Now that we’re doing details on Washington Street, we’re doing the detail on the MetroLink, these guys need to have as high of a level as training as we can possibly get,” Betts said.
So far in 2022, more than 60 people have been killed inside St. Louis City limits. A majority of those homicides are from guns.
“There’s no doubt we gotta do a better job than what we’re doing right now. These homicide rates have got to slow down in these urban areas, especially in these big cities,” Governor Mike Parson said.
Parson also spoke at the graduate ceremony Tuesday night. News 4 asked him how the additional deputies on the streets would better patrol the city. He and Betts both said the timing of this POST certification is crucial.
“We need to start putting more police officers on the street. We’re gonna try and defer crime along with other programs. I think what you’re seeing with Lincoln University and Harris Stowe trying to get more officers on the street, is what we’ve got to do,” Parson added.
Betts said he’d like to see all his officers go through the POST certification process. Only 25 deputies are able to go at once. There are 125 more deputies who haven’t received the certification.
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