St. Louis sheriff requests upgraded equipment after deputy carjacked at gunpoint

Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 7:41 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - The St. Louis sheriff’s office is requesting that City of St. Louis leaders allocate funding to the sheriff’s office for new equipment after a sheriff deputy was carjacked at gunpoint Downtown early Tuesday morning.

Sheriff Vernon Betts told News 4 he wants to allow deputies to take home radios after a deputy’s personal vehicle was stolen while they while working a second security job at the Enterprise Center late Monday night.

Betts said the issue is that the St. Louis Sheriff’s Office has outdated radios in comparison to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. He said the department can’t afford lost or stolen radios.

The sheriff is asking for nearly $2 million in funding for new equipment. New radios alone cost nearly $700,000.

“Our radios are obsolete,” Betts said. “We’re having problems getting them repaired and all that kind of stuff. I believe that the city now has the money through ARPA or Rams money or whatever. The city has a lot, and now we can resolve that issue. We think we deserve to get the money that’s going to help us keep our employees safe and the citizens of St. Louis safe.”

The City of St. Louis received nearly half a billion dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funding from the federal government. Public Safety Committee chair and St. Louis Alderman, Joe Vaccaro, told News 4 the money would likely come from the ARPA fund.

“Well, it’d be nice if the mayor’s office just would make a decision and say ‘let’s get this done,’” Vaccaro said.

He added the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, which Mayor Tishaura Jones sits on, can make something happen.

“I believe they have the authority to say ‘these are the things we’re going to go ahead and fund,’” Vaccaro said.

“We’re always willing to work with the sheriff’s office, and we’re willing to have that conversation to see what’s available,” Jones told News 4 at an event Thursday.

Vaccaro said another option is for the Board of Aldermen to introduce a bill allocating money to the sheriff’s office. The mayor would still need to sign off on it.

Betts said two suspects connected to stealing the deputy’s personal car are in custody. Two others are wanted as well for the incident. Authorities have recovered the officer’s car.