STL County mayors pitch combination of city, county prosecutor offices

A group of county mayors want the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office combined with St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office.
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 7:32 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILDWOOD, Mo. (KMOV) -- A group of mayors in St. Louis County want the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office combined with the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office.

The two-page release outlines a wide crime prevention plan and is signed by four mayors. They are Jim Bowlin of Wildwood, Terry Briggs of Bridgeton, Mike Clement of Manchester and David Dimmitt of Brentwood. The mayors argue crime prevention is a regional problem that begs regional solutions, like tougher punishments for drug crimes, car thefts and crimes committed by kids.

They want the plan folded into legislation currently going through the legislature, HB 301, which would allow the appointment of a special prosecutor for St. Louis City, adding state control of the local office. That’s something current prosecutor St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office has opposed.

“Failure to prosecute criminals in any jurisdiction within this region affects the safety of all our residents,” the two-page release says. “Crime is a regional problem and needs a regional solution.”

If the offices were to merge, Wildwood Mayor Jim Bowlin said both city and county voters would get to vote on the new regional prosecutor.

“If we don’t handle it on a local basis, the risk is the state could do it for us,” Bowlin said. “It is the county’s business, and the reason it is the county’s business is we’re having a crime uptick in the county... It’s a larger problem than Kim Gardner.”

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said city leaders would need to be brought to the table. He didn’t endorse the plan but did say that finding solutions to crime benefits everyone.

“Crime is a regional problem, and folks are looking at regional solutions,” Bell said. “When this region thrives, we all thrive.”

The release was sent out the same day of the first hearing in Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s attempt to oust Kim Gardner from office. The mayors say their solution is a middle ground between the status quo and a state takeover of the office.