Push to combine STL City, County prosecutor’s offices gains traction

Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 5:51 PM CDT
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ST. CHARLES (KMOV) - A push to combine the St. Louis City and St. Louis County Circuit Attorney’s Office is picking up steam.

County executives from St. Charles County, Franklin County and Jefferson County penned a statement Thursday in support of some West County officials’ plan to combine the two offices and have voters from both areas choose a single prosecutor.

“We feel this is a very good regional solution,” they write in part. “It is important that it preserves local control and allows the voters to choose their prosecutor.”

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann says the region stands to benefit or fail from how effectively crimes are prosecuted in the city.

“In the past, people thought, ‘That’s their problem, and we’ll let them deal with it.’ But as I said before, it’s become a regional problem,” Ehlmann said.

And in Franklin County, Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said it’s a solution that would help the whole region economically. Brinker says it’s been harder to attract businesses to the county recently because of the area’s crime reputation.

“It really impacts everyone and potential livelihoods for the next generations,” Brinker said. “This is not a harsh cut-and-go decision. It is a blend of two institutions amicably.”

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones has championed regional solutions to crime, but she tells News 4 she is against the proposal because it isn’t proactive enough to prevent crime.

“That’s a downstream method,” Jones said. “I’m talking about upstream methods. Things we can do to stem the tide of crime... I ran into the three executives who penned that letter just yesterday at East-West Gateway [Council of Governments] and it would have been nice if they had said something to me. I think it’s best for us to stay in our lanes.”

Current county prosecutor Wesley Bell said he would defer to city leaders on the proposal. When contacted for comment last week, a spokesperson for the St. Louis City Circuit Attorney’s Office did not comment.