ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The most prominent issue in the region is a solution to stemming the tide of violent crime in St. Louis City. One idea being considered is allowing Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) troopers to patrol inside the city limits.

But that's bringing back some Déjà vu for people who say the plan didn't work last time in 2017 when then-Governor Eric Greitens, in the midst of a crime wave, sent a surge of state troopers on to St. Louis' interstates.

Fast forward to now and the idea is back on the table.

“What happens on these highways, they need to be patrolled as well,” St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said.

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Mayor Krewson said she's asked Governor Mike Parson for troopers to patrol not just interstates but exit ramps and even state roads like Natural Bridge and Gravois.

The governor, at a meeting in the city on Tuesday, confirmed it was one of several proposals being discussed.

“The bottom line is, how do I protect those children from getting killed out in the streets every day,” Gov. Parson said.

In 2017, the state troopers plan faced criticism from some people, like The Arch City Defenders, who said troopers primarily issued traffic tickets.

A News 4 investigation found that in two months in 2017, troopers made 130 felony arrests, more than 630 arrests for outstanding warrants and 67 DWI arrests. 

And they issued more than 4,500 traffic tickets, too.

“Do you see them having a different role this time?” Investigative Reporter Lauren Trager asked Mayor Krewson. 

“I know they did issue some speeding tickets, but they did issue a lot of other tickets as well," Mayor Krewson said. "There are guns and drugs that run on these highways and they sometimes exit those ramps and go off into our neighborhoods, so it is a wide spectrum of things the highway patrol would be patrolling for."

Another hiccup in 2017 was when the Circuit Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute the traffic tickets, saying they were basically an unfunded mandate.

News 4 asked the prosecutor about whether we’d be back in the same boat now.

“You have to ask yourself, does the prosecutor for the city of St. Louis, do we deal with tickets?” Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said.

Ultimately the issue was worked out, with the municipal prosecutor taking them instead.

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Either way, with the idea being floated again, Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Auditor Nicole Galloway said troopers alone won't work.

“In no way does this solve the problem of gun violence in our communities," Galloway said. "There needs to be a debate on common sense gun safety measures in this state."

News 4 with reached out to the Gov. Parson's office Thursday about the MSHP troopers plan. A spokesperson told News 4, "The governor recognizes that's something that could be done, but there is still discussion on what would be the most and effective and efficient way to do that."

No specific plan has been finalized yet and there are lots of other proposals on the table, including additional funding in the city for social service programs and even better technology for policing.

News 4 will keep tracking the plans.

Copyright 2019 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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