Gov. Eric Greitens says the move will help combat crime in “the most dangerous city in the United States of America.” The state is contributing 20 to 30 troopers in a 90-day pilot program.
The Missouri Highway Patrol began policing interstates in St. Louis on Sunday as part of a plan Gov. Eric Greitens says will help combat crime in “the most dangerous city in the United States of America,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The pilot program, puts troopers on patrol along Interstates 55 and 70 in an effort to free up St. Louis police resources for violent crime in the city’s neighborhoods. The state is contributing 20 to 30 troopers as part of the 90-day pilot program. Greitens said troopers made “dozens of arrests” during their first night on the job. St. Louis Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole said he believed troopers issued more warnings than tickets and made two drunken driving arrests. He said city officers have not patrolled the interstates for years, only responding to accidents or other issues when needed so they can remain focused on crime in neighborhoods.
Greitens said his administration is working with other entities including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the state Departments of Corrections, Social Services and Mental Health to help address crime in the city. He offered few specifics on how the collaboration differs from what the agencies have done in the past. Most of his comments were lost among shouting from protesters who said the best way to reduce crime is to support an increase to the minimum wage, a measure Greitens opposes. He said the troopers patrolling in St. Louis will be trying to target violent felons, in part by putting officers in certain spots “in anticipation of pursuits.” He said troopers will go after the drug trade by using aircraft operations to identify criminal activity and put officers in place to intercept drug trafficking.