WILDWOOD, Mo. (KMOV) — A group of St. Louis County mayors wants the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office to merge with the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office.
The two-page document contains a broad 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 believe that crime prevention is a regional problem that requires regional solutions, such as tougher penalties for drug crimes, car thefts and crimes committed by children.
They want the plan to be included in the legislation that is currently going through the Legislature. HB 301, which allows for the appointment of a special prosecutor for St. Louis City, adding state oversight of local government. That’s something current St. Louis District Attorney Kim Gardner’s office has disputed.
“The failure to prosecute criminals in all jurisdictions in this region affects the safety of all our residents,” the two-page statement said. “Crime is a regional problem and needs a regional solution.”
If the offices are combined, Wildwood Mayor Jim Bowlin said both city and county voters will vote on a new district attorney.
“If we don’t handle it on a local basis, the risk is that the state can do it for us,” Bowlin said. “This is the county’s business, and the reason this county’s business is because we have an increase in crime in this county. … This is a bigger problem than Kim Gardner.”
St. Louis State’s Attorney Wesley Bell said city leaders should be brought to the table. He did not endorse the plan, but said finding solutions to crime would benefit everyone.
“Crime is a regional problem, and people are looking at regional solutions,” Bell said. “When this area thrives, we all thrive.”
The waiver was sent on the same day as the first hearing in Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s impeachment of Kim Gardner. Mayors say their solution is a middle ground between the status quo and government takeovers.
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