Archive for

Idea floated of using firefighters as police officers to fight crime in St. Louis City

ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( — A criminologist recently suggested St. Louis City should consider using firefighters to fight violent crime during their downtime.

University of St. Louis-Missouri criminologist Rick Rosenfeld, who is also an informal advisor to St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, brought up the idea during a St. Louis Safety meeting Tuesday. Rosenfeld said the city should look at the idea of having some firefighters patrol the streets when they are not responding to fire calls.

“I’m not suggesting we arm firefighters, certainly not initially,” said Rosenfeld. “Each time a firefighter, which I think should be called a ‘public safety officer,’ engages in one of those activities, it frees a police officer for that amount of time to engage in hot spot patrols and other activities that can have a real crime reduction effect.”

Rosenfeld believes the idea may not be supported by the firefighters union, which has not commented on the proposal. However, the St. Louis Fire Department tweeted that it is very busy, answering 140,000 emergency calls per year.

The St. Louis Police Department and Mayor Francis Slay also refused to comment on Rosenfeld’s suggestion. However, Slay’s office said no idea should be off the table when tackling violent crime.

Hearing set on public oversight of St. Louis police

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Elected leaders in St. Louis are planning their first public discussion about a proposed civilian police oversight board.

Mayor Francis Slay and the city’s police unions opposed a 2006 attempt at civilian oversight. But Slay supports the latest plan for a new Civilian Oversight Board. It was developed after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson and two other police killings in St. Louis put a renewed focus on law enforcement.

The Board of Alderman’s public safety committee is scheduled to discuss the proposal at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

The oversight board would consist of seven city residents appointed by the mayor and approved by the aldermen. The panel would review misconduct complaints against St. Louis police officers as well as broader police policies.