ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) — 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.