JEFFERSON CITY, MO (STL.News) Missouri Senator Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, pre-filed legislation to address violent crime and inadequate law enforcement staffing in cities across Missouri. The bill, Senate Bill 572, would establish the “Community Crime Reduction Grant Program” to provide funds to defray the cost of hiring and training additional officers to more closely match U.S. Department of Justice staffing recommendations. Eligibility for the program would be determined by the number of officers employed per 1,000 people.
“A number of police departments around the state are woefully understaffed,” said Rowden. “And as a result, police officers are less visible and 911 response times are growing significantly. It’s unacceptable, frankly, that anyone in 2019 should have to worry about whether or not their local police have the resources to respond quickly in an emergency. Furthermore,” Rowden added, “when police are strapped for resources their performance suffers, stress levels rise, mistakes are made and criminals are emboldened.”
Senate Bill 572 follows Sen. Rowden’s November meeting with the mayors and police chiefs of Missouri’s largest cities to understand local efforts to curb violent crime. Monday, Dec. 2, was the first day to pre-file legislation for the Second Regular Session of the 100th General Assembly which begins on Jan. 8, 2020.