The City of St. Louis highways will be getting some help when it comes to highway traffic enforcement.
The Missouri Highway Patrol will soon be patrolling the interstates in St. Louis. It will be a 90-day pilot program to free up police officers to focus on violent crimes in the city.
The patrols will focus on certain stretches of Interstates 70 and 55 that are located within city limits. Approximately 20 to 30 troopers will be assigned to the program with about eight troopers on each shift.
The trooper patrols, which are expected to start in early July, will be available to assist city police officers if they need assistance. As to how many city officers would be freed up is unclear at this point. Apparently this type of temporary program had been used once before during a spike in violent crime in February of 2015. Then police Chief Sam Dotson had requested the assistance.
State troopers don’t currently patrol interstates that within the city. Troopers are expected to come from Troop C which have areas of extra personnel and by combining several zones and adjusting schedules to maintain current levels of coverage.
The push this time seems to be coming from within Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ office. Last December the Governor’s wife was robbed outside a café. Crime in St. Louis has increased in recent weeks. The latest statistics show overall crime is down slightly but aggravated assaults with a gun are up 27 percent over the same time period last year. Homicides are similar to last year’s numbers.