Missouri State Representative wants St. Louis to use sheriff’s deputies for police work

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - The St. Louis mayor and police chief want to hire more police officers.  But a Missouri state lawmaker says a lot of money could be saved by having sheriff`s deputies do police work.

State Representative Joshua Peters, a democrat from St. Louis, has introduced legislation that would allow St. Louis City Sheriff`s Deputies to help police officers.

The mayor and police chief want to hire 160 new officers, but Peters say his plan would save the city a lot of money by allowing 173 sworn sheriff`s deputies to be trained to enforce the criminal laws of the state. Currently, sheriff`s deputies provide security for courtrooms and transfer prisoners

Peters released a statement saying, "The people of St. Louis already are footing the bill for these individuals who can and should be asked to do more to help keep the peace in our city”.

Anywhere else you go in the state, a sheriff`s deputy is someone who keeps the peace and enforces the law. It should be no different here in St. Louis."

Peters introduced similar legislation last year, but police Chief Dotson was against it. Peters says his new legislation would require sheriff`s deputies to obtain the same training as police officers.

A police department spokesperson today says the chief still opposes the legislation and says training does not address the true problem. The spokesperson says the chief and the mayor are still pursuing the hiring of 160 new police officers.