Lawmakers pass bill saying St. Louis sheriff’s deputies can make arrests

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri lawmakers have voted to expand where St. Louis sheriff deputies can arrest people.

House members voted 131-7 Friday to give final approval to a bill that would give those deputies the option of receiving a police officer certification.

That would allow them to make arrests anywhere police officers can. Currently, deputies generally only enforce courtroom security, transport prisoners and deliver summons but are not considered law enforcement officers. St. Louis is the only sheriff’s department in the state with that restriction.

The bill also would allow sheriffs in any Missouri county to hire an undersheriff or deputy sheriff who is a resident of a neighboring state.

Sheriff Vernon Betts told Fox 2 that it’s important for him to have qualified and trained officers. Under the new bill, deputies would be required to pass the standard in Missouri officer training, POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training). He says POST certification will also allow his men and women to get higher wages and be eligible for more secondary employment. He says many secondary employers won’t accept people who aren’t POST certified.

The measure passed the Senate 28-0 in March.