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St. Louis County police unveils new Special Response Unit

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A new St. Louis County Police unit is on the streets thanks to help from voters.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar and County Executive Steve Stenger unveiled the new Special Response Unit Tuesday morning in Northwoods, where the unit will be based.

The 'SRU' is starting with 16 officers but will increase to 24 officers by the end of the year, along with five commanders.

The unit will feature two officers in every car and will be deployed throughout the county wherever they are needed.

The officers will not only fight crime and target persistent offenders, they will also try to improve interactions with citizens and address quality of life issues.

“This really gives the county police department the ability to do some things you might not expect to hear – problem-solving, community engagement, these officers are trained in de-escalation,” said Chief Belmar. “It is going to make the difference in maintaining St. Louis County as the safe place to live and work.”

Funding for the 'SRU' unit comes from Proposition P. That’s the half-cent sales tax increase passed by voters last year with the proceeds earmarked for public safety.

The officers in this unit must have at least three years of experience on the force.

“The key to this is it allows those beat officers that are responsible for that neighborhood guardianship to stay in their beats while these men and women are able to take care of and fill that gap out there and solve those problems for the precincts,” Belmar said.