ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is working to improve communications with the juvenile court system to prevent the release of suspects deemed dangerous.
The department announced efforts are underway to ensure employees with the police and courts are familiar with and follow protocols related to the juvenile intake process.
The response comes following the release of juvenile suspects related to car break-ins at the City Foundry STL. Police reported the suspects fired shots as officers arrived this past weekend. Earlier in the week, police said officers called the family court and were told to release the juvenile suspects. A spokesperson for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court said there is a disagreement over exactly what was said in that phone conversation.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department held a public safety briefing on Wednesday.
“We’ve addressed that with both the juvenile division along with the police department and that should not happen in the future,” said Capt. Joseph Morici with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
In October, FOX 2 reported on efforts in another jurisdiction to improve communication between police and the family court. Police departments in north St. Louis County held roundtable discussions. North County Police Cooperative Maj. Ron Martin said those talks were productive.
“We’ve established some new protocols,” Martin said.
He also expects a dedicated prosecutor will eventually be working with his department.
Martin said he hopes that the effort to prevent juvenile crime will begin with community support and a better understanding of why some juvenile offenders become violent before it’s too late.
“Everybody has to come to the table,” Martin said. “We’re all in it.”
There are several factors that go into determining whether a juvenile is taken into custody. Martin said one part of the equation is a point system established by the state of Missouri. He believes that the system needs revamping.
“I don’t think the point system has been revamped in over a decade to recognize the increase in some of the violent crimes happening with our juveniles,” Martin said.