New county prosecutor seeks input from staff, fix cash bail problem and expand drug treatment programs

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CLAYTON, MO – St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell believes expanding drug court programs will lead to a safer St. Louis County.  The former Ferguson Council member took the oath of office on Tuesday.  He replaces Bob McCulloch, the man Bell defeated in last year’s primary election.

“We’re really looking forward to hitting the ground running and hitting the ground listening,” he said during an interview following a swearing-in ceremony in Clayton.

Bell said one of his first orders of business will be to meet with each member of the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office.

“We have 120 men and women in that office that I have to meet and have to sit down and talk to,” he said.  “I’ve had the chance to meet with them in groups but first and foremost I want to make sure that they understand they are a part of what we’re doing, they are part of this team and I want to hear their input because they’ve been there, they’ve been in the trenches and I want them to know their input is welcome.”

Bell has promised to bring reforms to the office including a change to what he has called a cash bail problem.  He said, “Currently the murderer with means is able to get out while the low-level offender who is not a threat to anyone languishes in jail and that’s not right.”

Bell also promised to expand drug treatment programs and believes that will be an effective way to fight crime.

“If we start addressing that root cause, giving people the treatment, the tools they need in the toolbox to be productive citizens, they’re less likely to progress to the violent crime.  They’re more likely to get a job,” he said.

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