ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Democrat Chris Koster now has the support of more than 6,500 law enforcement officers behind his bid for Missouri Governor.
The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police Tuesday announced their endorsement of Koster over Republican candidate Eric Greitens.
“Police officers are among, if not the most important members of our civic family,” Koster announced during a stop at the St. Louis FOP Hall at 3710 Hampton Ave. “Our society does not function without them. Anyone who would ever shoot at a police officer is a domestic terrorist.”
Missouri Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Inglima explained some of the thinking that went into the decision to endorse Koster.
“His leadership in pushing for a gun docket here in St. Louis will hold armed criminals accountable for their actions, and allow us to be more effective in protecting the public — all while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Inglima announced.
Ferguson and its after-effects were on the minds of both Koster and the police officers who were endorsing him.
St. Louis Police Officers Association President Joe Patterson said he’d be the first to admit that “nobody was perfect” during the aftermath of Michael Brown’s fatal shooting in August 2014, himself included.
But he noted that Koster was the first statewide elected official to respond on the ground in Ferguson during the riots.
“His support for our efforts was vital in ultimately getting the situation under control and bringing peace to the streets,” Patterson pointed out. “I always knew (Koster) had our backs and would help us to our jobs.”
In accepting the endorsement, Koster outlined his stance on several key law enforcement issues.
For instance, his support for a gun docket in the city of St. Louis.
“The city of St. Louis simply cannot survive as an entity with 200 murders a year,” according to Koster. “It will collapse at some point upon itself.”
On August 2nd, when Eric Greitens defeated a crowded field in the GOP primary, his opponents including Catherine Hanaway chalked up his victory to a sweeping “outsider” movement that put political newcomers ahead of established office holders.
But Koster claimed not to be concerned that he’ll fall victim to the same phenomenon in November.
“(Greitens) has offered no policy solutions for the state of Missouri,” Koster said. “He has very little exhibited knowledge and appears to hold forth ignorance as his calling card for the job. It is his qualification.”
Koster added that his support for police has included advocating for body cameras and rifle-rated vests to keep officers safe, and spearheading a program to make police forces more representative of the community they serve.
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