No More Hot Spot Policing in St. Louis?

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed has suggested hot spot policing could be phased out starting during the next budget year.

Speaking with KMOX’s Ryan Wrecker on Monday, Reed said the city wants to add 24 more police officers and an additional $1 million toward overtime in the next budget – but that overtime could be allocated differently.

“That gives us an opportunity to get more officers out within the community and create stronger relationships,” Reed said. “I’m thinking that will pay big dividends.”

Part of that strategy includes; creating smaller police districts and keeping officers patrolling a certain area, so the community gets to know them and eventually could be more comfortable working with them to solve crimes.

“If an officer is patrolling your neighborhood, that officer will patrol your neighborhood, that officer will be there a year from now, two years from now,” Reed told Wrecker. “He or she won’t be bounced around because of hot spot policing.”

Hot spot policing in St. Louis refers to a group of officers not assigned to specific districts, heavily patrolling problem areas for a certain period of time and then moving on to the next problem area. Whatever policy is determined moving forward, Reed says it will ultimately be up to the new Chief of Police.

Reed says the 24 new spots for officers would be in addition to, not instead of, the more than 100 officers the city is currently short. Although not a part of budget discussions, Reed says the city should consider how it recruits new officers. He suggests starting early with youth in city neighborhoods – he says many of them could be interested in law enforcement if they were given proper resources and encouragement.

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