police

(Julie Bierach/St. Louis Public Radio)

Federal and local officials are worried about the number of law enforcement officers killed so far this year. Yesterday, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie Bierach looked at the scope of the problem.

Today, she explores what St. Louis area police do to stay safe on the streets and how they’re trying to build better relationships with the people they serve.

(UPI/Shane T. McCoy / US Marshals)

It’s been a bloody year for cops around the country. Already, dozens have been killed in the line of duty. In St. Louis, two law enforcement officers have been killed. Some in the criminal justice field say assaults against police officers are high in St. Louis and they worry that attitudes against police here are getting worse.

In the first of a two-part series, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie Bierach explores the dangers police officers face today and spoke with some people living in higher crime neighborhoods about how they feel about their police.

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

Black motorists were more likely than others to be stopped by Missouri police last year.

An annual report released Wednesday by the attorney general found that black drivers were 69 percent more likely than white motorists to be pulled over in 2010.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

A former police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Bridgeton faces sentencing in July after pleading guilty to taking a $5,000 bribe.

The U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis says 38-year-old Scott William Haenel of O'Fallon also admitted obstructing a federal investigation in his guilty plea on Wednesday.

Federal authorities say a person cooperating with the FBI met several times with Haenel between November and January and paid him $5,000. In exchange, Haenel agreed to help conceal a money laundering scheme involving drug trafficking money.

Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio

The use of heroin in the St. Louis area is at epidemic levels, according to law enforcement officials.

The number of heroin overdoses and deaths has doubled in the St. Louis County and city over the past four years. St. Louis County Chief of Police Tim Fitch said the drug is cheaper now and it can be snorted or smoked, instead of injected. He said it's no longer just an urban issue.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The battle over who will control the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has entered the theater of the courtroom.

Legislative efforts to give the city's Board of Aldermen direct oversight of the department have stalled. (It's currently governed by a five-member board, four of whom are gubernatorial appointees. The mayor is always the fifth).

(St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office)

Updated at 5:00 p.m. March 10, 2011 with additional comments.

Former Sunset Hills police officer Christine Miller received her sentence today for the 2009 drunk driving accident that killed four people.

Miller was sentenced today after pleading guilty to all five counts against her in December 2010. She faced 4 counts for involuntary manslaughter and 1 for second-degree assault.

(Official U.S. Marshals Photograph)

Will be updated as more information becomes available.

Updated 3:45 p.m. March 10, 2011:

From the U.S. Marshals Service:

"A funeral service for Deputy U.S. Marshal John Perry will be held Sunday, March 13, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at the Powell Symphony Hall, 718 North Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, Mo. 

U.S. Marshals Service Director Stacia A. Hylton will attend."

From a U.S. Marshals Service press release: (updated at midnight to correct spelling of injured marshal's name)

- Deputy U.S. Marshal John Perry, 48, died at St. Louis University Hospital around 7 p.m. Tuesday from a gunshot wound to the head. Perry had been with the Marshals for 10 years.

- The name of the second injured Marshal has also been released. Deputy U.S. Marshal Theodore Abegg, 31, has been with the marshals for three years. He suffered a gunshot wound to the ankle.

Click "Read More" for additional information.

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

Updated at 2:30 p.m March 3, 2011:

A jury has found Todd Shepard guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The process now goes to the punishment phase, in which prosecuting attorney Robert P. McCulloch is expected to call for the death sentence.

Earlier:

While on the stand today defendant Todd Shepard did something few in his place do -  he admitted to his crime.

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

Good morning! Here are a few of today's starting headlines:

  • The Jennings City Council voted 6-to-1 last night to enter a contract with the St. Louis County police department to handle the municipality's police services. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the lone no vote came form Councilwoman Yolanda Austin , who is claiming she has flied a lawsuit to block the contract. St. Louis County has been overseeing the Jennings police Department since November 1. The one-year contract would cost $2.8 million. The Post-Dispatch reports the current budgeted cost for Jennings to run its own department is about $3.1 million.
  • A Missouri House Republican wants to require labor unions to get written permission from their members before deducting dues form their paychecks. The legislation by House Speaker  Pro Tem Shane Schoeller would require workers to sign a forma every year authorizing the deductions. They would also have to give written consent for their dues to be used for political activities. Schoeller, from Willard, says workers should be able to decide how to spend their own money. Labor groups say the bill would require too much paperwork. They also say dues are not used for political activities. They say those activities are financed from a separate fund to which members make voluntary contributions.
  • According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Police Retirement System endorsed changes Monday to pension benefits for newly hired St. Louis police officers. The changes call for all participants, including those currently enrolled, to contribute 9 percent of their salary, up from 7 percent. According to the system's executive director, the changes would saved the city about $600,000 a year to start, and about $10 million annually after about 20 years. The Post-Dispatch reports that new officers would have to wait longer to be eligible for benefits and would not be able to receive a lump sum refund on their contributions upon retirement. Exacerbated by the bad economy, cost for city contributions to police, firefighter and other employee pension systems have ballooned by millions in recent years. City leaders have said employees face almost certain layoffs if cost cannot be trimmed.

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