Jeff Jensen | St. Louis Public Radio

Jeff Jensen

Jeff Jensen and other local law enforcement leaders announce that St. Louil will become the 19th Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force on April 24, 2020.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Raido

Nearly two dozen local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in the St. Louis region are getting a boost from the U.S. Department of Justice in their efforts to combat violent crime.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, which includes St. Louis, on Tuesday announced the creation of the Gateway Strike Force. It is the 19th Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in the country.

Alderman Larry Arnowitz, D-12th Ward and Alderwoman Sharon Tyus, D-1st Ward, confer during a Board of Aldermen meeting on July 7, 2017.
FIle photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 11 with not guilty plea 

A former St. Louis alderman has pleaded not guilty to charges that he spent campaign donations on personal expenses.

An attorney for Larry Arnowitz entered the plea on his behalf Wednesday afternoon. Though Arnowitz was present, he did not speak except to tell U.S. Magistrate Judge Shirley Mensah that he understood the proceedings.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt speaks with reporters following Gov. Mike Parson's State of the State address.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Schmitt was the first person in his immediate family to go to college — let alone get a law degree. 

So it’s not surprising that Schmitt said he recognizes the civic weight of serving as Missouri’s attorney general.

And roughly a year after Gov. Mike Parson appointed him to that post, the Republican is reflecting on his office’s crime-fighting efforts — and looking to the 2020 legislative session to enact policy initiatives to enhance public safety.

November 20, 2019 Jeff Jensen
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For two years, Jeff Jensen has been the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, serving as the St. Louis area’s top federal law enforcement officer. Jensen’s office handles everything from racketeering cases to civil forfeiture — and, under Jensen, has made violent crime in St. Louis a particular focus.

That direction has come from his bosses in the U.S. Department of Justice, Jensen explained Wednesday on St. Louis on the Air. He said the prosecutors on his staff have seized the mandate. 

Still, the crime rate in St. Louis has remained high.  

Local and federal law enforcement make an arrest in St. Louis this summer during a three-month roundup of violent fugitives.
United States Marshals

Federal law enforcement officials say a three-month cooperative push to apprehend violent fugitives resulted in more than 160 arrests in the St. Louis region.

The U.S. Marshals announced the results of the operation Thursday. They say 16 of those arrested were wanted for homicide, and many were connected to violent gangs in the area.

Missouri’s attorney general and the federal prosecutor in St. Louis say a six-month-old initiative to reduce violent crime by boosting the number of cases prosecuted at the federal level is working.

“As a community, we are having important conversations about what we can do to tackle the crime epidemic,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said Tuesday at a news conference. “We all have very important roles to play in that effort. My job is to prosecute those who have broken the law and have harmed victims and their families.”

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger (left) and Sam Page (right) attend a county council meeting. A new resolution calls on the prosecuting attorney to look into if Stenger violated county charter.
File photo | Andy Field | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 2:20 on Monday with news of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership subpoena.

A federal subpoena was issued last week seeking information about St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s administration.

One particular focus was how Stenger’s administration issued contracts, which has been a source of contention for months between the Democratic chief executive and the council.

In the past two decades, the federal government took in $36.5 billion in assets police seized from people, many of whom never were charged with a crime or shown to have drugs.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

This story is part of a collaborative-reporting initiative supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. All stories can be found here:

Law-enforcement agencies in St. Charles County got a budget windfall of more than $1 million in 2017.

The unplanned money wasn’t the result of higher taxes or donations, but instead came from a court process known as civil asset forfeiture.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen answer questions on Jan. 22, 2019 after announcing that lawyers from Schmitt’s office will help federal prosecutors handle violent crime cases.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis is getting extra manpower to help prosecute gun and drug cases in the city and St. Louis County.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Tuesday that as many as five assistant attorneys general from his office will be deputized to serve as federal prosecutors, a level of cooperation Schmitt called unprecedented.

Police officers line up on Washington Ave. in downtown St. Louis on Sept. 28, 2018 as people protest against the Stockley verdict and against mass arrests during a protest the previous week.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7:15 p.m. with comments from St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner — Four St. Louis police officers were indicted on federal charges Thursday in connection with the assault of an undercover officer during protests related to the Jason Stockley court ruling in 2017.

The four St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers named in the indictment are Dustin Boone, 35, Bailey Colletta, 25, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27. All have been suspended without pay.