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Sunday Poll: Are We Too Soft On Crime?

September 22, 2019 Crime, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Are We Too Soft On Crime?
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Last week Missouri Governor Mike Parsons was back in St. Louis, announcing the state’s new commitment to help reduce violence in the St. Louis region.

Starting Oct. 1, 25 Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers will be deployed in a variety of roles throughout the city.

Six of them, along with a cyber analyst, will be assigned to various task forces that focus on violent and gun crimes. Two investigators will join a federal-state partnership in which assistant attorneys general are deputized as federal prosecutors.

Other troopers will be deployed along the four interstates in what the governor is calling “surges.”

“We will work closely with [St. Louis] Chief John Hayden to determine the best operational periods for us to work in the city, but we’re going to keep that very diverse and look for these opportunities,” said Col. Eric Olsen, the commander of the highway patrol. (St  louis Public Radio)

Today’s Sunday Poll question is about violent crime in our region.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. Wednesday I’ll share my thoughts on the causes & solutions to violence in our region, along with the results of this non-scientific poll.

— Steve Patterson

 

Effectiveness Of Police Body Cameras Can Vary

August 28, 2019 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Effectiveness Of Police Body Cameras Can Vary
The St. Louis Police “Incident Command Center” truck in 2012

St. Louis City & County are both looking to get police body cameras. This is a good thing, especially based on experience in other cities.

A quick online search reveals how body camera footage has been helpful, here are a few:

The above makes a very convincing argument in favor of cameras. Looking to Chicago, however, tells me effectiveness is closely related to how they’re implemented within each department.

Since the program’s inception, the department has issued 8,200 body cameras to officers through city funding and grants. The U.S. Department of Justice has also awarded the department more than $2 million in grants to assist with the implementation of the program. The goal is to improve transparency, accountability, and safety between police and the public.

But a compliance evaluation by the City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found watch operations lieutenants failed to complete required reviews of body camera footage, and the department does not have a standardized process to do so. [CBS Chicago]

We know off cameras aren’t effective.  An overwhelming majority of us believe these cameras are worth the cost — from the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Police body cameras are a huge waste of money.

  • Strongly agree: 1 [2.7%]
  • Agree: 2 [5.41%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [2.7%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [2.7%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [5.41%]
  • Disagree: 8 [21.62%]
  • Strongly disagree: 21 [56.76%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [2.7%]

I plan to keep looking into pitfalls other regions have encountered as they added body cameras. I’m also concerned about costs — annual leasing versus buying upfront. How much money could we save over the next couple of decades depending upon how we purchase? The other question I have is how long before we’d need to upgrade to new technology?

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Are Police Body Cameras Worth The Cost?

August 25, 2019 Crime, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Are Police Body Cameras Worth The Cost?
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St. Louis City & County are both moving closer to equipping police officers with body cameras.

He [Board President Lewis Reed] estimated that the cost to the city would be a little more than $1 million per year, covering cameras for the department’s 1,100 officers, plus the necessary data storage and maintenance. Reed said he got his cost estimates from St. Louis County’s police body camera vendor, Utility Associates, Inc.

St. Louis County police officials announced earlier this month that 700 officers will be outfitted with body cameras by April. The $5 million purchase is being paid for by Proposition P, a tax hike approved by voters in 2017. The chest-mounted cameras secured inside the officers’ uniforms  automatically activate when gunshots are detected, when officers start running or when they draw their guns. (Post-Dispatch)

Today’s poll is about the costs associated with police body cameras.

This poll will automatically close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

Reader Consensus: No Leniency For Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger

August 7, 2019 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Reader Consensus: No Leniency For Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger
From Steve Stenger’s campaign website

Friday Steve Stenger will learn his fate.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry will sentence Stenger on Aug. 9 — federal guidelines call for three to nearly four years in federal prison, although Perry is free to ignore the guidelines and the memos.

Stenger pleaded guilty in May to funneling county business to a campaign donor, John Rallo, in exchange for thousands of dollars in contributions. Rallo has also pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and will be sentenced in October. (St. Louis Public Radio)

The feds are seeking the maximum sentence possible. Meanwhile…

Steve Stenger’s attorneys paint the former St. Louis County executive as remorseful for the fraudulent actions that led to his federal indictment on three charges, arguing that Stenger deserves no more than the minimum time of 37 months in prison in a memo filed Sunday. (Post-Dispatch)

So the 37 months requested falls at the low end of the guidelines. Will Judge Perry make it closer to 4 years, more, less? We’ll find out Friday.

In the years I’ve been doing these non-scientific Sunday Polls I can’t recall another instance where all participants agreed. Usually about 15% have the opposite view of the majority, occasionally there’s a close split.

This time it was unanimous — no leniency!

Q: Agree or disagree: Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger should be shown leniency when sentenced later this week.

  • Strongly agree: 0 [0%]
  • Agree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree: 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 1 [3.03%]
  • Disagree: 5 [15.15%]
  • Strongly disagree: 27 [81.82%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

I was in Judge Perry’s courtroom in 2007 when she sentenced a friend — he did get leniency.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Steve Stenger Get Leniency When Sentenced Friday?

August 4, 2019 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy, St. Louis County, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Steve Stenger Get Leniency When Sentenced Friday?
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Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger will be sentenced on Friday in a pay-to-play scheme. From April 30, 2019:

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, a target of a yearlong undercover federal investigation into political favors traded for campaign contributions, was indicted by a grand jury Thursday on charges of theft of honest services.

The indictment was unsealed Monday as Stenger resigned in a letter to County Counselor Peter Krane, writing that “it is in the best interest of our County and my family.” (Post-Dispatch)

By the end of that week Stenger entered a guilty plea, he’d just be re-elected to a second term in November.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry will sentence Stenger on Aug. 9 — federal guidelines call for three to nearly four years in federal prison, although Perry is free to ignore the guidelines and the memos. (St. Louis Public Radio)

In addition to resigning the office, Stenger has given up his law & accountant licenses. Today’s poll is to see how readers feel about sentencing.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm.

—Steve Patterson

 

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