Parson touts investments in tackling violent crime

Missouri Governor Mike Parson calls investments in tough-on-crime measures one of the key accomplishments of the 2022 legislative session.

“I wanted to be here to say thank you to a lot of people I’ve had the opportunity to work with,” Parson said Tuesday during a visit to Sts. Teresa and Bridget Catholic Church in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood of St. Louis. “With the additional resources provided in this year’s budget, we are trying to do a much better job of trying to provide services and eliminate crime as much as possible.”

The church is a base of operations for the Urban League’s outreach to area opioid users. It is also the home church of James Clark, Vice President of Public Safety for the Urban League. He leads the Serving Our Streets initiative, one of the programs highlighted by Parson.

Urban League staff members work in small chapters in several neighborhoods, providing services to families in need. The program has helped prevent nearly 80 conflicts from turning violent and moved 24 people out of St. Louis when de-escalation didn’t work.

State Senator Karla May, D-St. Louis, requested the additional funding. She thanked the governor for agreeing to support her throughout the process.

“They were willing to listen,” she said of the governor and his public safety department. “And not only did the governor come once, he came down four times and walked around the community to understand the challenges we were facing.”

Parson also touted investments in mental health and the establishment of a law enforcement academy at Lincoln University, the first such academy at a historically black college or university in the United States.

Brian Munoz


St. Louis Public Radio

Lt. Col. Michael Sack, acting police chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, speaks Tuesday.

Missouri Room Plan

Parson also continued on Tuesday to voice support for a set of crime reduction recommendations from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

The business advocacy group released the report this week, in response to a survey finding that large numbers of CEOs believe violent crime harms the state’s competitiveness. It includes recommendations for more technology and the use of data to determine where to place additional officers, to make targeted arrests.

Acting St. Louis Police Chief Lt. Col. Michael Sack said the department is already following many of the recommendations. But like other city leaders, he said the state’s gun laws make it difficult to tackle violent crime.

Take the Armed Cruise, Sack said, in which individuals in cars drive through downtown and other St. Louis neighborhoods waving handguns and rifles out the window.

“It’s Missouri. It’s not necessarily cause for a stoppage,” he said.

The chamber report refers to a 2021 bill Parson signed that makes it difficult for local and federal law enforcement to cooperate on gun crimes. Parson said increasing gun restrictions doesn’t automatically reduce crime.


Brian Munoz


St. Louis Public Radio

Calvionne Rayford, 29, of Kansas City, Mo., raises her fist in the air while protesting a recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24 outside of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis.

Prohibition of triggering and contraception

Also on Tuesday, Parson told reporters that the state health department is evaluating whether a near-total abortion ban would also affect access to contraception.

The state was the first to enact an abortion ban previously passed last week after the US Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion. Birth control is not mentioned, but some, including former US senator Claire McCaskill, believe the law is written to make it a crime to use certain types of contraception.

Despite being pressed several times, Parson didn’t give a clear answer about whether people should be concerned about access to birth control.

“I think the Ministry of Health will provide these details for us. I think they’re making that clarification so everyone knows how we’re going to read this,” he said.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Previous National Shortage of Menstrual Products Triggers 'Tampon Turbulence'
Next Salmon backs Robson on the lake after dropping Arizona government offer