St. Louis, MO (KTRS) Crime fighting will be the focus of the next Missouri legislative session.
On Tuesday morning, Attorney General Eric Schmitt joined state lawmakers and members of law enforcement to outline the agenda. Schmitt announced that a bill will be introduced for harsher penalties for carjackings.
St. Louis had more than 350 carjackings in 2018 and is on pace to equal that number this year. Schmitt said the state lacks a specific carjacking statute, so prosecutors charge suspects with various crimes like robbery or stealing. He said he supports creation of a new charge, motor vehicle hijacking, which would directly address the crime.
Another bill will be introduced to remove the residency requirement for St. Louis police officers.
“Removing the residency requirement opens the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to a larger and more diverse pool of applicants who don’t necessarily live in the city of St. Louis,” Schmitt said.
Police Chief John Hayden was in attendance at the news conference. He spoke in favor of the bills, but expressed the need for stricter gun laws.
“If people were required to have a permit to carry a gun, I wouldn’t see people on East Grand and Broadway talking on a phone with an AK-47,” Hayden said. “A permit is needed.”