The statement went on to say: “It is sad that the mayor has made this a political issue and that hiring more police officers does not fit the agenda of the mayor of the murder capital of the United States.”
The St. Louis police force is the smallest in at least 20 years, with the department reporting 1,141 sworn officers this week. In recent years, St. Louis has been one of the top cities in the United States with the highest ratio of civil servants to residents.
The police-to-residents ratio of St. Louis was below some cities with similar violent crime rates – Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia, and Baltimore – but significantly above others like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and Kansas City, according to FBI data from 2019.
Jones cut 98 vacancies from the department’s budget this fiscal year after the city struggled for years to fill the positions, but the city police remain about 11% below their smaller budgeted strength of 1,251 this week.
Jones said Monday that she still had no detailed proposals for incentives for 911 dispatchers or the police vaccination and mental health programs.
Approximately 34 of 89 city police dispatcher positions were vacant in August, adding to delays in answering some emergency calls.
By early November, about 78% of St. Louis police officers had provided evidence of a COVID-19 vaccination.