A state lawmaker who was an activist in Ferguson disagrees with Missouri Republican Governor Eric Greitens’ comments about the “Ferguson Effect”. Despite that, the two have similar positions on some key crime-related issues.

Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City

During Tuesday night’s State of the State Address in Jefferson City, Governor Greitens told lawmakers that it’s getting harder to do police work, adding that the FBI has identified it as the “Ferguson Effect”. Greitens says it’s harder to recruit people to become officers, and that the officers on the job feel less empowered to proactively police.

State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. (D-St. Louis) says he “cringes” when he hears the term “Ferguson Effect”.

“I’m a day one Ferguson activist, I don’t know what the Ferguson Effect is, there’s no such thing as the Ferguson Effect,” Franks says. “You know, that’s something they made up to, you know they created that narrative.”

Franks says what happened in Ferguson “was happening before Ferguson”, regarding police accountability.

Franks, the ranking Democrat on the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee, agrees with the GOP Governor on recidivism and workforce development.

Franks says there is common ground between Greitens and him on crime. Representative Franks notes he and Governor Greitens’ wife, Sheena, were both robbed in separate, highly-publicized December incidents in St. Louis.

“Governor Greitens’ wife and I went through the same thing,” says Franks. “We look totally different, we’re from two totally different backgrounds, yet we had to go through the same thing in the same city within four or five miles of each other.”

Franks says he wants Greitens to focus on “black issues”, including the inner cities, and wants to work with the Governor.

“But I would like to talk to the governor, because I think there are things that we can agree with,” Franks says. “And I think there are ways to move this forward when it comes to criminal justice reform, when it comes to reducing the recidivism, when it comes to workforce development.”

Franks says he wants to see Greitens’ specific budget recommendations¬†about reducing recidivism. Greitens told lawmakers this week that inmates should have a clear plan, from the day they enter prison, “about what direction their lives will take the day they leave.”

Franks, who was elected in 2016, tells Missourinet he has a lot of respect for House Republicans, especially recently-elected freshmen, and wants to work across the aisle.

During Tuesday’s State of the State Address, Greitens called for reforming the corrections system, reducing recidivism and for economic and educational opportunity.

Greitens wants to make Missouri the greatest state in the nation to be a law enforcement officer, firefighter or first responder.

Greitens’ emphasis on public safety pleases State Rep. Chuck Basye (R-Rocheport).

“He (Governor Greitens) mentioned the tough problems that the police officers and our law enforcement officials are having right now, and I know a few of them personally, good friends that are law enforcement people and it is tough,” says Basye.

Greitens wants to establish a Blue Alert system, to help find those who assault law enforcement officers. He also wants to work with law enforcement and the clergy to update peace officers’ standards and training.