(This story is written by Missourinet St. Louis contributor Jill Enders)
ST. LOUIS- A state lawmaker from eastern Missouri’s St. Charles County is calling for tougher penalties for violent crime and is also calling out the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office.
State Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, held a Friday press conference at the St. Louis Police Union Hall, outlining three bills aimed at combating crime.
Schroer, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, was joined by law enforcement officers. He was also joined by State Reps. Ron Hicks, R-Dardenne Prairie, and Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis County.
“These three bills are geared at combating violent crime in our state, protecting the men and women who put their lives on the line for the betterment of our citizenry, and ultimately, to make this state safer,” Schroer says.
One of the bills toughens penalties for armed criminal action.
“Felons in possession of firearms using those weapons to further commit more crimes will have to serve mandatory (prison) time under this bill. Moreover, armed criminal action under this legislation will become a dangerous felony, meaning they will have to serve 85 percent of their sentence. These dangerous felons have proven they have no regard for our laws and our Missourians,” Schroer says.
Schroer has also filed a new bill, House Bill 1900. It calls for Missouri’s Attorney General to assert jurisdiction to prosecute criminal cases.
“This would allow law enforcement officers to turn over cases to the (Missouri) Attorney General’s office that the Circuit Attorney’s Office refuses to prosecute,” Schroer tells reporters.
“Last year of the 7,045 charges requested by police, the Circuit Attorney’s Office only took action on 1,641 of those. Those which the Circuit Attorney has refused to take action on are back on our streets committing further crimes,” Schroer tells reporters.
Former State Rep. Jeff Roorda (D), who’s the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officer’s Association, joined Schroer at the press conference. He blasted Circuit Attorney Gardner, during an interview with Missourinet.
“She’s not doing her job. She’s not the Circuit Attorney. She’s the circus attorney and she’s made a mockery of herself. She is a clown and people know it, and nobody cares what she thinks,” Roorda says.
Missourinet reached out to Circuit Attorney Gardner’s office, for reaction to the legislation and press conference comments.
“Public safety in our community, and communities around the state, is a key priority. Poverty and hopelessness fuel crime in our communities and we must address the root causes. In order to improve as a community, we must all work together. However, these issues must be addressed at a local level. The CAO (Circuit Attorney’s Office) continues to be committed to providing justice for all,” the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office statement reads.
Schroer’s third bill is House Bill 1889, which would create the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. It would require that any law enforcement officer who is suspended without pay, demoted, terminated, transferred or placed on a status resulting in economic loss is entitled to a full due process hearing.
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