- Tishaura Jones became first-ever black woman to become St. Louis mayor
- The Democrat ran on progressive platform which includes defunding police
- Last month, Jones approved plan to slash $4million from police budget
- She also eliminated 98 officer vacancies and closed down a city jail
- Last year, St. Louis saw its murder rate soar to highest since 1970
The mayor of St. Louis says having more cops won’t prevent crime, and she’s used her first month in office to introduce controversial reforms including defunding the police.
Tishaura Jones, who is the first black woman ever elected to serve as mayor of St. Louis, approved a $4million cut in the police budget as her city experienced the highest levels of violent crime in half a century last year.
The 49-year-old Jones assumed office on April 20 after running on a platform that includes an end to St. Louis’ ‘arrest and incarcerate’ model of policing – even as her city outpaced Chicago and Detroit to become the murder capital of America for the sixth straight year last year.
‘More police doesn’t prevent crime,’ Jones told The Telegraph last week. ‘Research done in the police department shows that 50 per cent of calls can be answered by someone other than police.
‘So, why not deploy someone other than police, and free up police to do the work that they were trained to do in our academy.’
Jones wants treatment, rather than punishment, for drug users, and more emphasis on social service programs to help the neighborhoods with the highest crime rates.
The new mayor also wants to bring in more social workers, mental health counselors and substance abuse counselors, rather than adding more uniformed officers.
Just days after taking office, Jones approved a $4million cut in the police budget as well as the elimination of 98 vacant officer positions and the closure of a city jail, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.