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Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, joined by Public Safety Director Dan Isom, the Center for Policing Equity (CPE), and the Violence Prevention Commission (VPC), held a virtual town hall meeting to take questions from the public and outline her administration's principles for reimagining public safety.

"Every life lost to violence is a tragedy for both the victims' loved ones and our entire city," said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. "While lax gun laws at the state level limit our ability to take action with common sense gun safety measures at the local level, we are using every tool in our toolbox to improve public safety. Police cannot be the only solution - we must address root causes of crime, like poverty, and engage communities to see what they need to feel safe in their neighborhoods. These town halls are critical in getting input from communities to reshape policing and public safety in St. Louis."

Mayor Jones outlined the three principles that guide this reimagining of public safety: Using smart-on-crime strategies to prevent crime, protect physical safety, and allow police to focus on solving violent crime; Prioritizing and building healthy communities that combats crime longterm through economic investment in disinvested neighborhoods, workforce development, and hiring 28 social workers to treat violence like the public health crisis it is; and responsive governing that listens to the demands of the people and develops real solutions to meet community needs, like involving community members in the search for a new police chief.

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The Jones administration allocated $11.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to address root causes of crime and improve public safety with youth jobs and programming, community violence intervention programs, and more. $5 million towards the Cops and Clinicians program, which pairs mental health workers with dispatched police and has handled nearly 2,100 unique cases so far, helps connect the right professional to the right call; 2,074 of these cases have been diverted from jail.

Earlier this month, CPE released a report highlighting racial disparities in policing in the St. Louis region. The report also found that neighborhood characteristics played a significant role in shaping racial disparities in pedestrian stops, that Black people were subjected to force 4.3 times as often as White people per year in St. Louis, and that Black pedestrians were stopped 2.3 times as often as White pedestrians per year on average.

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