According to the 2010 U.S. Census, nearly 150,000 St. Louisans under the age of 17 live in neighborhoods with risk factors that contribute to youth violence. Today community leaders gathered in Forest Park to outline a plan to combat the problem.
It's called the St. Louis Regional Youth Violence Prevention Task Force and it's designed to help young people stay out of trouble. Among the goals are prevention, intervention, enforcement, and reentry into the community. St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley says education is another key aspect to the program.
"Keeping young people in school, that is paramount, that has to take precedent," Dooley said. "If they stay in school and get educated, they have the opportunity to be productive citizens and get meaningful jobs, and that's the key."
The youth violence task force runs until the summer of 2016. It's being funded by a public/private partnership.
First degree murder and child abuse charges have been dropped against a St. Louis woman whose child's body was found in a trash bin in 2011.
Thirty-year-old Melissa Jackson was scheduled to go on trial on Monday in the death of her 18-month-old son, Marquell, who was found in a trash bin behind his home in May 2011. His mother pleaded not guilty to the charges.
She spent about 10 months in jail before being released on bail in March 2012. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that her attorney, Scott Rosenblum, received notice Monday that all charges were dropped. Susan Ryan, spokeswoman for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, would not explain why the charges were dropped.
City police spokeswoman, Schron Jackson, informed the newspaper that an officer might have compromised the case by not sharing critical information with homicide detectives. Jackson says an Internal Affairs investigation will be initiated.
Veterans in Illinois will some be able to use their experience as military medics to become licensed practical nurses or emergency medical technicians. That's because the state was one of six chosen by the National Governors Association to participate in the "Veterans Licensing and Certification Demonstration Policy Academy."
Governor Pat Quinn on Monday announced Illinois' participation in the program that eases licensing requirements for medics and helps ex-military police officers transition to civilian police forces.
The other state chosen to participate include Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nevada and Virginia.
Residents in Uplands Park will decide next month whether or not to dissolve their tiny village. In the mean time, the village board is considering how to provide police protection in the cash strapped community.
Residents complain that they've had little to no police protection since the board all but closed their Police Department.
Now St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch is weighing in. He's sent a letter warning trustees that state law requires them to provide 24 hour police protection.
The village board discussed McCulloch's letter at Monday night's meeting. They also discussed contracting with St. Louis County for police protection, but the board took no action.