St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones is cutting 98 vacant police jobs and moving that money elsewhere to hire between 15 and 20 social workers.
“We have seen it in cities across the country that this is the right thing to do,” she said.
And to people saying the city needs more police, Mayor Jones says, “We have more police in St. Louis than any other city our size. And has that made us safer?”
Jones says no current officer will lose their job. But Jane Dueker, a legal representative for the police department, says cutting the positions will affect overall safety in St. Louis.
“When you cut vacancies, you’re actually impinging on overtime, which can decrease services that are performed in the street right now,” she told Fox2.
Dueker also says using social workers is fine but they can’t do the job of police and can’t go to a call unless it’s first deemed safe by an officer, so it adds to their workload.
Mayor Jones plans to cut $4 million from the $171 million policing budget and shut down one of the city's two jails.