By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

Gun violence in Kansas City and St. Louis has become a state issue with the governor deploying 25 state law enforcement officers to help curb violence in the state’s metropolitan areas.

Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr of Springfield says Missouri has been shaken by a troubling trend.

“We’ve got a group of legislators that are currently researching around the country what other states have done, because if you look back historically, since the early 1990s, crime across the country has been nearly cut in half. But, in a couple of unique areas, St. Louis being one, crime has spiked dramatically,” Haahr tells reporters during a stop in St. Joseph. “So, we’re trying to figure out what it is these other states are doing to enable their cities to combat that violence.”

Gov. Mike Parson outlined a plan which began the first of October. Under the governor’s plan, state officers will join with federal and local officers on an Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Strike Force; the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force; and the Strike Against Violence Early (SAVE) Task Force.

Troopers will participate in saturation efforts, called surges by the governor’s office, on interstates throughout St. Louis to find violent offenders and lock them up.

Haahr says the governor is right to consider the violence in the two cities as a statewide problem.

“I think it is a state problem,” Haahr says. “Obviously, Kansas City struggles with it and our communities do and part of it is, I think, again if you look nationally, a lot of states, they’ve figured out a track record to success to this problem that somehow we missed out on.”

It’s a tough problem, according to Haahr, and he hopes those assigned to study it will find successful practices elsewhere which can be used successfully in Missouri.

“At this point, what we’re trying to do is just look at other states and figure out best practices and figure out which ones work specifically for Missouri.”