State Troopers to begin patrolling St. Louis interstates, freeing up police for violent crime

MHP patrolling interstates

Missouri Highway Patrol troopers will soon be patrolling interstates in St. Louis as part of a 90-day pilot program to free up city police officers to focus on violent crime.  Between 20 and 30 troopers will be assigned to the special detail, which will focus on the stretches of Interstates 55 and 70 that fall within the city limits, said Missouri Highway Patrol Cpl. Juston Wheetley.  About eight troopers will be on each shift.  The troopers also will be available to back up city police officers if they’re ever in need of assistance, but their primary focus will be traffic enforcement, Wheetley said.  “There’s a lot of violent crime in that area, and we will be aggressively enforcing all traffic and hazardous movement to free up city officers to focus on the violent crime in those areas,” he said.  “We’re really looking forward to partnering with the city and assisting them in any role that we can.”  Troopers were originally scheduled to begin patrolling the interstates this week, but the plan was postponed as leaders continue to “work out some details,” Wheetley said.  Troopers are now set to begin patrolling in the city in early July, he said.