(ST. LOUIS) — To help combat a wave of violence and the recent rise in shooting incidents involving children, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced he’s sending additional law enforcement officers to St. Louis.
On Oct. 1, Parson will send 25 state employees, mostly state troopers, to the city. So far this year, at least 22 children have been shot in gun-related incidents across the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Last week a 3-year-old boy in the city accidentally shot himself in the head and a 13-year-old boy was shot while walking through an apartment complex on the same day.
“We know we have a serious problem with violent crime that must be addressed, and we have spent the past months meeting with leaders and organizations at all levels to discuss possible solutions,” Parson said in a statement Thursday. “This is about targeting violent criminals and getting them off our streets. If we are to change violent criminal acts across our state, we must work together, we must do our jobs, we must support our law enforcement officers to accomplish these goals, and we must start prioritizing the prevention of crime.”
Parson said troopers will work with the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Strike Force, the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, Mission SAVE (Strike Against Violence Early) Task Force, Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) and other local agencies.
The Republican governor said he’s sending a trooper “surge” to patrol four major Missouri highways, including I-70, to help arrest violent criminals using the interstates. This move, he said, will free up local officers to focus on known “high-crime” areas.
“Law enforcement has the greatest impact on taking violent criminals off the highways when we work collaboratively at all levels of government throughout the criminal justice system,” Missouri State Highway Patrol Colonel Eric Olson said in a statement. “The Patrol is committed to this plan and working with our partners and citizens to help make the region safer.”
Parson is also allocating $2 million in state resources to help crime victims.
“We are committed to doing everything we can at the state level, but we can’t do it alone. It is truly a team effort, and everyone has to do their job to keep Missourians safe,” Parson said. “None of us, no matter where we’re from, want to see our children being shot in the streets. If we are to change violent criminal acts across our state, we must do our jobs, work together, and support our law enforcement officers to accomplish that goal.”
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and the St. Louis Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
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