Gov. Parson visits St. Louis County to meet with executive, police chief

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Missouri Governor Mike Parson talked crime and jobs with St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.

It appeared to be another get-to-know-you meeting for the governor and local leaders, as well as the governor getting to better to know issues facing big communities like St. Louis County.

“It is important for me to get out and be here to see what their concerns are and how we can work together,” Parson said.

The meeting between Parson, Stenger, and Belmar went just over 90 minutes. They talked about crime, Metro, and they had a positive story to relate.

“With respect for public safety in the county, the state of public safety is very good currently,” Stenger said.

Chief Belmar said travel on Metro has become safer in the last year, even though police were investigating a recent attack by six suspects who allegedly kicked and punched a Metro rider.

“Crime in St. Louis County on Metro is down 47 percent. Crime on Metro in St. Clair County it’s down 46 percent. In St. Louis, it’s down 22 percent,” Belmar said.

The chief said perception about the transportation system is lagging reality. The governor says he plans to soon appoint members to the Metro board.

The county executive and governor also talked about jobs, including bringing more work to Boeing.

Stenger's political opponent in the next election, Mark Mantovani, has a different opinion. He released a statement Wednesday, saying that Metrolink ridership has dropped more than 16 percent since 2014. He said that's because people are afraid to ride over safety concerns.