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The trouble is that when you increase police patrols said patrols invariably end up encountering far too many black people violating the law and arresting same. This disparate impact is racist of course and makes every right-thinking person morally outraged. Now if the authorities could just figure out how to suppress crime in our cities without arresting black people that would really be an advance in social justice.


Sgt. Brad Sevier conducts a traffic stop along Interstate 70 in St. Louis. “I don’t see how it can be detrimental having more law enforcement in an area that really needs more policing,” he said. (Whitney Curtis/For The Washington Post)

With rising homicides in big cities, Republican governors intensify police patrols

ST. LOUIS — Sgt. Brad Sevier usually patrols an area of Missouri where there is one farm for every 20 residents. Now the Missouri state trooper commutes an hour to patrol the big city.

On orders from Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, Sevier and about two dozen troopers have laid claim to St. Louis highways that slice through some of America’s most dangerous neighborhoods, a move that has sparked concern among residents wary of heavy policing. It’s the first time in decades that state troopers have patrolled the city, Greitens said.

“We are looking for anything,” Sevier said shortly before pulling over a motorist for an expired license plate near downtown. “I don’t see how it can be detrimental having more law enforcement in an area that really needs more policing.”

Greitens dispatched the Missouri Highway Patrol last month amid a surge in shootings and assaults in St. Louis, part of a nationwide trend of rising violence in some large cities. The killings have rattled neighborhoods and embarrassed city officials, who tend to be Democrats. But now governors — who tend to be Republicans — are sending in their troops to fight urban crime, reopening historical tensions.

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