Heather Ratcliffe
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 10, 2009

St. Louis — Federal agents are joining with city police to form a new team aimed at stopping murders and other violent crimes by zeroing in on those most likely to commit them.

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Police Chief Dan Isom announced the new Violent Offender’s Unit on Friday, calling it a historic relationship between local and federal authorities.

Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington said in an interview Friday that such partnerships can produce great results.

“Everyone brings different assets to the table. When you have them working together, you get the best of both worlds,” Wexler said. “It could have a pretty profound effect on crime in the city of St. Louis.”

Setting up the unit was among Isom’s first priorities when he took over as police chief in October, he said.

Overall, violent crime in the city dropped 3.5 percent last year, he said, but homicides increased by 21 percent. St. Louis ended the year with 167 murders, the highest number since 204 people were slain in 1995.

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