Aug 03

A Message from the County Executive: The Next Four Years

Posted on August 3, 2022 at 2:27 PM by County Executive

I am humbled to be elected to serve as your County Executive for a fifth term. Thank you to all who voted for me, and for your support and confidence. I very much look forward to serving the people of St. Charles County for another four years. 

I was asked not long ago what my plans would be for the next four years, if re-elected. My answer was the same as it has been for the past 16 years: to ensure St. Charles County remains a safe and healthy place to live, work and raise a family; to assist our schools in any way we can so they continue to be top-notch; to provide our businesses with tools they need to be successful; and to make certain our county grows rich in all ways.

As St. Charles County continues to grow, there will be more challenges and we will continue to meet them head on. Our roads and bridges will continue to be improved and expanded; our police department will continue to be vigilant on crime and violence; and we will continue to fight the battle of opioid use and abuse.

Over the past 15 years, our Parks system has grown by more than 70 percent. We owned 2,453 acres of parkland in 2007, and today, we have 4,197. I tell people that St. Louis County has a wonderful parks system and that my goal is to have as many acres per capita as they do. The problem is, we keep growing so fast that it’s difficult to keep up!

St. Charles County Parks & Recreation is celebrating its 25th year this year and we just opened our 18th park, thanks to a local use tax passed by voters in 1997 for the sole purpose of park land acquisition, development, operations, and maintenance. We have land for three others in reserve, so watch for more great places to play, relax, and learn in the future.

Again, I look forward to the next four years. I’m certainly up for all the challenges that will only serve to make us better, and I’m certain all of you are as well.

Jul 01

A Message from the County Executive: ARPA Funds for School Resource Officers

Posted on July 1, 2022 at 4:44 PM by County Executive

The St. Charles County Council recently approved using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to place School Resource Officers (SROs) in elementary schools in unincorporated areas of the county for the 2022-2023 school year. I am grateful for their approval and the ability to provide extra protection to our youngest school-age children.

Under our current contract with the school districts, SROs are in unincorporated area high schools and most middle schools – nine of 23 schools. With this funding, we are extending our SRO placement to include every school in unincorporated St. Charles County, Augusta Elementary School (Washington School District), and schools in Dardenne Prairie and Weldon Spring (which contract with St. Charles County for police services).

School districts normally share the cost of the resource officers. However, the ARPA funding provides that funds can be spent to combat violence and in view of the nationwide danger to schools of this violence, the provision allows the County to provide 14 additional officers at no cost to the districts. The County is looking at resources to continue this funding past 2023.

While SRO programs have been around since the 1950s, they didn’t become widespread until the late 1990s. St. Charles County’s SRO program started during the 1995-96 school year, when fears nationally were centered around violence and drug use in schools. Since that horrendous day in Columbine, Colorado, in 1999, school shootings have been on the rise. Statistics show there have been 27 school shootings with injuries or deaths this year, the latest being in May at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. Officers now are responding to incidents where violent individuals with assault weapons are entering schools with the intent to kill.

Every police officer in St. Charles County – including SROs – receive Multi-Assault, Counter Terrorism Action Capabilities, or MACTAC, training. This rigorous training places officers in a variety of scenarios that are as true-to-life as possible to make certain they can stop an active shooter in any situation. School scenarios are included in the 10 hours of intense training. The officers are reminded that incidents are spontaneous and that suspects are unpredictable and could be heavily armed.

Citizens, teachers, and nonprofit agencies also have benefitted from active shooter training. Many have gone through four hours of 4E School Training: Educate, Escape, Evade and Engage – or Run, Hide, Fight – taught by the St. Charles County Police Department.

Throughout my years of service as your County Executive, one of my top priorities has been to provide a safe place for people to live, work and play in St. Charles County. Now, more than ever, it is important to make certain citizens remain safe. With these new resource officers, and the active shooter training we are providing in the community, I feel confident our police officers are prepared should an active shooter incident occur anywhere in the county.

Jun 01

A Message from the County Executive: The Dardenne Creek Blueway

Posted on June 1, 2022 at 8:16 AM by County Executive

I had an opportunity to check out the new Dardenne Creek Blueway recently, and I recommend it to all kayakers and canoers out there! St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano and County Councilwoman Nancy Schneider joined me, and we toured this new water way. While it’s just a 3.5-mile jaunt, it connects the County’s Riverside Landing Park to the City of St. Peters’ 370 Lakeside Park where there are numerous activities for those who love to be outdoors. 

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