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A Statewide Witness Protection Program is Off to a Slow Start

A statewide witness protection program lauded as a key accomplishment of the Missouri Legislature’s 2020 special session on crime has been slow getting started.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch says the program set aside $1 million to help witnesses, but months into its launch only one $116 claim has been paid. The Pretrial Witness Protection Services Fund was passed by the Missouri General Assembly in September and put under the oversight of the Missouri Department of Public Safety to provide security for crime witnesses, potential witnesses, and their immediate families.

To participate, a law enforcement agency must submit an application to the department that includes why a person needs protection, the methods used for the protection, a statement of projected costs, and whether the person is expected to provide testimony or evidence in court.

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