ST. LOUIS • A Florissant city councilman was arrested last week in St. Louis and charged with patronizing prostitution, police said Thursday.
Timothy M. Jones, 47, of the 800 block of Daniel Boone Drive in Florissant, was arrested in south St. Louis the morning of Oct. 8. The person he allegedly solicited was an undercover police officer.
It is an ordinance violation, punishable by up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail. Typically, violators pay a fine and avoid jail time.
Jones did not reply to phone calls and emails from the Post-Dispatch seeking comment Thursday morning.
According to a police report, Jones was driving a Ford Fusion when he pulled up alongside a woman at about 11:30 a.m. Oct. 8. The woman was an undercover officer who was working in the area of South Broadway and West Steins Street.
The report says Jones asked her several times if she was a police officer. He said he was nervous.
The undercover officer walked away. (The undercover officer's name was blacked out in a police report released to a Post-Dispatch reporter on Thursday.) Jones stayed at the scene for about 10 minutes and then approached her again. He showed her a $20 bill and said he wanted sex, police say.
The conversation was being recorded, and Police Sgt. Steve Schwerb was listening nearby. Officers swooped in and arrested Jones at 7621 South Broadway. When police told Jones he was being arrested, he said nothing about his alleged crime, the report says.
Maggie Crane, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office, said the arrest was part of undercover stings police have been running since April in the area of South Grand and South Broadway in response to neighbor complaints.
"It's a quality-of-life issue," Crane said, "so police have dedicated time and resources to tackling prostitution."
"Prostitutes are vulnerable citizens in our society and we want to protect them," she said. "We want to help the women involved and to send a message that this behavior would not be tolerated in our city."
The city ordinance requires violators who are put on probation to submit to a blood test to determine the presence of a sexually transmitted disease.
Mayor Thomas P. Schneider declined to answers questions from a reporter. He would only read a prepared statement that read, in part: ""We believe Mr. Jones is entitled to due process as is any citizen in our nation of law. This allegation deserves careful legal scrutiny. I prefer to refrain from further comment until a legal decision has been reached."
The nine councilmembers in Florissant serve three-year terms and are each paid $11,568 annually.
Jones represents the 2nd Ward on the Florissant City Council. In April, he defeated incumbent John Grib. Jones is a longtime member of Operating Engineers Local 513. Jones told a local newspaper before the municipal election that, if elected, one of his goals would be to look into more lighting for safety reasons.
According to Missouri court records, Jones has a previous conviction for drunken driving in St. Louis County. He pleaded guilty of driving with an excessive blood-alcohol content in 1990. He paid a $300 fine. Two years later, he pleaded guilty of driving while his license was suspended or revoked, and he paid a $100 fine, according to court records.