By Alex Fees
St. Louis County (KSDK) - St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says as soon as Friday night, armed, undercover police officers may replace pizza delivery drivers on certain delivery calls.
The action comes in response to two Imo's Pizza delivery drivers being killed during robberies this year.
The latest shooting happened early Tuesday in Dellwood. Brian Johnson, 39, was found dead in his car. He had been robbed of his cell phone and the pizzas he was delivering.
In May another Imo's driver wasrobbed and shot while delivering to a home in Hillsdale.
Chief Fitch said his department reached out to Imo's, about an educational campaign to help keep drivers safe by making them more aware of their surroundings.
"We've already had contact with one of the large pizza delivery companies in St. Louis, who has agreed to allow us to actually have undercover officers making delivery in some cases. So when you order pizza in some areas of the county, and it could be as soon as this weekend, you don't know who is delivering. It could be a police officer delivering that pizza."
Chief Fitch said high-risk delivery calls have common characteristics. He said his undercover officers frequently encounter similar dangerous situations when dealing with drug dealers.
"For example are they using a cell phone?" he said. "Is it a first time call from a cell phone? Are they calling to a certain location only and robbing at that location? Those are the things our intelligence analysts will put together and decide how we're going to react and when we're actually going to use our decoy officers to make the deliveries."
Fitch said his department is in touch with Imo's but plans to make the program available to other pizza chains, as well.