ST. LOUIS-(KMOX)–Police Chief Dan Isom announces he’s leaving the department in January for a teaching position at his alma mater, the University of Missouri St. Louis.
Isom holds three degrees from UMSL, including a doctorate in criminology and criminal justice. Looking relaxed and happy, the Chief explained that he’s always had two driving passions — police work and teaching.
“We have to continue to attack violent crime in the city of St. Louis,” Isom said, “Over the past four years, I think we’ve done a good job. But we’ve got to get it to a point where the perception meets the reality of the numbers going down.”
In the fourth year of a five-year contract, Isom says his decision was not influenced by next month’s vote on Proposition-A, a statewide ballot measure that would transfer control of the police department from the governor to city hall. He says UMSL approached him, and it wasn’t the first job opportunity elsewhere he had as chief.
“This is perfect for me,” Isom said, “I don’t want to be the chief in Baltimore or Denver. I want to remain in my community.”
Giving his blessing at the news conference was Mayor Francis Slay, a member of the police board, who says he thought Isom could have stayed chief “as long as he wanted.”
Slay was asked about rumors that he will seek to install and interim chief, so that if Proposition-A passes, Slay could name a new chief on his own.
“That is total speculation. That is nothing I’ve ever said or indicated to anybody,” Slay said, “So, I will swat that down right now.”
Isom has pledged to work with the department to help find his replacement from within the ranks, and he says he will also campaign in support of Proposition-A.
Asked what he will miss the most, Isom says it’s the comradery of fighting crime with other officers.
“Each day as chief you’ve got to get up and think this is going to be the day crime goes away,” Isom said, “That we’re going to attack it every day. You’ve got to be that positive person.”
The chief also reflected on what he won’t miss about being the city’s top cop.
“I certainly won’t miss having to wake up and get a call that an officer was shot, or an officer died in the line of duty. Those had to be the most difficult times in the career.”
Slay says the police board will seek to name a replacement for Isom before he leaves in January.