Officials Look for Community Support in Police Chief Search

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The Public Safety Committee in the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is planning hearings on the search for a new police chief.

Aldermanic President Lewis Reed says ordinary citizens want to testify about the type of chief that’s needed.

“It will give us an opportunity to make sure that we hear from people all across the city, what is important in selecting a new chief and what kind of police department they’d like to see evolve from it,” he says.

Related story: Dotson Out As St. Louis Police Chief

Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office says they’re finalizing a list of people to sit on a search committee — young, old, black, white — to act as liaisons to the community about the process.

An announcement about the search process could come later this week.

Meanwhile, interim chief Lawrence O’Toole says it’s not just a new chief that’s needed, but a new attitude from the community about working with the police.

“The police aren’t in this alone. We need the community to come forth, we need the community to be witnesses and tell us what happened, and we really need the community to be willing to come in and to sit on juries and convict the criminals,” he says. “I can arrest criminals, but if I can’t get convictions for whatever reason, the criminals get a release.”

O’Toole says officers are eager for the city to come up with money to close the pay gap between St. Louis city and county, but even so, he says most city cops are committed to their jobs, their neighborhoods and making the city better.

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