100th Day in Office: Mayor Krewson on St. Louis Police, Chief Search

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The first 100 days in office — St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, marking that occasion, says being mayor has taught her to go with the flow.

“When you get up and you get to the office, you think you know what you’re going to do that day, but you don’t always know. You know, there may have been an emergency overnight,” she says, using the recent Clemens house fire as an example. “That wasn’t something that was on our list.”

Krewson says her priorities include hiring a new police chief — a process that could take until the end of the year — and helping win voter approval of a sales tax hike on the November ballot to generate more money for police.

St. Louis Police Chief

Kansas City, Missouri, started looking for a new police chief in March, and it’s now down to two finalists.

St. Louis has been looking for a new chief since April, and Krewson says we’ve only just begun.

“We think we’ll have a new chief in place around the end of the year,” she says. “It’ll be a while, you know, we’ve got to hire the search firm; we’re going to take our time.”

Two community-wide meetings have been held to gather public input on the city’s next police chief.

Krewson says right now, they’re trying to hire a search firm to help look for a new chief. In the meantime, she says she has full confidence in interim Chief Lawrence O’Toole.

Sales Tax Hike for Police

St. Louis city voters in November will consider a half-cent sales tax hike for police pay that would saddle the city with one of the highest sales tax rates in the country — near 10 percent.

How does the mayor feel about that?

“I am concerned about it,” Krewson says. “I think, ideally, our sales tax would not be as high as it is, but I also think that in this job, you don’t get the luxury of not doing something,” she says. “It’ll be two to three dollars for a family, per month.”

She says the extra money would provide about a $10,000 raise for police.

National Urban League Conference

Krewson also spoke this morning at the National Urban League Conference, touching on the sweltering conditions of a medium-security workhouse on Hall Street.

She begins speaking around the 8:15 minute mark.

“Last week finally, we put our heads together, and with a bunch of repairs and some money, we moved temporary air conditioning into that space,” Krewson said. “I say that because, for 51 years, I’m sure folks thought about that, but we actually have to move on these ideas that we know we need to accomplish.”

Krewson told the audience that too many young people are sitting in jail for months at a time because they can’t make bail, saying we have to make the criminal justice system stop criminalizing poor people.

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