ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – And then there were six — that’s the number of candidates remaining for the position of St. Louis police chief.
They gathered Thursday night at SLU Law School downtown to discuss issues such as troubled race relations, gun violence and other problems faced daily by the city police department.
Not having a good night was interim St. Louis police chief Lawrence O’Toole, who was greeted by protesters sprinkled throughout the crowd of 200 or so every time he tried to answer one of the questions posed to each candidate.
The demonstrators sang their own versions of classic holiday songs, putting a twist on them such as “All Police Want Is A White Christmas,” and at several points shouted down O’Toole with their demands for him to voluntarily leave the race.
He was eventually able to get in a couple of words edgewise.
“The first thing that I’m going to do is have a community survey to find out what are the issues,” O’Toole pledged. “We already know a lot of issues but to find out exactly what the issues are and how we can go about fixing them.”
Meantime other candidates, like Norman Oklahoma Police Chief Keith Humphrey, were trying to build a strong case for themselves.
“I’m positive for change, I have vision for change,” Humphrey said. “I’m also a realist and if we work together, we can make it happen. That’s what I believe.”
Mjr. Stephen “Max” Geron with the Dallas Texas Police Department provided this answer to one of the questions dealing with racist beliefs or actions.
“I would tell my officers that if you have the desire to express some sort of racist message, it’s time to leave, it’s time to go,” he insisted. “It will not be tolerated … it will not be condoned in the slightest fashion.”
The remaining six candidates include three internal to the department and three from outside St. Louis, and also break down like this: Four African-Americans and 2 Caucasians, one woman and five men.
Here is a list of the final six candidates, listed in alphabetical order:
- Mary Edwards-Fears – St. Louis, MO
Mary Edwards-Fears currently serves as a Captain commanding Evidence Management and Professional Standards for the City of St. Louis, a position she has held since 2015. She has a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree from Webster University.
- Stephen Geron – Dallas, TX
Stephen Geron currently is as a Major serving as the Executive Officer in the Southeast Patrol Division in the Dallas Police Department, a position he has held since September 2016. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences from Midwestern State University.He has served as a Major since 2014 and is a 25 year veteran of the Dallas Police Department.
- John Hayden – St. Louis, MO
John Hayden currently serves as a Major commanding the North Patrol Division in the City of St. Louis. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Arts in Management from Fontbonne. He is a 30 year veteran of the St. Louis Police Department.
- Keith Humphrey – Norman, OK
Keith Humphrey currently serves as the Chief of the Norman Police Department, a position he has held since 2011. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University and a Master of Business Administration from Amberton University. Prior to this position, he served as the Chief of Police of Lancaster, TX from 2008-2011.
- Patrick Melvin – Port Arthur, TX
Patrick Melvin currently serves as the Chief of Police for Port Arthur, a position he has held since May 2016. He has a Bachelor of Science from Arizona State University and a Master of Education from Northern Arizona University. Prior to this position, he served as the Police Chief for the Salt River Police Department in Arizona from 2011-2016. He also served as the Chief of Police of Maricopa, Arizona from 2006 to 2009.
- Lawrence O’Toole – St. Louis, MO
Lawrence O’Toole currently serves as the Interim Police Chief for the City of St. Louis, a position he has held since April 2017. He has a Bachelor of Science from Southeast Missouri State University and a Master of Business Administration from Lindenwood University. He has served in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for 33 years.
These candidates were selected from a larger pool of 42 applicants for the position. All applications were reviewed by the Citizens Advisory Committee appointed by the Mayor, the City’s Personnel Department, and an independent search firm contracted by the City (the International Association of Chiefs of Police). The top six candidates were selected after interviews with the search firm, the CAC, and successful completion of a management test administered by the Personnel Department. The final six candidates will be interviewed by Mayor Krewson and Department of Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards. The Mayor and Director Edwards will make the final decision and offer the position to the selected candidate.