Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)By Brett Blume

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – John Hayden, St. Louis’ new police chief, is putting together his plan for fighting crime and reducing the murder rate.

More than 200 people were gunned down on the streets of St. Louis in 2017.

Hayden told KMOX’s Mark Reardon that it all starts by making people feel safer when they visit downtown, also known as District 4.

“I believe that (those officers) are deployed property,” he noted. “I know that it’s got a separate bike unit, it’s got a separate foot-beat unit. And so some of that may just be a matter of putting persons in the right place during certain events. I think that could restore a lot of confidence.”

Another area on Chief Hayden’s radar is a crime-ridden section of north St. Louis, bordered on the east and west by Goodfellow and Vandeventer, and on the north and south by Dr. Martin Luther King and West Florissant.

“What I’m going to do is I’m going to have my supplemental resources, my special ops, my mobile reserve, my anti-crime units up in that area making the likelihood of contact with problem persons highly more likely,” Hayden said.

Before being named as chief last week, Hayden was in charge of the city police department’s North Patrol Division, which has a high crime rate.

“I have seen violent crime very close up,” he told Reardon. “I’ve had some successes … in other words, when people look at the crime rate they look at the city overall. So there have been some neighborhoods where I’ve had great successes in, and there have neighborhoods that I haven’t had as much success in.”

So why would anyone even want to have the job of St. Louis police chief in the first place?

Hayden explained that it’s always been his calling.

“Mayor Lyda Krewson mentioned her criteria for police chief,” he recalled. “She said she wanted someone with a stellar reputation and a proven track record who was both a good cop and a fair and inclusive individual with great leadership skills. I really felt that she was calling me when she said that, and I wanted to step up to the plate. I believe I can make a difference, I really do.”

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