Dan Isom

Protesters are greeted by lines of state and county police during a demonstration march on the Ferguson police station on August 11, 2014.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

An upcoming conference on Ferguson has promised “not to re-litigate the past,” but organizers instead hope to draw lessons for the future on both the rights of protesters and the difficult job that police officers face when they put on their uniforms each day. “The Ethics of Ferguson – Policing, Prosecuting, and Protesting” is the name of the conference, which will take place at Harris-Stowe State University on Friday, Nov. 20.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's proposal would impliment minimum standards for police departments to follow. If they don't meet those benchmarks, Stenger's office could effectively disband departments.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Update with response from Municipal League - The umbrella organization for the cities, towns and villages in St. Louis County are turning thumbs down on a proposal by the county executive that could lead to loss of control over their police departments. St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger wants municipal police departments to hit certain training, hiring and operational benchmarks. And if they don’t meet them, his administration could effectively force cities to contract with other agencies.

The Ferguson Commission's final report paints a stark picture of a region divided by race. It suggests a host of policy changes to law enforcement, education and economic development.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Ferguson Commission’s final report provides an unvarnished look at how a racially divided St. Louis underserves African-Americans. The report provides a host of recommendations to transform how the region polices and educates itself — and its most vulnerable citizens.

Karen Aroesty and Dan Isom joined "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio


There have been many suggestions on improving policing in our region since the unrest in Ferguson. One of the issues that has come to light is the need for changes in police training, specifically diversity training.

UMSL criminology professor and former St. Louis police chief Dan Isom, and Anti-Defamation League director Karen Aroesty joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to talk about issues with police training including the latest recommendations from the Ferguson Commission.

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

Gov. Jay Nixon's office confirmed late Wednesday that former St. Louis Police Chief Daniel Isom was stepping down from his new job as director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

Nixon chose Isom last fall, amid the unrest in Ferguson. The former chief was only confirmed in January. Isom's decision to step down touched off unrest in the state Capitol, with allies blaming the governor for Isom's swift exit.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

(Updated at 4:29 p.m., Thurs., Jan. 22.)

The Missouri Senate voted today to confirm former St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom as the head of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

The vote was 31-2.

State senators had held up the vote because of questions related to a discrimination suit when he was St. Louis' chief of police.

Read our earlier story below:

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

At the second meeting of the Ferguson Commission, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson was supposed to make a multi-faceted presentation on policing – and what changes were being contemplated for his department.

But Dotson’s plans changed in a hurry. He faced intense public antagonism at Monday’s meeting, which focused on the relationship between citizens and police.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay (right) and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley (left) meet the press on Friday. Slay told reporters that police and protesters are talking in advance of a grand jury decision regarding Ferguson Police officer Darren Wil
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

With the St. Louis region on edge before a grand jury decides Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson’s fate, the leaders of St. Louis and St. Louis County are preparing for protests. 

Appearing before dozens of reporters in Clayton, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said that there have been talks between police officials and protests groups.

Ferguson public safety press conference, 11-11-14. Belmar, Dotson, Ron Johnson, Isom, Bret Johnson, Replogle
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has pledged zero tolerance for violence in anticipation of protests when the grand jury investigating the August shooting death of Michael Brown releases its decision later this month. But he and law enforcement officials at a Tuesday press conference made it clear that they want to protect both protesters and others' safety and property. 

An audience member shows Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III a rubber bullet wound that he says he received during unrest in the north St. Louis County city. A forum sponsored by St. Louis Public Radio became heated, with ire being directed at Knowles.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

A forum Thursday evening peering into Ferguson’s longstanding tensions as well as the St. Louis region’s racial divisions became angry and heated, with most of a crowd’s ire directed at the town’s mayor.

Audience members expressed searing criticism of Ferguson’s governance and leadership, both of which have come under fire since one of the Ferguson's police officers shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Dan Isom, left, is introduced by Gov. Jay Nixon as the new Missouri public safety director.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has nominated former St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom to be the state’s new public-safety director, a move that will put Isom in charge of a number of diverse state agencies – from the Highway Patrol to the Gaming Commission.

Isom served 24 years on the St. Louis police force, and retired as chief 18 months ago. He holds doctoral degrees in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he has served as a professor for the past year.

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

What lessons can be learned from the killing of Michael Brown and its aftermath in Ferguson?

For three hours Wednesday night, several panels discussed that question and more at “A community in turmoil,” a symposium at Harris-Stowe State University. Not surprisingly, given the setting, a lot of the answers had to do with education, on campus and on the streets.

And in many cases, speakers said it will be the young teaching the old, not the other way around.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The praise was widespread, and the plaques and gifts many on Tuesday as local, state and federal law enforcement agencies gathered at the headquarters of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to pay tribute to Chief Dan Isom.

Isom is retiring in January to take a position with the criminology department at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Isom, who has been chief since October 2008, has his bachelor's, masters and doctorate from the school.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners met for the first time since the retirement announcement of Police Chief Dan Isom.  Foremost on the boards’ agenda was establishing a process for vetting and interviewing potential candidates for chief.

Commissioner Richard Gray says the board plans to take a number of steps, similar to those taken when hiring a corporate CEO.  Including such things as a psychological examination to determine leadership skills, looking at old tax returns, and also engaging the public.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom announced on Monday that he will be stepping down as chief by the end of the year.  Isom will join the faculty of the Department of Criminology at the University of Missouri—St. Louis.

Isom, 45, took over as chief four years ago following the resignation of Joe Mokwa, who was linked to an illegal tow-lot scandal.

Speaking on UMSL’s campus, Isom said it was hard to move on after 24 years in the department, but the opportunity to teach at his alma mater was too good to ignore.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis Police Department is using a new strategy to curb crime.

Aggravated assaults with firearms are up about 20 percent so far this year over last year.

The police department recently began working with University of Missouri-St. Louis criminology professor Rick Rosenfeld to reduce violent crime.

St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom says the new strategy is to flood high-crime areas with officers during evening hours.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

Seeking to reassure the public that St. Louis City is taking action to curb a recent spate of gun-related crime, City Hall announced on Monday several measures designed to target problem neighborhoods.

Police Chief Dan Isom has isolated 12 focus neighborhoods, 8 of which are located in North St. Louis, 2 in central city and 2 in the south.

Starting last weekend Isom says he is also shifting work schedules to move officers from day to evening patrol.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

A network of street cameras designed to curb crime is getting some attention in St. Louis City Hall.

21st Ward alderman Antonio French claims the cameras have reduced violent crime in his north city ward by 80 percent.

“When we had 14 homicides in 2010, what had happened was that this was an area where criminals felt they could operate without fear of being arrested or being held to account,” French said. “The cameras changed that.”

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis Board of Commissioners have approved a plan to reduce the number of city police districts.

The city currently operates a total of nine districts that were established back in 1962.

But Police Chief Dan Isom says the department had twice as many officers back then and more than twice the number of citizens to serve.

“In the last 30 years we’ve lost about 1,000 officers,” Isom said.  We used to have 2,200 officers, now we’re down to about 1,300 officers.  But the slots for those command structures are still the same.”

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Police chief outlines plan to preserve patrol officers despite cuts

The St. Louis police chief says he’ll reduce the department’s command structure and turn some desk jobs currently held by officers over to civilians in an effort to blunt the impact of budget cuts.

Chief Dan Isom unveiled his budget plan to a Board of Aldermen committee yesterday.