After almost five years of preparation, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department celebrated its move to new headquarters at 1915 Olive St. with a ceremonial march and ribbon-cutting Saturday.
Because the former headquarters at 1200 Clark Ave. needed $70 million in repairs, the department opted to find a new building instead. The former A.G. Edwards building was purchased in 2011 using $2.7 million in asset forfeiture funds, and the St. Louis Police Foundation contributed $3 million for renovations.
Since 1962, the city of St. Louis has, by state law, had nine police districts.
Reducing that number has been a priority of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson since he took the job last January. In April, voters turned control of the police department back to the city, giving Dotson the authority to make that change - one he said made based on the data.
Since 4:00 a.m. today, officers have been patrolling in six districts instead of nine.
Check out your neighborhood's crime stats with the interactive map below.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department presented their crime statistics to the city's public safety committee today. And even though the raw numbers show overall crime was down in 2013 compared to 2012, some aldermen say their residents don't care about the numbers if they don't feel safe.
Police Chief Sam Dotson, left, and Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce look on as Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson talks about the city's "no refusal" policy with drunk drivers. Prosecutors will now seek warrants to draw blood if somebody refuses a breath test.
The end of state control of the St. Louis Police Department was literally centuries in the making. But St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the change hasn’t been obvious to city residents.
And that, he said, is a good thing.
“Local control has been a significant step for the metropolitan police department,” Dotson said. “And really, you haven’t noticed anything. It’s been seamless and transparent like it was supposed to be.”
After an increase in robberies and burglaries in South St. Louis, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson sent extra forces into three neighborhoods Monday as part of continued hot-spot policing efforts.
"Hot-spot policing is the way we do business," said Dotson. "What it does is takes resources and puts them in neighborhoods that have seen an increase in crime or problems that I'm trying to stem."
St. Louis City is currently ranked as the fourth most dangerous city in the nation by CQ Press, based on FBI reports of the number of crimes committed in 2011. But according to St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Sam Dotson and University of Missouri-St. Louis criminology professor Richard Rosenfeld, those numbers fail to tell the whole story.
It’s been a good first six months on the job for St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson when it comes to crime numbers.
Compared to the same period last year, overall crime in the city is down more than 7 percent in the first half of 2013. Crimes against persons, like homicides and assaults, are down 20 percent. And most crimes are trending well below five-year averages, though Dotson says he is concerned about an uptick in burglaries in recent weeks.