Sam Dotson | St. Louis Public Radio

Sam Dotson

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson speaks with attendees before the start of a speech delivered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 31, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time in its history, the St. Louis Police Department can look beyond its ranks for a new chief, something that officers and community members say the city should take full advantage of.

“That person shouldn’t have any connection to the department,” according to Sgt. Heather Taylor, the president of the Ethical Society of Police, which represents officers of color.

Alderman Brandon Bosley, April 2017
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome Alderman Brandon Bosley to the program.

 

Bosley was recently sworn in as the alderman for the 3rd Ward, which takes in seven St. Louis neighborhoods in the north part of the city. He’s one of six new aldermen to join the Board after the 2017 election cycle.

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio | Katelyn Petrin

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson retired Wednesday, one day after Mayor Lyda Krewson took over. The news was welcomed by those who've been critical of the 47-year-old, including some Board of Aldermen members and the African-American officers' association.

 

"There will be a new direction. And there's new opportunity. In a new administration, you often change key folks," Krewson said.

 

Mayor Francis Slay and Police Chief Sam Dotson at a press conference on January 15, 2015, discussing six homicides in 13 hours.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

St. Louis' homicide level remained unchanged in 2016 compared with the previous year — 188. At the same time, aggravated assaults and other violent crimes were up and property crime was down, according to the latest crime statistics.

St. Louis' mayor and police chief on Tuesday touted an overall crime reduction of 4.1 percent, or 1,072 fewer incidents, in the last year. Compared to the peak crime year of 1993 when the city experienced 173 crimes per 1,000 people, last year saw 79 crimes per 1,000 residents.

People started a blue ribbon chain at St. Gabriel the Archangel Church near Francis Park to honor a police sergeant shot Nov. 20. The ribbon extended to Pernod and Hampton, where the shooting occurred.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 21 at 8  p.m. with video from Chief Dotson — St. Louis Metropolitan Police  officials say the suspect in the ambush of a police officer has been killed in a shootout. Chief Sam Dotson said 19-year-old George P. Bush III was shot hours after he pulled up beside a marked police car near the Hampton Village Shopping Center in south St. Louis and shot a 46-year-old police sergeant, who was released from the hospital Monday morning.

Chief Sam Dotson stl police 1.27.15
File photo | Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio intern

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson has ended his run for mayor, just more than a month after it began.

Dotson said in a statement emailed to reporters that he believed he could best serve the city and work to bring down crime by staying on as police chief. "Crime is the No. 1 issue in our city," the statement said. "To combat it, we need less politics, not more. We need fewer divisions and more collaboration."

Police chief Sam Dotson addresses Tower Grove South residents at a community meeting on December 12, 2014.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

An attempt by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen to record its discontent with a sitting police chief running for mayor fell short on Friday.

The resolution from Alderman Joe Roddy, D-17th Ward, got just 13 of the 15 votes it needs to pass. It calls on St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson to resign if he officially files to run for mayor in November. The chief announced earlier this month he would seek the office, being vacated after 16 years by Mayor Francis Slay.

August 2014 St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson
File photo | Bill Greenblatt |UPI

The decision by St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson to run for mayor without resigning his current post isn’t a very popular one.

Antonio French 2016 photo
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The race to be the next St. Louis mayor is getting more crowded.

A day after St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson jumped in the contest and St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones announced that she had filed paperwork to race money for a mayoral bid, St. Louis Alderman Antonio French revealed he too would seek to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio | Katelyn Petrin

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson has filed papers with the Missouri Ethics Commission to explore a possible bid for mayor, he confirmed to The American. Incumbent Mayor Francis Slay is not seeking reelection.

Dotson initially told The American there would be no announcement or social media campaign, and that he intends to quietly raise funds to conduct polls to see how competitive he would be. Then he released an announcement.

Protesters and police outside St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce's house on Tuesday, May 15, 2015.
Lawrence Bryant | St. Louis American

A St. Louis jury Wednesday found activist Elizabeth Vega guilty of wiping pepper spray on police Chief Sam Dotson’s shirt — which drew a third-degree assault charge against an officer — during a May 2015 protest.

Vega, who is the leader of the Artivists STL, faces up to one year in jail on the misdemeanor charge. Her sentencing hearing will be held on Nov. 21. Associate Circuit Judge Nicole Colbert Botchway allowed Vega to remain out on bond until sentencing.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed announced on Tuesday he's making another bid for mayor.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed is hoping the second time is the charm.

Reed announced on Tuesday morning that he would join the wide-open scramble to be St. Louis’ mayor. The three-term Democratic citywide officeholder ran for the post in 2013 and lost to Mayor Francis Slay.

Dotson Precautions Tweet
Provided by Twitter

The deadly ambush of police in Dallas is prompting law enforcement in the St. Louis area to take precautions to better protect officers.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson says he is taking steps to “maximize the safety of officers” throughout his department.

They include:

Ethical Society of Police president Sgt. Heather Taylor speaks to a forum on disparities in the St. Louis police and fire departments on July 7, 2016. Her organization has called on chief Sam Dotson to resign.
File photo | Wiley Price | St. Louis American

The organization representing black police officers in the city of St. Louis is demanding that St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson resign.

Sgt. Heather Taylor, the president of the Ethical Society of Police, made the demand Thursday night at a forum set up to tell people about the disparities in the police and fire departments.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson takes questions from Alderman Sam Moore (in hat), D., 4th Ward, at a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee on June 1, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people who produced them and contributed to them.

This week, we discussed public outcry about public safety in St. Louis, the NGA announcement and the Illinois budget situation after Illinois’ spring legislative session closed on Tuesday.

Here’s who joined us:

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson takes questions from Alderman Sam Moore (in hat), D., 4th Ward, at a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee on June 1, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Aldermen in charge of St. Louis' budget heard more requests Wednesday from department officials who say they can't do the jobs they should without additional staffing.

Representatives of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the circuit attorney's office and recorder of deeds Sharon Carpenter all asked members of the Ways and Means Committee to find the money for additional positions. The St. Louis Fire Department made a similar request last week.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

St. Louis aldermen used a meeting of the city's Public Safety Committee on Tuesday to blast the crime-fighting policies of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson.

"It is important that we make a distinction between criticism of the chief and the leadership and criticism of the officers on the streets," said Alderman Antonio French, D-21st Ward, and the vice chairman of the public safety committee. "Officers on the streets are just as frustrated. They can't say it publicly, but we hear it as aldermen."

Blues musician Bobby Rush, museum leaders and Mayor Francis Slay celebrate the opening of the National Blues Museum on Saturday, April 2, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

It was just a couple of weeks ago that St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay unequivocally told this reporter that he would run for a historic fifth term.

Now, the Democratic official has changed course and won’t be running for another four years in office. And that means next year’s mayoral contest could be a free-for-all of epic proportions.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers raise their weapons at a preshift meeting 3.23.15
File photo | Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department likely won't be wearing body cameras until sometime next year.

A 90-day pilot program with about 70 sergeants wraps up next week, St. Louis Chief Sam Dotson told the city's public safety committee on Thursday. He'll then get feedback from the officers involved and the public, and decide whether to sit down and negotiate a camera policy with the St. Louis Police Officers' Association.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson and Mayor Francis Slay discuss the 2015 crime numbers on Monday, Jan 11, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Crime in the city of St. Louis went up from 2014 to 2015, driven by a nearly 8 percent spike in crimes against persons.

"One hundred and eighty-eight people lost their lives to senseless and destructive violence the city of St. Louis in the past year," said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. "Overall crime was up 2 percent over the previous year. None of these deaths were warranted, and neither of those numbers are acceptable."

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