Sam Dotson

Rick Rosenfeld and Sam Dotson
Alex Heuer

This week’s shooting of a police officer in the Central West End underscores the fact that crime continues to be a big problem in the area.

As of July 14, St. Louis City’s homicide rate is on pace to exceed the number of homicides in 2014.

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

Updated with arrests - St. Louis police have arrested three individuals in connection with the shooting Tuesday morning of an off-duty officer in the Central West End.

Police chief Sam Dotson says officers had to use a Taser on one individual who was arrested in Maplewood. A fourth man remains at large, but Dotson says the department knows who they are looking for.

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

Funding to put additional police on the St. Louis streets likely won't go to voters until November.

The city's public safety committee took more than three hours of testimony Wednesday on the measures that set up the funding mechanisms for the new officers. But in the end, lawmakers took no action, which likely scuttles the hope of Mayor Francis Slay to ask voters for their approval in August.

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

St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson plans to develop a new website that would rank judges by how often they give probation to people facing certain lower-level felony gun charges.

Judge Jimmie Edwards swears in members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. The ceremony had to be moved outside after a bomb scare at City Hall.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When Alderman Jack Coatar entered a hotly contested Board of Aldermen contest, his end goal was being sworn into office in the middle of April.

But it’s unlikely that the 7th Ward Democrat envisioned his inauguration would transpire like it did on Tuesday.

Chief Sam Dotson addresses officers on JAnuary 26, 2015
Katelyn Petrin/St. Louis Public Radio

Saying it's time to get back police back into the neighborhoods, St. Louis Metropolitan police chief Sam Dotson on Monday launched the first of three so-called "hot spots" -- or additional patrols designed to combat areas experiencing an uptick in crime.   

For the next week or so, officers from city-wide units will help patrol the Carr Square, St. Louis Place and Old North neighborhoods north and west of downtown. Officers have been told by their commanders to be visible and to focus on arresting people, even for minor crimes.

Alderman Antonio French said regular updates from St. Louis Police chief Sam Dotson would increase police accountability.
Joseph Michael Leahy

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Public Safety Committee wants monthly updates from Police Chief Sam Dotson on the status of his department and crime in the city.

Committee members agreed Wednesday morning to request the updates as an interim solution while they work to establish a more permanent system of accountability. The police department has been under local control since 2013 after the city gained oversight from a state board.

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

Updated January 6, 2015, at 1:15 PM:

A federal judge is extending a court order that requires police to provide sufficient warning before using tear gas to give lawful protesters a chance to leave.

U.S. District Court Judge Carol Jackson on Tuesday gave attorneys representing protesters and police 45 days to continue what one lawyer called “good faith” settlement discussions on policy changes regarding the use of tear gas. Both sides met on Monday and participated in a conference call, and agreed more time was needed.

A St. Louis police officer will be disciplined for wearing a "Wilson" patch on his uniform, Chief Sam Dotson said Friday.
Rebecca Smith

A St. Louis police officer will face discipline for wearing a patch on his uniform seemingly in support of former Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson, during a downtown protest Friday.

An officer with the last name of Coats was seen wearing an arm patch that read "Wilson" during a protest against the grand jury decision not to indict Wilson for August's fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

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 Police Chief Sam Dotson, left, and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar prepare for an interview on "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio on Nov. 14, 2014.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

 When St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar stopped by “St. Louis on the Air” on Friday, part of a weeklong media tour, they sought to stress that they have a plan and that their departments were working with protesters and community members.

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. 

Protest on 10-9-14, probably along Flora place
Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has begun encrypting its radio transmissions after a night of unrest in south St. Louis.  

St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson listens as state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed announces her plans to introduce legislation mandating 10 years in prison for gun crimes in Missouri.
Rachel Lippmann I St. Louis Public Radio.

A state senator from the city of St. Louis wants individuals who commit gun crimes in Missouri to face what she sees as an appropriate punishment.

"Those with violent crimes and those with gun crimes - they will serve 10 years in prison if we can pass this legislation," state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said Tuesday at a press conference with Mayor Francis Slay and police chief Sam Dotson. "What we're saying is enough is enough."

Video provided by St. Louis Metropolitan Police

Updated at 5:15 p.m. with comments from Chief Sam Dotson, Jeff Roorda, and Ald. Dionne Flowers.

On Tuesday, two officers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shot and killed Kajieme Powell, who was 25 years old.

(St. Louis Public Radio file photo)

Like many cities around the country, St. Louis is dealing with the ongoing problem of urban crime. Just over half-way through the year, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson says overall crime is down over 11 percent, and violent crime is down almost 6 percent. Overall crime in the city is down almost 50 percent since 2006.

“We have many fewer crimes now than we did just five years ago,” Dotson said Wednesday. With one noticeable exception.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

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.

(St. Louis Metropolitan Police)

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.

(via Wikimedia Commons/J. Pelkonen)

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.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson (L) and St. Louis Circut Attorney Jennifer Joyce look on as St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson talks to reporters about the city's "no refusal" policy with drunk drivers. Prosecutors will now seek warrants to draw bloo
Bill Greenblatt/UPI

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.”

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