Sam Dotson

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.”

(St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept.)

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 Metropolitan Police Dept.)

After a series of car break-ins two weeks ago during Loufest, St. Louis Police say they are making crime prevention a priority at this weekend's Great Forest Park Balloon Race.

The event will be monitored by both uniformed and plain clothes officers. They’ll be using technology like cameras, license plate readers, and spike strips.

St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson pointed out that, despite the recent break-ins, crime is down almost 6 percent in St. Louis City in the year, and violent crime is down 18 percent. 

(St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says he’s frustrated and disappointed after learning a black officer received a racist letter through interdepartmental mail.

Dotson has ordered internal and criminal investigations after learning about the letter last week.

(via Flickr/raleighwoman)

Though crime overall continues to drop in the city of St. Louis, the city’s police department remains concerned about an ongoing spike in car break-ins .

Larcenies are up 2 percent across the city compared to last year, driven by a 7.5 percent jump in car break-ins across the same period.

Read the complete crime report here.

(St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept.)

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.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

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.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The bomb and arson units in St. Louis city and County are joining forces on July 1 - the latest merger between the two largest police departments in the region.

The 10 officers will still be employees of their own departments, but will now respond to calls throughout the region in two, eight-hour shifts. The arrangement, said St. Louis city police chief Sam Dotson, should almost eliminate overtime costs.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A minister and a civil rights group are credited with pulling together what’s being described as the first city-county effort to focus on addressing crime, building trust and reducing conflict among young people, and improving the quality of life in underserved communities.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Advocates for bicyclists and pedestrians say they want to make 2013 the year Missouri passes a law banning texting while driving for everyone behind the wheel.

But those advocates, along with mass transit, city police and Missouri Department of Transportation officials also pushed all users of the road to take personal responsibility as they kicked off the second annual Safe Roads for All campaign on Monday.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The move to a new building for the St. Louis Police Department is going to be more expensive than first thought.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that bids came in more than $1.6 million over expectations. Now, the move will be delayed until early next year - nearly a year later than the original estimate.
 

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

Quite a bit - city leaders say.

Crews from four St. Louis city departments are flooding a north city neighborhood this week in an ongoing effort to tackle its crime problem.

The influx of resources from the streets, building, forestry and health departments follows two weeks of stepped-up police presence known as “hot-spot policing."

(St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department)

Sam Dotson is the new chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

He comes to the position after spending about twenty years with the Department.

Dotson joined host Don Marsh for a wide-ranging discussion.  They talked about taking the reins of the St. Louis Police Department as it prepares to transition to local control and about making the force one which is fully up to speed on 21st century policing practices.

(Photo provided by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department)

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officially has a new chief.

Sam Dotson has been with the department since Oct. 1993, including time as the chief of staff to the Board of Police Commissioners, and as an aide to Mayor Francis Slay.

Dotson takes the helm of the 1,300-person department at a time of great change. But he says his first priority will always be reducing crime.

"We're going to end 2012 with crime being down just under 13 percent. That's a significant decrease, and the decreases have been happening year over year," he said.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The new chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department says he wants to implement a civilian review board in the city of St. Louis.

Sam Dotson officially took over as chief on Tuesday. The former operations director for Mayor Francis Slay replaces Dan Isom, who retired.

A preliminary review of the St. Louis corrections department finds "numerous weaknesses" in the management, physical structure and operations of the two jails the department oversees.

Six inmates have escaped from the facilities in the last 15 months. Three of the four escapes took place within five months of each other.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department says not much would change if oversight of the department returns to City Hall for the first time in 150 years.

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