Sam Dotson

(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.