St. Louis Metropolitan Police

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.

Mayor Francis Slay announces an initiative to increase the diversity of the public safety department
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Updated at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 20 with approval of money.

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment approved $39,000 of the proposed $50,000 for the minority recruitment program. An additional $11,000 may be available next fiscal year. The city and the Ethical Society of Police must still sign a contract outlining the details.

The grant comes as the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department faces a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint over its promotion policies. The St. Louis Fire Department has faced several lawsuits over the same issue.

St. Louis Police Department Detective Deandree Davis, far left, and Officer Darius Rutling, Karen Kalish and Woerner Elementary School principal Peggy Meyer discuss the Books and Badges program with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Jan. 15, 2015.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

After an uneventful police ride-along, Karen Kalish had an idea. She wanted to match police officers with young students who struggle with reading. For the past 12 years, Books and Badges has paired St. Louis police recruits and elementary school children.

Mayor Francis Slay and chief Sam Dotson at a press conference on January 15, 2015, discussing six homicides in 13 hours.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Updated at 1:35 p.m. Friday with additional information about the crimes.

A spate of violence in St. Louis overnight Wednesday left six people dead in five unrelated incidents.

"This is a big black eye on our city," a somber Mayor Francis Slay said at a press conference Thursday evening. "I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for the families of these victims. This is something that we're not proud of." 

(via Flickr/alancleaver_2000)

Updated with comments from police chief Sam Dotson and circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce.

Even though overall crime continued its downward trend in St. Louis, 2014 was a violent year in the city, with 159 people killed. 

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.

Logos of the St. Louis County and St. Louis Metropolitan Police.
St. Louis County website / file photo

Thousands of people in St. Louis and St. Louis County are a hundred dollars richer after police in both jurisdictions handed out $100 bills Tuesday as part of a one-day Secret Santa blitz.

Joseph Higgs from south St. Louis was one of the people who received the cash.

Higgs said that he has had more negative than positive experiences with police in the past so this experience has helped improve his opinion of law enforcement.

St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5 p.m. with comments from Mayor Slay.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said Wednesday he's found a way to fund 160 additional police officers over the next two years, plus get money for proven crime prevention programs and more training for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. 

"We can do things like look for more efficiencies, and do hiring freezes, things like that, but it's not going to raise the necessary dollars to hire that many cops," Slay said. "Cops are very expensive, but it's money well-spent."  

St. Louis Public Radio

This story will be updated. Updated at 1:45 p.m. with comments from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will take the first step Friday toward the creation of a civilian oversight board for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. 

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