St. Louis Metropolitan Police

(Credit: Flickr/Brad Tutterow)

The St. Patrick's Day Parade marked the first time the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department relied on a single, statewide radio network to communicate with each other. And, according to all parties, the experience was a success.

(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 Flickr/alancleaver_2000)

Updated at 4:30 p.m. with quotes from Chief Sam Dotson and 2013 neighborhood data.

Despite an increase in the number of homicides, crime was down more than 5 percent overall in the city of St. Louis last year.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released its final numbers for 2013 today. Violent crimes — those committed against individuals— were down by more than 10 percent, while property crimes dropped more than 4 percent.

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.”

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon)

The technology available to a police officer on the beat has come a long way from a pen and a notebook.

Thanks to in-car computers, police now have the internet and sophisticated databases at their fingertips. Cameras can find a specific license plate or reduce the need for eyewitnesses.

But the speed at which the changes are taking place has even those using the technology concerned.

As a narcotics officer in Jefferson County in the mid-1990s, Jeff Roorda was a rock star when he got a bag phone

(St. Louis Public Radio)

A long-running legal battle over whether records of  internal St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department investigations are subject to Missouri's Sunshine Law will continue for possibly another six months.

Here's a timeline of the case:

John R Kahrhoff / IBEW Local 1

A local union is protesting a sub-contractor working on St. Louis’ new police headquarters.  Local 1 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers opposes Thomas Ruzicka who has been convicted of embezzling more than $100,000 from former employees.

The union's business manager Frank Jacobs says Ruzicka is a license holder for R E Contracting that is handling about $1.2 million worth of electrical work for the downtown building. 

(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.

(via 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.

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