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.
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.
Police Chief Sam Dotson, left, and Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce look on as Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson talks about the city's "no refusal" policy with drunk drivers. Prosecutors will now seek warrants to draw blood if somebody refuses a breath test.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
A math teacher at Soldan International Studies High School in St. Louis is facing 11 criminal counts for allegedly having sexual contact with a student at the school.
Thirty-two-year-old David Marler is being held on a $250,000 cash bond on felony statutory sodomy, child endangerment, and sexual contact with a student charges. Police are investigating the possibility that there were other victims, and are encouraging parents or students to call 314-444-5385.