John Hayden | St. Louis Public Radio

John Hayden

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced plans for the state to help combat violent crime in St. Louis and St. Louis County. Sept. 19, 2019
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has pledged money and manpower to help St. Louis and St. Louis County address an increase in violent crime.

“We know that we have a serious problem with violent crime that must be addressed,” Parson said Thursday at a news conference in St. Louis. “As your governor, and a former law enforcement officer for more than 22 years, protecting the citizens of our state is one of the utmost importance to my administration.”

The announcement came after a day of meetings with local political, religious and law enforcement leaders.

St. Louis Region Copes With 15 Children Killed This Summer

Aug 23, 2019
Mary Norwood, the grandmother of 7-year-old Xavior Usanga, speaks to Alderman Brandon Bosley, D-3rd Ward and Maj. Mary Warnecke, the deputy commander of the Bureau of Investigations, on Aug. 13, 2019. Xavior was the 7th child killed in the city this year.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Jason Eberhart, 16, was a football player ― like his brother who plays for Ball State University and his father who played for the University of Illinois.

“He comes from a family of football,” said his cousin and mentor Charles Shelton. “He was the middle child of five. We were really hoping that football was going to keep his mindset, but unfortunately life in the streets got the best of him.”

On Sunday, August 18, Eberhart died from multiple gunshot wounds in the Carr Square neighborhood at 2 a.m., and the investigation is ongoing. His family is taking his death very hard, Shelton said, which is why he was speaking on their behalf.

James Clark, the vice president of community outreach at Better Family Life, accepts a $200,000 check from Ed Dowd, the president of the St. Louis Crime Commission, on July 8, 2019.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A leading figure in anti-crime efforts in St. Louis says the region has 18 months to get violent crime under control before it hits a skid that it’s “never seen before.”

“We have been naive for a very long time here,” James Clark, vice president of community outreach at Better Family Life, said Monday. “But the national perception of St. Louis is very, very dire. Corporations are not looking to come here. We are losing conventions. And the No. 1 reason is because of our crime and violence.”

Demonstrators marched north along Grand Avenue in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood on June 2, 2018 to call more attention to issues of gun violence.
File photo | Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

It was the end of 2017, and St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden was looking at some troubling numbers.

Violent crime in the city had jumped more than 7% from 2016. Homicides had hit a 20-year high — 205. There were more than 2,600 shootings, and nearly 2,000 robberies. 

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner takes the oath of office at the Old Courthouse on January 6, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Kim Gardner was running for St. Louis Circuit Attorney, she vowed change “by reforming a broken system.”

After the Michael Brown shooting, voters warmed to her message of rebuilding trust in the criminal justice system. She promised to reduce violent crime in the city. She also promised to increase diversity, to conduct fair and complete investigations in police shootings, reduce racial disparities and increase gun control.

Voters liked what they heard, and Gardner became the first African American woman elected to the city office.

But her nearly two-and-a-half-year tenure has been a roller coaster ride.

Chief John Hayden said police believed the rash of killings over the weekend  to be drug related in a press conference on Monday.
File photo | Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Mayor Lyda Krewson says she continues to have confidence in the leadership of the St. Louis police department despite seven officers being charged with felonies in two months.

“I think about it in this way, which is that those issues are being addressed,” Krewson said during a news conference Thursday. “While of course I hate that officers have been indicted, I certainly think that if that is the situation, then that is the result.”

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden speaks to news reporters on Thursday afternoon.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden says allegations that his department is obstructing the investigation into the death of an officer at the hands of another are “insulting.”

Hayden’s comments, made Thursday in his first public appearance since just after Officer Katlyn Alix was shot and killed Jan. 24, are the latest in a tense dispute between police and prosecutor Kim Gardner.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer Katlyn Alix, shown here in a January 2017 photo, was killed by a fellow officer Jan. 24, 2019  in what police say was an accidental shooting.
Provided | St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

Updated 5:45 p.m. Friday with charges filed — An officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has been charged with two felonies in the Thursday shooting death of another officer.

Nathaniel R. Hendren, 29, faces involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action charges in the killing of 24-year-old Katlyn Alix. The incident happened early Thursday morning at Hendren’s apartment in the 700 block of Dover Place in the Carondelet neighborhood.

St. Louis police commanders listen as Chief John Hayden presents the 2018 crime statistics at a town hall on December 19, 2018.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ police chief says his strategy of focusing more resources on violent areas of the city has led to a nearly six-percent drop in crime compared to this time last year.

Chief John Hayden presented the 2018 crime statistics Wednesday night at a town hall at Forest Park Community College. Every category except rape and vehicle thefts has dropped compared to November of 2017.

Police officers line up on Washington Ave. in downtown St. Louis on Sept. 28, 2018 as people protest against the Stockley verdict and against mass arrests during a protest the previous week.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7:15 p.m. with comments from St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner — Four St. Louis police officers were indicted on federal charges Thursday in connection with the assault of an undercover officer during protests related to the Jason Stockley court ruling in 2017.

The four St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers named in the indictment are Dustin Boone, 35, Bailey Colletta, 25, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27. All have been suspended without pay.

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden (right) listens on October 11, 2018 along with public safety director Jimmie Edwards and Mayor Lyda Krewson as researchers outline their findings on enforcement rates in St. Louis.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The number of African-Americans arrested or facing a summons in St. Louis for all types of crime dropped significantly between 2002 and 2017, according to research released Thursday by criminologists at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

The data show that about 11,300 black individuals faced some kind of enforcement action in 2017, compared to about 38,000 in 2002. Enforcement is defined as an arrest for a felony, misdemeanor, municipal offense or because the person has a bench warrant, or being issued a criminal summons

File photo | Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis began 2018 with a brand-new police chief, John Hayden, in place – and with a double homicide occurring on New Year’s Day. Three months later, the city’s high rate of violent crime remains a key challenge along with the need to rebuild trust with citizens in the wake of protests.

Both issues loomed large on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air as Hayden discussed his leadership of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department thus far.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden poses for a portrait in his office at police headquarters on Olive Street.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

2017 was a violent year in the St. Louis region. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department handled 205 homicides. St. Louis County detectives investigated 55 more.

Getting the 2018 numbers down is a priority for law enforcement at all levels, and the team leading that effort looks much different than it did last year.

Chief John Hayden said police believed the rash of killings over the weekend  to be drug related in a press conference on Monday.
File photo | Wiley Price | St. Louis American

A plan by the top two public safety officials in St. Louis to battle crime by directing more resources to higher-crime areas has the backing of aldermen on the public safety committee.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden and public safety director Jimmie Edwards spent more than two hours addressing questions from committee members on Wednesday. Both pledged to come before the committee as often as needed to update its members on the progress of the plans, but asked for help from the lawmakers as well to meet their goals.

St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann discusses important criminal justice and city politics stories of 2017.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh went Behind the Headlines to talk about the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s newly appointed police chief, John Hayden. Joining the discussion was St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann to talk about her interview with the chief.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden poses for a portrait in his office at police headquarters on Olive Street.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It did not take Col. John Hayden long to determine his top priority in his new position.

“The first thing for me to tackle is going to be violent crime,” said Hayden, a 30-year veteran of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. He was promoted to his position as its 36th chief last week, selected from six finalists.

Anthony Gray (l) and John Chasnoff (r)
Mary Edwards | St. Louis Public Radio

On December 28 following a several months long search, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson named John Hayden, a 30 year veteran of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, as the new chief of police. He was selected from a field of six, three internal candidates and for the first time, three who were from outside the department.

Chief John Hayden said police believed the rash of killings over the weekend  to be drug related in a press conference on Monday.
File photo | Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Updated Dec. 28 at 2:45 p.m. with additional comments on Hayden's promotion — St. Louis Police Maj. John Hayden is the next chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.