ST. LOUIS, MO – A surprise decision in April by new St. Louis mayor Lyda Krewson left the city without a permanent police chief. The St. Louis police officers association says Krewson’s plan to find a new chief violates the city’s charter. But Krewson is standing by her decision.
On April 19th St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department chief Sam Dotson retired following a meeting with Krewson.
The mayor named Assistant Chief Larry O’Toole acting chief until Dotson’s replacement is found from a nationwide search.
But an article in the May issue of “Gendarme”, the St. Louis Police Officers Association newspaper, blasts Krewson’s plan. The article, written by union business manager Jeff Roorda, claims the city’s charter prohibits hiring a chief from outside the department’s ranks.
During a phone conversation Tuesday, Roorda cited Article XVIII Section 3 of the city’s charter.
Five on Your Side took that concern to Mayor Krewson who feels her office is in the right.
“We see it a little bit differently. The state statute that established the police department as a city department allows for us to do a search outside the department for a chief,” said Krewson.
Roorda told Five on Your Side he believes the city charter should trump state law in this case.
“I’m sure the lawyers will figure that out. But that’s our point of view on it,” said the mayor.
City Counselor Mike Garvin told five on your side there is no provision in the city’s charter requiring the chief to come from within the department.
A spokesman for Krewson’s office says the nationwide search for Dotson’s replacement has not yet begun because the details of the search are still being worked out.