Chief Dotson speaks about rising crime in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – When St. Louis police officers are becoming targets of criminals you know things are becoming more dangerous.  St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson says this "the one thing I was not prepared for was to get call a call at 4:45 in the morning saying one of your officers was shot. It keeps me awake at night."

1200 St. Louis police officers do a dangerous job and stats show it’s getting tougher.

Dotson reminded commanders during a meeting today about the importance of always wearing their body armor ballistic vest.  That vest saved the life of an officer today, at least from serious harm.  There job is to keep a safe community and that's what the citizens tell chief Dotson they want but the trend is going the wrong direction

Dotson says, "For the past 20 years crime is down 50%, over last 10 years in St. Louis crime is down 10%, in the last 5 years in our city crime is down but in the last year there has been an increase in crime."

Dotson and mayor Slay have been talking about this for some time and want to add 160 new police officers.  Calls for service, like 911 calls up are 11-percent.  Arrests for serious felonies are up 7-percent, so officers are doing their job but it is a dangerous job.

He adds that police won’t solve many crimes without community assistance and they are working in neighborhoods to help that process. Plus he wants judges and the court system to do more when it comes to holding people responsible for their actions. He feels that the criminals know they can get off with probation in many cases so there isn’t a deterrent.

Dotson says, "We arrest criminals all the time but they say they are not worried because an attorney will get them probation and that puts police at risk plus the community at risk”.