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Circuit Judge Jimmie Edwards named St. Louis’ Director of Public Safety

ST. LOUIS, Mo. _Circuit Judge Jimmie Edwards has been named the new Director of Public Safety for St. Louis, effective November 6. Mayor Lyda Krewson's office made the announcement Friday morning.

"I am thrilled to announce Judge Edwards' appointment," said Krewson. "His experience, temperament and focus will bring new perspective, energy and leadership to our police, firefighters, correction employees, our Building Division and the Civil Service Bureau."

Edwards has served as a St. Louis Circuit Judge since 1992.

The current Public Safety Director, Charleen Deeken, will oversee the department until Edwards is sworn in. She will stay with the City as the deputy director.

“Whether you're on the fringe on the left or on the right, we all have to come to the middle. We have to come to the center in order to correct some of the issues that i believe we have,” said Jimmie Edwards.

Edwards, who says he has seen the best and worst of St. Louis, will be responsible for 3,500 employees.  His department has the biggest budget. It includes police, fire, building division, corrections and more.

“I only ask folk to work as hard as I work and do good when nobody is looking. Those are my only criteria that I'm concerned with at this time,” said Jimmie Edwards.

The city charter provides for the public safety director to choose the new police chief. Edwards will have a large role in that decision.

“I love our city. I understand there are some trust gaps in city with respect to police and courts and others,” said Jimmie Edwards.

This past Monday Judge Edwards opened up the court to listen to protestors concerns. He tells FOX 2 that the session helped him solidify his decision on the new job.

“I became more convinced that perhaps I could be someone that can step up and maybe help,” said Jimmie Edwards.

Judge Jimmie Edwards says that he has spent 25 years supporting police, and intends to continue the support.  He also says maybe there is an issue with police investigating themselves in officer involved shootings. He will be looking into that.

The change comes at a tumultuous time in St. Louis. Police have been criticized for their handling of arrests during protests in the month since former officer Jason Stockley was acquitted of first-degree murder in the death of a black man.

Judge Edwards believes that public servants must be so thoroughly committed to the betterment of our society that they make personal sacrifices, invent solutions and work tirelessly for those who are unable to help themselves.

He earned an undergraduate degree in 1978 and a law degree in 1982 from St. Louis University. He and and his wife Stacy have three children, Murphy, Ashley and John. They are members of the Westside Baptist Church.