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St. Louis police chief, public safety director answer questions at public forum

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Dozens of people came out to Washington Tabernacle M.B. Church downtown on Friday evening to hear from St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden and Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards. It was a chance for members of the public to ask the two questions about their plans for a safer city and to express concerns they have about crime.

Chief Hayden talked about his plans to help improve the relationship between the public and the city's police department. He said he wants his officers to spend more time in the schools, creating a healthy and positive relationship early on in a child's life.

"I am looking forward to a St. Louis that doesn’t have to always explain why we are top four or top five or the top most violent city in the country," Hayden said.

The chief said the police department would work harder to recruit new officers and said his staff plans to attend more colleges and job fairs in hopes of getting young people interested in working for the city's police department.

He said he plans to target the city's most violent areas by keeping a lot of resources in that area.

"We are focusing our attention on one of the highest crime, most violent areas of the city," he said.