St. Louis city residents voice their opinions on finding a new police chief

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ST. LOUIS – The City of St. Louis still searching for its next police chief. But it's adding another approach.

It wants to hear from city residents and is asking them to help make that decision.

At Tuesday night's public forum held at the International Institute, a 13-member Citizen Advisory Committee appointed by Mayor Lyda Krewson, heard from people who said that they want a chief who will understand and invest their city.

That includes, helping to build trust, finding ways to fight crime, taking care of run down neighborhoods, working with the homeless population and hiring more police officers.

The committee is meant to help guide the search while providing input and feedback along the way.

"I want to hear from folks in this process," said Krewson. "I think that's an important thing. We have said that we are going to have an open and transparent process and we are going to do that."

Emma Richardson was one of many resident’s eager to give her opinion as to what it's going to take for the next police chief to run the city's police department.

"We are struggling with crime in our neighborhoods and I really just want to move forward into a better St. Louis," Richardson said, "I think it's important for the community to feel that they are heard and have a choice in who is policing their streets."

Committee member and alderman Terry Kennedy said that he is all ears when it comes to listening to citizens who don't want to rush the process.

"Hopefully people will get this notion that there is a new approach, a new way in town to begin to try and handle the decisions that will affect their lives," said Kennedy.

Meanwhile, former city police chief Daniel Isom, who is also a committee member opened himself up to attendees who wanted to know the kind of leadership and attributes it takes to do a job he has held in the past.

"It is a tough job but it's a rewarding job," said Isom, "I mean every day you have the ability to affect millions of people's lives and in a good way and you have the ability to save lives."

The selection process is expected to take six months to a year.

The next public meeting will be held Saturday, July 8 from 10 am until 12 pm at Vashon High School (3035 Cass Avenue).