ST. LOUIS – Four potential replacements for the next St. Louis police chief shared their strategies, if selected, at a town hall on Tuesday night in north St. Louis.

Since former Police Chief John Hayden retired, the search has been on for the next person to fill his shoes.

Many attended the meeting at a St. Louis public school auditorium to see the candidates running for the position of police chief.

Each candidate talked to the moderator one-on-one and answered a list of questions that residents submitted online. The key topics were youth crimes, gun violence, and the homicide rate.

The Police Chief of Wilmington, Delaware, Robert Tracy, spoke first.

“We really have to have a plan that’s transparent and actually put it up on a website because the informed community is the one who will help us the most,” he said.

Tracy’s strategy is to reduce violence through community engagement and trust, which is similar to former Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone’s strategy.

“I’m an urban city chief, and through my personal career, it looks like St. Louis,” Boone said. “I know you got hard stuff because they drove me through this city. I know you got hard stuff, and I will move this mountain.”

Boone reduced crime by 25% under his leadership in Norfolk over the years.

“We got to address the gun laws. We got to find a way to engage the families,” said Michael Sack, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department interim police chief. “To be more active and proactive with kids in our households to be more respectful of firearms, the education piece is important.”

Chief Sack recognized the growing problem of car thefts, and gun violence, especially among youth, which is hitting an all-time high. He noted that the murder rate was not acceptable and pledged to increase patrol.

The fourth candidate zoomed in from Columbia, South Carolina.

“Increasing work opportunities, increasing re-entry opportunities as well on the juvenile level as well as those families impacted by gun violence understand that we care about them,” said Columbia Police Department, Deputy Chief Melron Kelley.

Everyone in the audience was given comment cards. City officials said they will consider each candidate’s responses and the public’s comments before making their decision before the year’s end.