ST. LOUIS – On June 1, protests turned violent in the streets of St. Louis. Four St. Louis city police officers were shot and a former officer was killed that night. Police Chief John Hayden said June 1 will go down as one of the most tragic days the department has ever seen.
Hayden said that in his over 33 years of law enforcement, the demands of being a police officer have never been harder than they are right now.
For the past six weeks, officers have been dealing with a pandemic, civil unrest, and violence in the community.
Hayden said officers were working 12-hour days when protests were frequent. There was a lot of stress and anxiety at times but Hayden said his officers remained calm, cool, and collected, and exercised a great deal of restraint.
When Hayden hears calls to defund the police, he said what that would really mean is fewer police officers, and that’s not what the residents seem to want, in his eyes.
The department is short 123 officers at the moment and Hayden said they know it is because of the residency rule.
Hayden hopes the residency rule is pulled soon. Governor Mike Parson said Wednesday that it would be talked about during a special session on violent crime.
Then with more officers, and officers focused on the streets not protests, we will hopefully see this spike in violence go down.