ST. LOUIS — The City of St. Louis will search nationwide to find a replacement for Police Chief John Hayden, who plans to retire in mid-June. 

On Wednesday, the city’s top public safety leaders announced the appointment of Lt. Col. Michael Sack as interim police chief until the city hires a permanent successor.

Sack has been with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department since 1994 and said he’s ready for the job. 

Lt. Col. Michael Sack

“Our focus will continue to be as it has been on violent crime, not just creating a wide swat through a community to effect arrests, which can cause more harm than good,” said Sack. “I want to continue our focus that the chief began on integrity within the agency. We have to reflect our core values — leadership, integrity, and fair treatment to all.”

Originally, Hayden announced in September that he would retire in February but decided to remain on the force so that Mayor Tishaura Jones could find a replacement.

“This has been an honor of a lifetime serving as the police chief of the city. I love the city. I’ll always be here. I’m looking forward to watching Col. Sack fill the role, and I’m sure, very sure, that he can take the reins with authority,” said Sack. 

The Ethical Society of Police released the following statement about Sack’s appointment: 

Lt. Col. Michael Sack’s 27-year career of public service with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is commendable. We respect him for his rank and the person he is.

We support Interim Chief Sack yet we will hold him accountable for our community and our officers during his time as Interim Chief as we’ve held Chief Hayden and previous chiefs accountable.

We had open lines of communication with Chief Hayden and expect that will continue with Interim Chief Sack. This continuity is especially critical as we continue to work to fill the gap between law enforcement and the community through this interim leadership.  

The Boulware Group will assist St. Louis in relaunching a nationwide search for a new police chief. The group has worked to find police chiefs in major municipalities across the country, including Detroit and Washington D.C. 

“The previous search had some issues. We didn’t cast the net wide enough, in my opinion,” said Mayor Jones. “We want to make sure that we are able to keep our promise to the community in being transparent with the next search.” 

Jones said the Regional Business Council will also help provide resources in the search.