ST. LOUIS, MO. (KPLR) - The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department held their annual awards ceremony Thursday Night at Harris Stowe State University. The department recognized the city's 2011 District Officers of the Year, as well as the 2011 Overall Police Officer of the year. A handful of other officers received the St. Louis Police Chief Letter of Commendation. It's a night that St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief, Daniel Isom, says recognized an outstanding job well done by the St. Louis City police officers.
"I think it’s important as a police department," Chief Isom explained, "and as a community that we say thanks to officers that work so very hard to keep our citizens safe."
The ceremony took place just hours after St. Louis City Mayor, Francis Slay, publicly requested an additional $300,000 expansion of the recently administered "Hotspot Policing" practice in the city. The practice involves using information and statistics to focus more officers onto high crime areas. Hotspot Policing looks to increase officer patrolling in those specific areas to prevent and fight violent crime in the city.
"Hotspot Policing has been going on for literally the last 10 to 15 years" Chief Isom said, "So it's proven that it works. The money that the mayor is shifting over will help us add more officers to these areas and continue our efforts."
Chief Isom disagreed when asked if focusing on the higher statistical areas leaves the lower crime areas more vulnerable. He says those areas will no go unprotected.
"That's something that I would expect and I think citizens would expect us to do. So we're moving from area to area, addressing places where we think there are spikes in crime. So for us to stay in areas where no crime is occurring, I don't think people want us to do that. We do that in terms of prevention, but we also go to the spots that are high in crime."