Reaction to the appointment of John Hayden as police chief

ST. LOUIS – The City of St Louis has a new police chief to start the new year. St. Louis Police Major John Hayden was chosen over five other finalists. The police union and others in the community are reacting positively to Hayden’s promotion.

The majority of community leaders and residents are forecasting a brighter future for the city under the direction of Chief Hayden's leadership.

The City of St. Louis is facing a wide range of issues, from crime to racial profiling and the recent protests. Chief Hayden will have his hands full. At Thursday’s announcement, the new police chief promised to earn the trust of the community and rank and officers.

With the new leadership, community leaders hope it will bring much-needed change.

“I think some of the things I heard in the community, it was important to have somebody within the department, because they know St. Louis," said Missouri State Representative Bruce Franks.

Local activist John Chasnoff was optimistic about the department going in a new direction.

“Chief Hayden has a reputation of being a fair and decent person,” he said.

James Clark, from community outreach organization Better Family Life, said Hayden’s selection is a good omen for the city.

“I think that it shows St Louis is heading in the right direction. John Hayden shows compassion and he understands St. Louis from the bottom to the top,” Clark said.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association, the labor union that represents over 1,100 commissioned officers of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, praised the selection of John Hayden as Chief of Police and released this statement:

“Mayor Lyda Krewson and Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards announced Hayden’s appointment as Police Commissioner and Chief of Police at a noon press conference today. Hayden, a thirty year veteran of the Department, had been the Major in charge of the North Patrol Division up until the time of his appointment as Chief. He was also a former commander of the Internal Affairs Division.”

Union president Ed Clark applauded the selection.

“Chief Hayden is widely regarded as a no-nonsense leader who is tough but fair; smart but compassionate,” Clark said. “The rank-and-file holds Chief Hayden in high regard and he has consistently shown a great deal of respect for our members and the union. This is a man we know we can work with. We also know that his selection will go a long way in restoring the community’s trust in the police department.”

Union business manager Jeff Roorda also commended the selection of Hayden.

“Chief Hayden is one of those guys who always listens to every side of an issue and thoroughly considers the information he is provided with. He’s been eminently fair in all of his dealings with the union, but he is no pushover, not by any means,” he said. “He can be counted on to do what he thinks is right for this city and this police department and that’s all any of us can ask for from our leaders.”

Both Roorda and Clark took a moment to compliment interim Chief Larry O’Toole for a job well done during his tenure.

“Colonel O’Toole shepherded the department through a challenging chapter in its history under the most difficult of circumstances. Larry showed his mettle and his leadership in stewarding this agency and we hope that he will stay on as Assistant Chief in order to ease the transition for Chief Hayden,” Clark said.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner released this statement on the new chief:

“Chief Hayden’s selection was the result of an exhaustive process. His qualifications stood out above candidates from throughout the United States. I am pleased with the selection and look forward to working with Chief Hayden in a joint effort to reduce crime in our city.”