Questions raised over process to hire new St. Louis Police Chief

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - With St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson now out, the question now is, what's next?

"It's a change that we all should've expected to come," said Board of Aldermen President, Lewis Reed.

Reed in the past has publicly asked for Dotson's resignation.

Reed added that it's going to be a long process to pick the right one for the position now vacated.

"This opens up the door for a new mayor to do a national search if she would like to and look for people across the country that can come in and understand how to fight crime," Reed said.

FOX 2's Ayesha Khan asked Reed if a national search is the way to go; as in, why isn't the city making it a priority to conduct the search from within the department.

"According to our current charter we are required to hire from within but I'm not sure if the mayor is working to open that up to give her the flexibility of doing the national search," Reed explained, "I think it's important to give yourself as many options as possible."

FOX 2 posed the same question Krewson and in a written statement she said:

"We are conducting a search to find the best possible candidate. We have the authority to look both inside and outside the city for the best possible candidates."

But St. Louis Police Union spokesman Jeff Roorda said that it's legally unclear what the hiring process requires because city and state law are in conflict.

He went on to explain that it may require a charter change to hire a chief outside of the department.

He added that in his opinion, going outside of the department to find a chief, is not legal.

FOX 2 also contacted the Ethical Society of Police asking what they thought of Dotson being out.

In a written statement, we were told:

"The Ethical Society of Police supports Mayor Lyda Krewson in accepting Chief Dotson’s retirement and believes it is a positive sign of Krewson’s future leadership."

Meanwhile city comptroller, Darlene Green said that she won't comment on what she thought of Dotson when he served as chief but will communicate that the community is ready for change.

"The community is frustrated everywhere north and south," Green said, "frustrated with the number of guns that remain on the streets and the violence and we've got to do something about it, we've got to work hard to cure this."

Circuit attorney, Kim Gardner also put out a statement saying:

"On behalf of the dedicated public servants at the Circuit Attorney’s Office, we want to thank Chief Dotson for his service to this community.  We wish him the very best.

We are in a unique position as a community.  We have a new Mayor, new Circuit Attorney and we will have a new Police Chief.  For all of us, public safety is our top priority. We have serious and urgent issues to address and we must continue to look for new ways to reduce crime long-term and build trust in the criminal justice system. I believe this is an opportune time to evaluate where we are, where we want to go and how we want to allocate our resources to help create a safe, progressive, growing community for all residents.  I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working closely with the new city leadership to address the serious problems and maximize the wonderful opportunities before us."

Reed said that in the next few weeks, he is planning to schedule a series of hearings with the Public Safety Committee to come up with possible recommendations that could be used for hiring of the next police chief.