Chief: St. Louis Co. must improve service calls, build relationship with citizens

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by Laura Hettiger / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on February 18, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 18 at 8:59 AM

(KMOV) -- After just two weeks as St. Louis County’s top cop, Police Chief Jon Belmar said he is pleased with the condition of his department. But he admits there is one main area he wants all officers to improve.

“Regardless of whether we’re a dispatcher, a homicide detective or certainly an officer that answers the calls on the street, everything we do supports getting there as fast and as effectively as possible when somebody calls the police,” Belmar said.

The St. Louis County Police Department is not only the biggest department in the St. Louis area, it has one of the best track records. That’s echoed in current crime statistics. Right now, crime in the county is at a 40-year low.

The north St. Louis County native also admits crime trends will be an interesting thing to monitor and it’ll be up to the department captains to keep them in check.

“There might be different trends that are happening in South County than are happening in West County than there are in the central corridor and North County,” Belmar said. “That’s something these precinct captains to track those and make sure they are identifying those trends.”

Belmar said one of the keys to keeping it that way is better communication within the department and transparency within the communities his officers patrol. However, he would not commit to whether county officers will soon be a permanent fixture in smaller municipalities that do not have the money to fund their own police department.

“I see contracting as part of the future of the St. Louis County Police Department,” Belmar said. “We believe that we provide top tier law enforcement services...we’re anxious to talk to those communities where [we could offer] not only dispatching or report writing or full police services.”

The 27-year veteran of the force also said for his department to continue to succeed, it’ll be vital to grow the partnership between the people who live there and the officers who patrol them.

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