(KMOV.com) -- The St. Louis Police Department is reducing its number of patrol districts in a move Chief Sam Dotson hopes will help officers better fight crime in dangerous neighborhoods.
Dotson plans to completely rework how many officers are assigned to patrol different parts of the city and will add 25 more officers on the street. Dotson wants to evenly distribute officers around the city with focus on hot-spots for crime.
Dotson wants more input before the changes will go into effect, but Mayor Francis Slay and the Police Officers’ Association are already supporters of the change.
“The nine districts over time had created an imbalance…Some districts had more work, more calls for service,” said Dotson, “Some districts had more crime, some districts had more officers.”
The department used analysis of the calls for service and crime statistics and came up with a plan to reduce the districts from nine to six and then divide officers evenly.
Mayor Slay said the new plan gives the police department more flexibility and provides a closer working relationship between officers.
“What we’re doing with local control is working closer between city government and the department,” Slay said, “I also think it brings the department closer to the people.”
With fewer managers covering fewer districts, Dotson will use those officers for the extra 25 officers put out on the streets. Dotson said a few more officers will then be added to higher crime neighborhoods in north St. Louis, but no one will lose their jobs.
“It allows our officers to have more time to do hot-spot policing throughout the city,” said Dotson, “To go to the neighborhoods, the blocks and the streets, they have the problems and focus in on that.”
Jeff Roode, business manager for the Police Officers’ Association, said the plan is a smarter approached and is good for officers and the residents of St. Louis.
Dotson plans to hold a public meeting to get input from residents.
Stay with News 4 and KMOV.com for further updates.