St. Louis police officer criticizes hot spot policing, Chief Dot - KMOV.com

St. Louis police officer criticizes hot spot policing, Chief Dotson responds

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A St. Louis Police Officer criticized the St. Louis Police Department Friday for using too many officers for hot spot policing, causing many neighborhoods to be left without enough officers.

An officer leveled the criticism via phone by calling into KMOX radio. The officer contends hot spot policing, which focuses officers and resources on high crime areas, takes too many officers away from districts where they normally patrol, leaving those districts understaffed.

“This hot spot policing is killing us this summer. They've got to stop pulling these officers out of each district,” the officer said.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the officer's claims are not true.

“When we do hot spot policing, we don't take officers from other districts and put them in a different district. We take officers that are there and then the officers that have citywide responsibility,” Dotson said.

Those officers sometimes include special operations and traffic safety units. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday a rapid response unit is used. The rapid response unit was formed after fights broke out among large groups of teens in the Delmar Loop.

“You're going to see less and less police presence this summer, because of the robbing of our district's officers for every little detail they have,” said the officer.

Dotson told News 4 police are still able to be effective in areas where hot spot policing is not used.

“It does not impact our response times. It does not impact our staffing. If a district does have a problem, like officers on vacation, we use overtime to backfill to make sure we have cars,” said Dotson.

Dotson said district commanders have the freedom to pull in other officers on overtime if they are concerned about staffing to make sure other parts of the city are not left vulnerable.

Dotson said he believes the officer's criticism is about morale. Dotson believes the best way to improve morale is to add more officers to handle the workload. Dotson has asked St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay to to hire 160 additional officers.

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