Chief Dotson addresses diversity, gun laws while in Washington, -

Chief Dotson addresses diversity, gun laws while in Washington, D.C.

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ST. LOUIS ( – St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson discussed crime-fighting strategies with mayors from across the United States in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

Chief Dotson sat on the U.S. Conference of Mayors panel to address violent crime, policing and ways of building community trust.

During the meeting, the chief spoke on gun control and the need for municipalities on the local level to regulate gun laws. After he got back to St. Louis, Dotson said 7 out of 10 offenders re-offend, so to stop the cycle the city needs what he calls an armed offender docket .

"Lets have a path we can monitor the outcome focus in on the resources that are there in the community and don't go back to gun violence," he says

What seemed to stand out the most during the meeting was Chief Dotson’s commitment to diversifying the St. Louis Police Department. St. Louis currently consists of about 50 percent African-Americans, but the department is made up of only 36 percent.

“That shows a commitment to understanding the problem. We take all of our officers’ thorough implicit biases to understand there are differences and those differences aren’t bad. Mayors need to invest in their police department, make a long term commitment to diversity,” Chief Dotson said.   

The chief said they are currently working on finding quality officers to increase diversity within the department. In order to recruit officers, he says the first step is getting into schools early,which he and the Attorney General are actively doing.  He also said pay is a factor.

"We are $9000 behind in starting salary compared to Saint Louis County. If you are a young person looking for a career in law enforcement, it's a math problem.  You go to where it pays more. We have to increase our salaries," he says. 

In addition to discussing diversity, Chief Dotson said President Obama’s action and executive order on gun control laws is a great first step in fighting violent crimes. He added that municipalities and local governments should also regulate gun laws.

“Become experts at dealing with individuals who are in a cycle of violence that don’t have the education, substance abuse issues, become experts in that and then find the pathways,” said Chief Dotson. “Summer jobs are a great answer, economics are a great answer. We have to have the ability at the local government to have the outcomes in the court and the legislation to keep guns out of the hands of toes young people”

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