Incoming St. Louis Sheriff Betts to make staffing changes -

Incoming St. Louis Sheriff Betts to make staffing changes

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Vernon Betts Vernon Betts

ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -- Incoming City of St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts is planning on making big changes to the office when he takes over in January. Chief among them: he will be hiring two prominent attorneys for top positions, when command staff positions have historically been held solely by deputies.

Vernon Betts tells News 4 that he will be hiring Steven Roberts, Sr. as his administrative assistant. Roberts is a lawyer and entrepreneur, known for his business partnerships with his brother Mike Roberts.

Betts also says he will be hiring Jolene Taaffe for the position of either his private attorney or secretary. Taaffe is a local defense attorney. She served as Betts’ Treasurer during the election and made contributions to his campaign.

“I think we need to bring a different perspective to the sheriff’s department, not just law enforcement, but someone who understands the landscape of the city, the social and the political,” Betts said.

Betts declined to provide information about the employees’ salaries saying it was “not proper to discuss their individual salaries and put it in the public like that.”

Betts, who is a former deputy and public school teacher, will be replacing Sheriff James Murphy who has held the office for 28 years, who announced his retirement. First Assistant Michael Guzzy is also retiring.

Guzzy told News 4, the office is currently structured with the First Assistant, two Majors, three Captains, seven Lieutenants and 15 Sergeants with a total of approximately 170 total deputies. All command staff are currently commissioned law enforcement officers.

Betts says he does plan on asking for a budget increase in the future, to be used towards education and training for deputies, but plans to keep payroll the same for the next budget year.

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