Monday marks first day for new St. Louis Public Safety director - KMOV.com

Monday marks first day for new St. Louis Public Safety director

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Judge Jimmie Edwards Judge Jimmie Edwards
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Judge Jimmie Edwards said he thought “why me?” when he was first approached about the job of Public Safety Director.

Edwards said his second thought was “absolutely not,” before he reconsidered. Now, he will be sworn in as Public Safety Director on Monday.

Edwards, who served as a circuit court judge for 25 years, has a reputation as an outside the box type of thinker. He said he knows expectations will be high.

In his new job, he will oversee about 3,600 city employees, police, firefighters and the city’s building division.

A big part of his new job is finding a new police chief. Edwards won’t say if he’s leaning towards a hometown hire or someone from outside St. Louis.

“I’m leaning towards the best possible candidate we can get for our city. Certainly interested in someone that is culturally knowledgeable about our city,” said Edwards.

Edwards said he’s looking for someone who can command respect from the rank and file.

“I also understand important people in the police department are not the commanders. The most important people in our police department are the sergeants, those that teach the rank and file, those that teach the young officers how to be decent,” said Edwards.

Some community activists pushed city hall to appoint Edwards. He held a listening session in his courtroom to hear from activists on how to improve community-police relations.

Edwards said he believes officers need to get out of their cars and interact with the community. He hopes to find a new police chief by the end of the year.

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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