Son follows footsteps as a St. Louis Police officer as 21 recrui - KMOV.com

Son follows footsteps as a St. Louis Police officer as 21 recruits graduate the Academy

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The Dace Family at the St. Louis Police Academy graduation. Credit: KMOV The Dace Family at the St. Louis Police Academy graduation. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

On Thursday night, 21 new police officers crossed the stage at Harris Stowe, saluting the chief as he welcomed them into the St. Louis Police Department family.

But for one officer, policing has always been a family affair.

“Ever since I was born, my dad’s been a police officer, it’s kind of what I’ve always known,” said Devon Dace, 28.

His father, Capt. Shawn Dace, had a similar answer as to why he joined the force.

“My older brother is a police officer in the little town were from, Centerville, Ill.,” said Capt. Shawn Dace.

In May 1990, Dace walked across the stage and received his police badge. He’s served with SLMPD for 28 years.

“I can go back to seven years old and watching my dad put his uniform on and him looking like a super hero to me,” said Devon.

For the last few years, Devon has worn a different uniform. He played football in college and then for the Arena Football League. He believes his work on the field will help in his new role on the streets of St. Louis.

“Playing football we always had a motto of making sure you’re giving everything you got for the person next to you,” said Devon.

His father, a captain in the 3rd district says his son’s decision to join SLMPD reinforces his own efforts of recruitment. He is working to recruit officers that better represent the community they serve.

“If we can continue to hire within our community those folks we’re hiring will have a more vested interest in the community,” said Capt. Dace.

There are currently 1,186 officers in the police department. They are down 121 officers. That number will be reduced to 100 once these new recruits hit the streets. But there is still work to do to bring the force to full staff. And a staff that represents the city of St. Louis.

The department is 66 percent white and 31 percent black, while the city of St. Louis is almost evenly split, between white and black.

“The department actively recruits at various colleges, universities and job fairs. We also use social media to recruit perspective applicants. We are always seeking diverse applicants,” said Leah Freeman, a spokesperson for the department.

Capt. Dace says a major recruiting tool is the Midnight Basketball League. The 28-year veteran officer said he never had any worries about his son following in his footsteps, it’s something he’s wanted.

His son said while there is apprehension of what the first day will bring, he’s ready to serve the city, like his father has.

“The unknown is always scary but at the end of the day my father’s been a police officer for 28 years and I’ve seen the positive impact it’s had on his life and my life.”

These are the 21 new officers joining the St. Louis Police Department:

Tyjuan Atkins
Leland Bonner
Joshua Boyd
Joseph Carr
Devon Dace
Keaton Dewulf
Jaclyn Griffin
Amer Habibovic
Lauren Hamilton
Nathaniel Hendren
Christopher Jones
Geoffrey Kienzle
Douglas Lampert
Joel Levy
Brendan McMillan
Darrin Mosley
Alexander Murphy
Hajrija Music
Kathleen Smock
Lucas Sweitzer
Andrew Venable

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