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After 35 years on the force, St. Louis Police Chief Hayden announces February retirement

this Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019 photo, St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden answers questions...
this Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019 photo, St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden answers questions during a town hall to discuss the epidemic of gun violence and shocking number of children killed this summer in St. Louis.((AP Photo/Jeff Roberson))
Updated: Sep. 8, 2021 at 11:55 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) -St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden announced his retirement planned for next February in a press conference Wednesday afternoon at City Hall.

In a press conference, Hayden, 55, was joined by Mayor Tishaura Jones and interim Public Safety Director Dan Isom to detail his departure after 35 years of protecting the City.

“Thirty-five years of service is a major milestone, and after prayerful consideration with my family, I am announcing my decision to retire in early 2022,” Hayden said. “Our department has made progress on key issues. I am confident under Mayor Jones’ leadership the City will find a hardworking, dedicated successor.”

Jones thanked him for his service. She also thanked “his willingness to work together to address root causes of crime, fix our 911 system, and help connect the right professional to the right call.”

Isom said he has known Hayden since kindergarten and hopes to find another like him to fill the position.

“He has been a great partner in our effort to reimagine the police department,” Isom said. “We want someone who can continue that and is a dedicated public servant like the chief has been so far.”

The City of St. Louis is asking for the public’s input as they begin a national search for Hayden’s replacement.

Hayden said his biggest challenge now is hiring new officers when other cities and departments are offering more money.

Hayden was appointed Chief of Police in 2017, replacing Acting Chief Lawrence O’Toole who took over when Sam Dotson retired. Before taking the helm of the police department, Hayden served as a Major commanding the North Patrol Division. He is the city’s 35th Chief of Police.