Meet the 4 candidates vying to be the next Chief of Police for St. Louis City

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 3:22 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – The finalists for St. Louis’ next police chief have been announced.

The finalists include Lt. Col. Michael Sack, Chief Larry Boone, Chief Robert Tracy, and Deputy Chief Melron Kelly. Residents will be able to hear from the candidates during a town hall on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Vashon High School.

Candidate Lt. Col. Michael Sack is the current interim police chief and the only internal candidate. The other three, all men, are from outside of the St. Louis area.

Earlier this year Mayor Tishaura Jones restarted the search for a new police chief.

“The last search wasn’t transparent and we would like to make sure that we cast a wider net,” Mayor Jones said in May.

But the announcement of the final four candidates 24 hours ahead of a townhall is drawing criticism.

“Very disappointed in the lack of transparency that has a occurred because that is not what we were promised,” said April Cayce, the founder of Rebound 911, a non-profit for law enforcement and first responders.

The concerns were echoed by the St. Louis Police Officers Association and the Ethical Society of Police.

“The level of secrecy in the hiring process has ESOP concerned. As an organization, we cherish and highly respect the community and worry about what is in store for them. Currently, we are not seeing the type of transparency promised by our local government leaders,” ESOP said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said the city Personnel Department and search firm received applications and six were passed on to the Department of Public Safety. From there is was narrowed to four.

A decision will be made by the mayor’s administration on a new police chief by the end of the year.

The police department released the following biographies for each candidate.

Interim Police Commissioner Michael Sack, St. Louis

Lt. Col. Michael Sack joined the St. Louis Police Department in 1994. After graduating the Police Academy, Lt. Col. Sack worked in District Four, the Central Patrol Detective Bureau, and the Special Services Division.

Lt. Col. Sack was promoted to Lieutenant in 2007 and was assigned to District Seven until he was promoted again in 2008 to the rank of Captain. As a Captain, Lt. Col. Sack served as the Commander of Crimes Against Persons. In 2015, Lt. Col. Sack was promoted to Major and served as the Commander of the Central Patrol Division until he was transferred to command the Bureau of Professional Standards.

On October 17, 2019, Lt. Col. Sack was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He remained the Commander of Professional Standards until October of 2021, when he was transferred to command the Bureau of Community Policing. He currently serves as interim police commissioner.

Lt. Col. Sack has received two Officer of the Year Awards, three Awards of Excellence, and one Chief’s Letter of Commendation. He also attended and graduated from the FBI Academy in 2014.

Lt. Col. Sack was a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Reserves, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication/ARTS from Cardinal Glennon College. Lt. Col. Sack also has two Master’s degrees; one in Divinity from Kenrick Seminary and one in Business and Organization Security Management.

Chief Larry D. Boone, Norfolk, VA

Chief Larry D. Boone is a native of inner-city New Brunswick, New Jersey born in a non-traditional family including four siblings. Chief Boone lived in a bleak and chaotic environment until his adolescent years where his experiences subsequently lead to unfavorable encounters with law enforcement. As a result of these incidents, a decision was made that Chief Boone would move to Northampton County, North Carolina to live with his grandparents where he began a positive shift toward changing the trajectory of his future.

Chief Larry Boone began his successful law enforcement career with the Norfolk Police Department in 1989. He was appointed Chief of Police December 1, 2016. During his career, he has served in the Patrol Division, Metro-Tactical Unit, Canine Unit, the Office of Professional Standards, and the Gang Suppression Unit. After 26 years of service, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Police on September 22, 2015. In 2021, Chief Boone served as a member of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) Executive Director Regional Advisory Group. He currently serves as a subject matter expert for the Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC) to provide technical assistance solutions designed to meet the unique needs of state, local, tribal, and campus communities throughout the United States and a regional law enforcement executive representative for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) Grant Committee to provide contribution toward making funding decisions about programs and initiatives that support EDVA’s PSN strategy to combat violent crime.

Throughout his career, Chief Boone committed his efforts to forging relationships with Norfolk’s diverse community members. Prior to the national discourse that unraveled through communities across this country regarding law enforcement, he undertook the significant responsibility of improving the department’s community outreach efforts and building trust between citizens and law enforcement. Under his leadership, the Office of Community Relations was created and enhancements to available programs and local partnerships have seen a direct impact on Norfolk’s community engagements. More than 20 community outreach initiatives and the department’s signature programs (Cops and Curls, Cops and Kids Eating (CAKE), Police Leadership Unveils Success (PLUS), and Clergy Patrol) have been nationally recognized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, and the Christian Broadcasting Network. Chief Boone co-authored the article ‘Building Social Capital - Youth Engagement in “At-Opportunity” Communities’, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Police Chief Magazine – Youth Engagement 87, no.8 (August 2020): 52–57, highlighting these partnerships and the department’s leadership and crime suppression success. Chief Boone also authored the excerpt “Policing in the 21st Century”: What Does the Future of Policing Look Like? Introduction to Policing: Perceptions Versus Reality (Revised First Edition) by Chernoh Wurie, Box 12.1 (2021) 257–258.

Chief Boone holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgia Southern University. In addition to his undergraduate studies, he played football for Georgia Southern University (Division I-AA), winning two national titles (1985, 1986). He also earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Furthermore, he is the recipient of the 2019 G.W.C. Brown Legacy Education Fund and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Alpha Phi Lambda Chapter Humanitarian Award, the 2018 NOBLE Attorney General Eric Holder Leadership Award, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police 2018 President’s Award, a 2020 graduate of the CIVIC Leadership Institute (CLI) Executive Program, a 2018 graduate of the 41 st Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Executive Institute, a 2010 graduate of the 241st Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, a 2009 graduate of the Professional Executive Leadership School (PELS) – University of Richmond, Virginia, and an active member of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy Associates and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). In addition to his active memberships in prestigious associations and including the gubernatorial appointments to the Virginia State Crime Commission and the Virginia African American Advisory Board, Chief Boone regularly volunteers in the community and participates in mentorship programs for Norfolk’s youth. The citizens of Norfolk refer to Chief Boone as a “Different Kind of Chief”. Unlike his peers, Chief Boone’s inner-city youth experiences shaped his mental marathon of endurance to withstand difficult challenges in the pursuit of a better life that served others. Chief Boone strives to improve and build long-lasting relationships with the community through authentic engagement. Chief Boone says, “If you’re not authentic, people know it before you say anything. Crime suppression is necessary but it’s not everything. A genuine interest in the lives you protect is where we begin.”

Deputy Chief Melron Kelly, Columbia, SC

Deputy Chief Melron Kelly is a 23-year veteran and second in command at the Columbia, South Carolina Police Department (CPD). Currently, he is the commander of the Operations, Special Services and Administrative Bureaus, which include the Recruiting Division, the Patrol/Regional Divisions, the Criminal Investigations Division, and the Public Information /Media Relations and Marketing Departments.

Deputy Chief Kelly began his law enforcement career in 1999. After graduating from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, Kelly’s first assignment at the Columbia Police Department was serving as the Residential Officer in the Waverly and Gonzales Gardens Communities This familiarity and commitment to serving the community has allowed leadership positions in the Narcotics Division as an Investigator before being promoted to Sergeant; a Lieutenant overseeing the Gang/Narcotics Unit; and as a Captain in the North Region and a Major Overseeing Patrol Operations before being appointed to Deputy Chief

Kelly is a member of various state, community and social organizations including, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Academy Class 270, The Southern Police Institute Alumni Association, Serve and Connect, Sowing Seeds, The Columbia Community Relations Council, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and was recently named as a Riley Diversity Fellow by the Riley Institute at Furman University’s Diversity Leadership Initiative (DLI), Kelly holds a Bachelor’s Degree from South Carolina State University and a Masters from the University of Louisville.

Professional Schools Attend: DEA Drug Unit Commanders Academy 62nd Session Southern Police Institute 124th Administrative Officers Course FBI National Academy 270th Session PERF Senior Management Institute for Police 74th Session.

Chief Robert Tracy, Wilmington, DE

Chief Robert J. Tracy has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience with the New York Police Department and Chicago Police Department, including top executive law enforcement leadership positions in New York City and a top-level law enforcement leadership position in the City of Chicago. Since April 14, 2017, he has served as the Chief of Police for the City of Wilmington, Delaware.

Chief Tracy built a distinguished record of achievement and advancement through his positions with the New York Police Department. Chief Tracy was the Commander of a newly created Firearms Suppression Division, responsible for the coordination of tasks across several citywide units. He also served as the Commander of the Firearms Investigation Unit, working with Organized Crime Investigation Division and ATF/NYPD Joint Firearms Task Force. Chief Tracy led the Violent Felony Squad, the NYPD/U.S. Marshal Regional Task Force, and supervised the Bronx/Manhattan Warrant Squads.

In Chicago, Chief Tracy held the position as the principal Crime Control Strategist. In this capacity, Chief Tracy instituted various strategies that greatly affected crime statistics.

As the Chief of Police for the Wilmington Department of Police, Chief Tracy continued the course with his strategies. He has created and instituted the CompStat process along with developing and streamlining the department’s methods for Intelligence-Based Policing. Chief Tracy has also implemented Group Violence Intervention in conjunction with the National Network of Safe Communities and John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

Chief Tracy holds a Masters in Public Administration from Marist College and a Bachelor of Arts in History from SUNY, Empire State College, and has received professional training in various topics. He is currently a member of the ATF National Crime Gun Intelligence Governing Board; the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF); the International Association of Chiefs of Police/Private Sector Liaison Section; the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Association; and the Delaware Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, as well as numerous other groups and boards.

Chief Tracy was born in the Bronx, New York City, NY, is married, and has five children. He currently resides in Wilmington, Delaware.