Monday, October 27, 2008

Congratulations Are In Order

Our police department is filled with men and women who do outstanding work. I hope you don’t mind if from time to time I use this blog to tell you about them.

Officer Eric Larson and Officer Dave Menendez work in our lab. Everyday, they examine ballistic evidence from crime scenes, trying to determine if perhaps a weapon used in one crime, might also have been used in others. Here’s how it works.

When a gun is fired, it leaves markings on the bullet and the shell casing. Those markings are unique, like fingerprints. Thanks to a special program, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, allows us to use special equipment to retrieve digital images of the markings on bullets and shell casings. That equipment checks the evidence against every other piece of evidence in the system and produces a list of possible matches. That’s where Officer Larson and Officer Menendez come in. They check each individual image, comparing them side by side, analyzing the markings, trying to determine if there’s a hit—two images that match.

I’m sure the work might seem tedious at times—sifting through hundreds of images everyday, trying to line up the smallest of markings, but they do it well. So well, that on Friday, Officer Eric Larson and Officer Dave Menendez were honored by ATF for reaching a milestone of 300 hits since 2002. They’ve linked firearms to crimes throughout St. Louis, St. Louis County and the region. Some of those links likely would’ve never been discovered otherwise. This is also a reflection of the outstanding work of our Evidence Technicians—the men and women who recover the evidence from crime scenes. Job well done!

I also want to take time to commend the 15 officers who were promoted this month. Angela Coonce was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant. Kevin Androff, Joseph Carretero, Darnell Dandridge, Larry Davis, James Kenny, Linda Mopkins, Thomas Muldrow, James Murphy, James Przada, Terrell Robinson, Christopher Simeone, Jeremy Stockmann, Antonio Triplett and Darryl Walker were all promoted from Officer to Sergeant. Back on July 16th, Edward Benoist, James Clark, Randy Jemerson and Kelly McGinnis were also all promoted from Officer to Sergeant. The Metropolitan Police Department will host a Promotion Ceremony next month to present all of those who’ve been promoted recently, with their new badges.

Reaching the next level is a big accomplishment, and these men and women and their families should be proud.


Friday, October 10, 2008

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi

I’ve just completed my first week as Chief of Police and one thing I can say so far is that this is going to be an amazing journey.

I spent part of Tuesday, my first full day as Chief, talking with the Senior Command Staff—the Lieutenant Colonels and Majors of the Department. I wanted to talk about my vision for the Department but just as importantly, I wanted to hear their ideas. They were passionate about where their interests lie and what role they can play that will most effectively help move the Department forward. Those conversations resulted in the reorganization of some of the Senior Command Rank Officers. I’m confident that these changes are a move in the right direction and that the strong working relationship with the Senior Commanders will be both beneficial to the Department and the community we serve.

Several times this week, I attended roll calls where I had the opportunity to speak with some of the men and women who are the backbone of the Department—the Officers who patrol our streets. Normally roll call is where Officers get updates on incidents in their districts before heading out to your neighborhoods. This week, Lt. Col. Roy Joachimstaler and I stood together at roll calls and encouraged Officers to continue the good work they do on the streets everyday, and to reassure them that we will do our very best to increase morale and boost the public’s confidence in the Department. To make sure I have the opportunity to talk face to face with as many employees as possible, the Department will have an internal town-hall meeting in the next week or so. Making this organization strong is a team effort, and their visions and hopes for the Department are just as important to me as my own.

I met some St. Louisans at the monthly Public Affairs meetings that each District holds. In North St. Louis I heard from several women who remembered the days when they knew all of the Officers who patrol their neighborhood. Remember those days? Those community relationships are key to making our neighborhoods stronger and solving crimes. I’ve talked a lot about hearing everyone’s vision for the Department. One part of my vision is decentralization—pushing resources to the Districts, the neighborhoods. I hope that helps us get back to the days those women remember.

The one thing that resonated in almost every conversation was the call for CHANGE. Change will occur under my administration. In the days and weeks to come my staff and I will continue our thorough assessment of where we are and where we’d like to be.

It will be a long road getting there, but it’s one we’re all eager to travel.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hello St. Louis!

Today, I landed my dream job—Chief of Police. I was born and raised in the City of St. Louis. Growing up in North St. Louis, I always knew I wanted to dedicate my life to making my City better. I joined the Metropolitan Police Department in 1988 and started doing work that was more fulfilling than I ever imagined it could be.

Every police officer has a philosophy of policing. Mine is simple—push resources to the neighborhoods so officers can rapidly respond to crime. The Chief of Police gets a lot of the attention, but it’s the men and women who are on the streets everyday who make this department what it is. Over the next few months, I will be coming to neighborhoods to meet many of you, and to introduce you to the officers in your area. Knowing the people who patrol your streets makes a difference.

It’s no secret that I’ve got my work cut out for me and I’ve got a lot of plans that I’ll be sharing with you in this blog in the months to come.

The men and women of this Department have a lot to be proud of, and I’m proud to say that I work with some of the finest police officers in the country. That being said, we’ve also got a lot of work to do.

I look forward to meeting you and I can’t begin to tell you how honored I am to be the 33rd Chief of Police for the Metropolitan Police Department.

I promise I will make you proud.

Chief Daniel Isom