On December 28 following a several months long search, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson named John Hayden, a 30 year veteran of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, as the new chief of police. He was selected from a field of six, three internal candidates and for the first time, three who were from outside the department.
St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh spoke to representatives of three organizations on Friday’s “Behind the Headlines” to get their reaction to the selection of Hayden.
Anthony Gray, general counsel of the Ethical Society of Police, said his organization is “optimistically hopeful; most members are in a wait and see pattern.”
John Chasnoff, co-chair of the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression, explained he had advocated for an outsider who would come in and reform the department.
“I was hoping that we had somebody who could come in with fresh eyes,” he said. But he also pointed out that while Hayden’s experience with the department could serve him well, he also brings some baggage such as how he was perceived by some during the recent protests.
Bruce Franks, Jr., who represents parts of St. Louis in Missouri’s House of Representatives, is cautiously optimistic but admitted to mixed feelings. While he thought a couple of the outside candidates would have been great, it was clear to him that his constituents wanted someone local. “People from the community wanted somebody from St. Louis because they wanted someone who knew the lay of the land,” he said.