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Issue: 1155 Date: 10/11/2012
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St. Louis Police Chief Isom Leaves To Take Post At UMSL

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Left to right, UMSL Chancellor Tom George, Criminology Dept Chair Finn-Aage Esbensen, Chief Dan Isom, and Mayor Francis Slay (Credit Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio)
        (October 1, 2012) St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom announced on Monday that he will be stepping down as chief by the end of the year. Isom will join the faculty of the Department of Criminology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

        Isom, 45, took over as chief four years ago following the resignation of Joe Mokwa, who was linked to an illegal tow-lot scandal.

        Speaking on UMSL's campus, Isom said it was hard to move on after 24 years in the department, but the opportunity to teach at his alma mater was too good to ignore.

        "I felt that this was the best fit for me," said Isom, "because I could be part of a faculty that had experience with and background, but I could also continue to work in the community and be a part of the police department."

        Isom earned a BA from UMSL in 1994, and a PhD in 2008. He is currently in the fourth year of a five-year contract.

        The chief said he has had offers from other places, but decided St. Louis was the place he wanted to be.

        "There were jobs in other cities that I didn't want to take, because I wanted to be part of the St. Louis community," remarked Isom.

        "I don't want to be the chief in Baltimore or Denver; I want to remain in my community so this is great for me."

        Among his accomplishments Isom pointed to a 30-percent reduction in crime during his time as chief, a trend he expects to continue. Despite the downward trend, this summer did see a spike in violent assaults.

        By law Isom's replacement must be chosen from within the department, and must be an officer with a rank of captain or higher. The St. Louis Police Department currently has 17 captains and 5 deputy chiefs.

        St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay praised Isom's work as chief and said he would have been happy to see him stay.

        Mayor Slay says the Board of Police Commissioners should begin work quickly to select a replacement.


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