St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson is out on Mayor Lyda Krewson’s first day on the job.  The Mayor’s Office released the big announcement this afternoon.  Dotson had been chief since December 2012.  

The announcement comes 24 hours after Krewson was sworn in as mayor. During her campaign, Krewson said improving public safety was one of her primary goals.

"The chief and I had a chance to talk about the future of the Department, and he made the decision to retire," Krewson said following a Wednesday morning meeting with Dotson. "I am grateful to Chief Dotson for his service and commitment to the people of the City of St. Louis."

Dotson, 47, is a 23-year veteran of the police department and will continue to serve the police force as a consultant for one year.

Director of Public Safety. Lt. Colonel and Assistant Police Chief Larry O'Toole will serve as acting police chief in the interim. O’Toole is a 33-year veteran of the St. Louis Police Metropolitan Police Department.

The search for a new chief begins immediately.  Assistant Police Chief Larry O'Toole will serve as acting police chief in the interim.  Now that the police department has local control, restrictions on hiring a new chief are lifted, meaning Krewson can conduct a nationwide search.

Krewson told 5 On Your Side she already has in mind the qualities she’s looking for: “Excellent reputation, excellent police skills, good people person, somebody who can lead the department, fair, inclusive, all those characteristics.”

Meanwhile, Dotson will remain with the police department for one year as a consultant, and will receive his full $129,000 salary.  Krewson said the move is part of an overall plan to assess and evaluate each city department, “I’m going to be meeting with all department heads, and so I was meeting with the chief this morning and he decided to retire.  It’s that simple.” She added, “I don’t think that he necessarily fell short; I just think it’s time for a new direction, and he thinks so also.”

This past October, Dotson announced he was running for mayor, then withdrew a month later.  At that time, several members of the Board of Aldermen called for Dotson to resign.  Krewson was not among them.

Dotson released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

This morning I met with our City's new Mayor to discuss the future of our City and the Police Department.
The conversation was good and during that conversation I offered to retire and remain involved as a consultant with the City of St. Louis to accomplish two things.  First, to support our City and second to allow the new Mayor to begin to establish her own team.
I am optimistic and hopeful about the future of our City and our Police Department.
As I transition to my new role, I have the utmost respect for all of those who wear the badge and the uniform. It was my honor and pleasure to have led the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for over four years and to have worn the uniform for 22 years.
D. Samuel Dotson III
Retired Police Commissioner

We spoke to parents today in some of St. Louis' most crime-ridden communities. They say they would like to see more police patrols and hear less gun shots.

If you're concerned about violence in your community, you can reach out to Better Family Life by clicking here.