ST. LOUIS — Former St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom understands the urgency of the situation confronting the city.
Now the Interim Public Safety Director, he gets right to the point when sizing up the task at hand. "The timeline — well, we're starting today," he says.
Isom says he's ready to help the city tackle crime, but he knows the fight won't be easy. There have been at least 61 homicides in St. Louis, an increase of 23% compared to a year ago at this time.
Ten of the victims are kids younger than 17.
"I will be giving 100 percent of my efforts to see how we can make changes," says Isom, 54, who served as St. Louis police commissioner from 2008 to 2013.
He supports the Missouri State Highway Patrol helping to beef up enforcement on Interstate 70, which has become an especially deadly stretch of highway.
On April 14, a 32-year-old woman was shot and killed while driving on westbound I-70 near Cass Avenue. A few days later, a 17-year-old was struck by gunfire on I-70 near Bircher Boulevard.
"It brings certainly loss to the families, their loved ones, but it's also ... for the community," Isom says.
State troopers are the extra eyes on I-70, as early as this weekend.
"That is the spirit of what we're talking about — a collaborative approach to addressing the issues," Isom says.
Residents hope the new administration's anticrime plan will be a shift in the right direction. One St. Louisan says, "I wish the violence in St. Louis would stop, period."