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St. Louis residents get only chance to hear from police chief finalists at town hall

One at a time, each candidate answered several questions submitted online by nearly 800 citizens.

ST. LOUIS — Residents, business owners, clergy members and others got a chance to see the four men who are the finalists to become St. Louis' next police chief.

One at a time, each candidate answered several questions submitted online by nearly 800 citizens.

Former chief Robert Tracy, from the Wilmington, Delaware, Police Department was the first candidate to tell the crowd why he wants the job.

Tracy, who has served 30 years in law enforcement, resigned as Wilmington’s police chief Tuesday.

“We have a program called com-stat that’s helped reduced crime significantly and I think it could work in St. Louis,” Tracy said.

Former Norfolk Virginia chief Larry Boone has 33 years of experience.

“I’ve worked on our gangs task force and I’ve helped reduce crime in Norfolk. I believe prevention, intervention and enforcement are the keys to fighting crime,“ Boone said.

Columbia South Carolina's Deputy Chief Melron Kelly said his 23 years of experience will help him build community trust and reduce juvenile crime.

“We must get to a point where we say enough is enough with the violence. I think my skills and experience will work in St. Louis,” Kelly said.

Interim Police Chief Michael Sack told the crowd being a St. Louis native, his 28 years of experience and his ability to help reduce the city's crime rate by five percent all qualify him to be the city's new chief.

"There are individuals in our community who don't trust us. How do we build that trust? One person at a time," he said.

A man and woman shouted at Chief Sack during his remarks. The man walked out of the town hall. The woman eventually quieted down.

Each candidate is well aware that as of Monday, there were 183 homcides in St. Louis and 136 juveniles shot. Eighteen of the young victims died.

Reporters did not get a chance to ask the candidates any questions.

So how did residents weigh the police chief finalists?

“I think the questions were good and they each had good responses,” said one woman who attended the town hall. “I just wish the questions really could have been more challenging and residents could have asked questions in person.”

"I thought that each of the candidates brought something different and had good responses on how they could help our city,” said another resident.

The city hopes to select its next police chief by the end of the year.

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