Today, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief John Hayden announced his intention to retire on February 23, 2022 after 35 years of service to the City. The announcement offers the City time to begin an extensive, nationwide search process for a new police chief in the coming months.
“Thirty five years of service is a major milestone, and after prayerful consideration with my family, I am announcing my decision to retire in early 2022,” said Chief John Hayden. “Our department has made progress on key issues. I am confident under Mayor Jones’ leadership the City will find a hardworking, dedicated successor.”
The City’s search will focus on individuals who are experienced in 21st-century policing methods. Chief Hayden has been an ally in efforts to address root causes of crime in the City of St. Louis, supporting the redirection of funds to critical services like affordable housing, improving 9-1-1 response times, and connecting the mental health professionals to the right emergency call. The administration is committed to using new tactics to continue improving public safety, with homicides down 35 percent from the previous year.
“I thank Chief Hayden for his decades of service protecting the City of St. Louis and its residents. Our city appreciates the leadership he has shown in trying new tactics to help reimagine and improve public safety,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “As we begin our nationwide search for a new police chief, we will keep the public involved and informed through community conversations to ensure we recruit the best possible candidates.”
Mayor Jones is looking forward to hearing from the public about their vision for the next police chief. Residents can weigh in what they want to see from the next police chief by visiting the City’s website; community input will be used to inform questions asked of the candidates. Mayor Jones’ administration will hold listening sessions with community stakeholders in October with plans for a public town hall in the coming months.
Chief Hayden is St. Louis City’s 35th Chief of Police, and throughout his career he has been passionate about the pursuit of excellence in policing. Prior to being named Police Chief, Hayden’s career included both investigative and administrative experience, serving as Executive Aide to the Chief of Police from 2001 through 2007 and Commander in the North Patrol Division from 2013 through 2017. He also served as the Commander of the Internal Affairs Division, where he oversaw more than 1200 investigations of employee misconduct.