This weekend is full of nostalgia and marks a historic moment for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
On Sunday night, the men and women who work the night watch and patrol our streets while we sleep will report for duty for the last time in the nine existing police districts. These districts have been in place for over fifty years and Sunday will be the last night of their boundaries.
The nine districts have been with us longer than our most senior employee. No active officer can remember patrolling our streets before the present nine district system was created. Our newest officers, who have only been on the streets for two weeks, will be the last of our employees who will have assignments in all nine districts.
Because law enforcement is a business where children often follow in the footsteps of their parents, there are police families who have served multiple generations here, under the same patrol map we used back when the president's name was Kennedy.
And now, after 50 years, that's about to change.
Monday morning at 4:00 a.m., our Department will begin the transition from nine police districts to six. At 7:00 a.m. when the men and women report to roll call, they will report in a city no longer bound by nine districts but organized into six. Those who began the week with business cards marked "District 9", "District 8" or "District 7" will suddenly find themselves holding a collector's item.
I am excited about the new district boundaries. The redesigned police districts will be more fully staffed, more streamlined, more efficient and more precisely balanced in terms of calls-for-service and crime numbers. The new system more readily lends itself to our core strategy of hot-spot policing. The transition has given us an opportunity to re-assign key personnel and give the new districts more cohesive and well lead management teams.
And yet for all the history-making significance of redistricting, the impact on the public will be so minor, I doubt most people will even notice.
Even though redistricting is a big event, the transition itself will be relatively uneventful. When it comes to service and protection, there will be no time out. All police functions will continue without interruption. Even as the district numbers on the side of our cars change, our core values - Leadership, Integrity, Service and Fair Treatment to All - will remain constant.
The Department always strives to combine the best of tradition with innovation and we are always driven to carefully manage change. The nine district model was a great tradition, which served its purpose well for five decades. But even as we are guided by the past and inspired by our traditions, we need not be limited by them. The time has come for us to retire one tradition and begin another. The new six district model is the right one for
, both in its present and its future. St. Louis
In every way that counts, this is a solid step forward for the City of
and for the Police Department which never stops working to make it safer. St. Louis