St. Louis top cop grades himself ‘B’ during first year

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – On his one-year anniversary as St. Louis City’s top cop, the police chief fielded questions surrounding his accessibility and police-involved crashes rather than discuss the decrease in violent crime.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Tracy took nine questions at Tuesday’s news conference. Mayor Tishaura Jones scheduled the event to tout Tracy’s first year as chief and the city’s decrease in violent crime in 2023.

In less than a month, three police SUVs have been involved in violent wrecks. From blowing stop signs and stop lights to crashing into Bar:PM, the FOX Files has learned that the last two wrecks involved newer officers.

“I’m looking at the type of training we’re doing, and I’ve sat down with training,” Tracy said.

After a police recruit graduates the academy, they go through a six-month evaluation period with a senior officer, according to Tracy.

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“(Senior officers) make recommendations to let (police graduates) off probation, and that’s one of the things I’m reviewing,” Tracy said. “Maybe we should grade that a little harder—to make sure they stay on probation or we send them back for re-training. These are things I’m looking at.”

This is the first time Tracy spoke to FOX 2 about the crash involving Bar:PM, a LGBTQIA+ bar. A lieutenant colonel addressed the issue during a weekly media briefing, but the chief faced scrutiny for not discussing it himself.

“For executive development, I’m here to develop the leaders of the future. I’m not going to be here forever,” Tracy said. “I come from a world of allowing other people to have ownership in my department, be leaders and develop leaders. I’m aware of (the information that is released) and it goes out with my permission and my oversight.”

Tracy’s last news conference was on Father’s Day, after a dozen teenagers were shot in downtown St. Louis. Despite interview requests being unanswered or unscheduled, Tracy said he’s available to reporters.

“I am accessible. If you come to the community meetings, it’s rare I’ll ever turn down anyone to come up and ask me a question,” he said.

The chief promised to make himself available to reporters and the media in 2024. The FOX Files immediately requested a sit-down interview with him.

While being asked about the crash into Bar:PM, Tracy said he’s limited in what he can share because of Missouri law, and the investigation is still ongoing. He acknowledges that the officer made a mistake because he was apparently distracted by his in-car radio.

“I can get into a little bit with the body-worn camera. He apologized. He said, ‘No one here is more remorseful of crashing into your establishment,’” Tracy said after watching the bodycam video.

The FOX Files asked Tracy to grade himself for the past year.

“I’d give my officers and civilian workers that do all the background information—the 911, my crime analyst, my marshals, park rangers, civilian staff—I’d give them all an A+,” Tracy said. “There’s so much more work to do; there’s still too many murders. I’d give myself a B. There’s so much work to be done.”


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