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ST. LOUIS — The police chief of Wilmington, Delaware, who has been nationally recognized for his efforts to reduce gun violence, will become the new chief of the St. Louis police department.
Robert Tracy’s appointment was announced Wednesday by St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, who said she is confident Tracy can help address violence in the city with consistently one of the highest homicide rates in the country.
“Chief Tracy has a proven track record of reducing violent crime and has done so in multiple cities and I believe he can do it here,” Jones said.
Jones said Tracy will be the first police chief selected from outside the St. Louis police department. He will begin his new job on Jan. 9.
Tracy, 58, has worked in law enforcement for nearly 40 years. Before being named chief in Wilmington in 2017, he worked in the Chicago and New York police departments.
When asked about a plan to reduce violent crime, Tracy said his first step will be to sit down with department leaders, union representatives, and police officers to assess what the city’s needs are.
“I promise you there will be a transparent plan that will be out there, but I have to get out and look under the hood to make sure that I see what’s going on and I know the issues that are here,” Tracy said.
The city said in a news release that Wilmington shootings fell by 56% and homicides dropped by 41% in Tracy’s first year as police chief.
Tracy replaces John Hayden, who planned to retire in February but agreed to stay longer when conflict between the city’s personnel department and the mayor’s office delayed the national search for his replacement.