Mo. chief apologizes for calling officers 'slugs'

Chief Sam Dotson has apologized for labeling some city officers as "slugs" while talking to residents after a Public Safety Committee meeting

By Joel Currier
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS — Police Chief Sam Dotson has apologized for labeling some city officers as "slugs" while talking to residents after an aldermanic Public Safety Committee meeting last week at City Hall.

Dotson was responding to residents' concerns about crime and police response times when a KMOX reporter recorded Dotson telling them, "I've got 1,300 employees, 1,300 police officers. I got 20 percent which are high performers. I got 20 percent which are just slugs, and I got the 60 percent in the middle. I'm trying to work on the 20 percent down here that are slugs, but, you know, I'm trying to move everybody along."

KMOX reporter Kevin Killeen posted a story that included a recording of Dotson's conversation with residents after Thursday's meeting, which had erupted into a shouting match among residents and city leaders over crime.

Dotson declined to be interviewed Tuesday but released his apology through a spokeswoman. It said, in part, "During a radio interview, I made some comments that were not indicative of your hard work and professionalism. The comments were my own, but do not accurately express the respect and admiration I have for all commissioned and civilian employees of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. I sincerely apologize for those comments."

Joe Steiger, president of the St. Louis Police Officer's Association, said in a letter to the department that he met with Dotson on Thursday to discuss Dotson's comments and demand an apology.

"We addressed this with him in person, face-to-face and man-to-man," Steiger wrote. "It is the chief's responsibility to earn the respect of his officers and address any backlash from his comments."

Jeff Roorda, business manager for the association, echoed Steiger's comments, saying, "We are pleased he issued an apology and are ready to move on."

Copyright 2014 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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