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Mayor Slay: Misled by Police or Just Clueless? [UPDATE]

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Slay: To serve and correct
We never did get a call back from the mayor's office on the following issue, but Slay has responded -- sort of -- to the our question posed Wednesday. That's when we asked how it could be that the St. Louis mayor continues to be surprised by police department's public-relations flops when Slay has spent nine years in a role overseeing the department.

On his blog, the mayor says he no longer feels misled by police over the latest mini-scandal involving the way the cops count certain crimes. Instead, he blames them for bad communications.

"After talking to the chief, I now want to call it 'really bad communications,'" writes Slay. "I think both changes made by the department were positive developments that should have been announced broadly, widely, and clearly."

Original post follows...

Mayor Francis Slay is responding to the latest flap involving the St. Louis police department by once again asserting that the agency be placed under the purview of City Hall.

At issue now is the way the police department records crime data. As the Post-Dispatch outlined on Sunday, the department has changed the way it tallies some crimes. It now counts multiple similar larcenies and robberies committed at the same time and in one location as a single crime -- as is requested by the FBI. The daily suggests that this is part of the reason crime has dropped in the city. (Chief Dan Isom disputes the P-D's reporting, btw.)

This week Mayor Slay has been telling media that he was kept in the dark about the accounting change, saying to KWMU that the police were "less than honest" and to KMOX that he was "misled."

But here's what we at Daily RFT don't understand:

How can the mayor continue to be shocked by revelations about questionable police procedure when he himself has a role overlooking the department?

In fact, if you look at the scandals that have plagued the department in recent years (Metropolitan Towing, World Series tickets, rape memos) the one constant is Francis Slay. Over the past nine years his seat on the board of police commissioners has outlasted a police chief and handfuls of other board members. And yet, he continues to be surprised about police activity?

Perhaps there's a good explanation for all of this. But who knows? Yesterday we posed these questions to the mayor's office. We're still waiting a response.


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