Mayor Tishaura Jones and Police Chief John Hayden

Mayor Tishaura Jones and Police Chief John Hayden listen Wednesday to Lt. Col. Michael Sack, who will take over as interim chief of the department when Hayden retires in June. The city will use a national firm to find Hayden's replacement.

Retiring St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden, who planned to serve until a permanent replacement is found, is stepping away June 18.

Lt. Col. Michael Sack, Bureau of Community Policing commander, will take over as interim chief and, for now, has the support of The Ethical Society of Police [ESOP], which represents Black police officers in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

“We respect him for his rank and the person he is,” ESOP said in a statement.

“We support Interim Chief Sack, yet we will hold him accountable for our community and our officers during his time as Interim Chief as we've held Chief Hayden and previous chiefs accountable.

“We had open lines of communication with Chief Hayden and expect that will continue with Interim Chief Sack. This continuity is especially critical as we continue to work to fill the gap between law enforcement and the community through this interim leadership. “

Mayor Tishaura Jones and interim Public Safety Director Dan Isom announced Wednesday at City Hall that the Boulware Group will conduct a national search, with assistance from the Center for Policing Equity. The search will be paid for by the Regional Business Council

“We want to keep the public informed around the next steps of the search and ensure St. Louisans we have a plan as we move forward in the next phase,” Isom said.

 “From the beginning of this process, we’ve been committed to transparency around the search for the next police chief,” said Jones.

“We, as a city, must meet the moment. As a mother and a leader, I know we must rise to the challenge to confront gun violence and innovate - especially to engage and protect our youth.”

Isom noted the Boulware Group has worked to help find police chiefs for major municipalities across the country, including police chiefs in Detroit, Prince George County, Washington, DC, and Charlotte.

“St. Louisans deserve an extensive, proper search that will produce the best candidates for our next police chief to help build trust between the community and the department,” said Isom.

“I am incredibly grateful for the work Chief Hayden has done, as well as his commitment to ensuring a smooth transition as we continue the police chief search.” 

“Everything that I wanted to do at work is focused on creating positive change,” Sack said.

“I’ve learned quite a bit from the chief, as well as from others, throughout my career, and I’m confident that I will be able to carry out these responsibilities without any issue,” Sack said during a Wednesday press conference.

Sack joined the St. Louis Police Department in 1994 and worked in District Four, the Central Patrol Detective Bureau, and the Special Services Division.

He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2007 and was assigned to the District Seven until he was promoted again in 2008 to the rank of Captain. As a Captain, he served as the commander of Crimes Against Persons. In 2015, Sack was promoted to Major and served as the Commander of the Central Patrol Division until he was transferred to command the Bureau of Professional Standards.

In 2019, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He remained the Commander of Professional Standards until October of 2021, when he was transferred to command the Bureau of Community Policing.

He has received two Officer of the Year Awards, three Awards of Excellence, and one Chief’s Letter of Commendation. He also attended and graduated from the FBI Academy in 2014.

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