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Dotson ends run for mayor before filing even started

Chief Sam Dotson stl police 1.27.15
File photo | Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio intern
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson, shown here in January 2015, has ended his run for mayor.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson has ended his run for mayor, just more than a month after it began.

Dotson said in a statement emailed to reporters that he believed he could best serve the city and work to bring down crime by staying on as police chief. "Crime is the No. 1 issue in our city," the statement said. "To combat it, we need less politics, not more. We need fewer divisions and more collaboration."

He pledged to work with Mayor Francis Slay to unite the city around the crime plan Slay announced last year.

Pressure had been mounting on Dotson to resign if he continued his mayoral run. Slay, for whom Dotson had served as operations director before being named police chief, had gone so far as to say St. Louis did not need a part-time police chief. A resolution introduced by Alderman JoeRoddy, D-17th Ward, would have made calls for Dotson's resignation if he remained in the race the official position of the Board of Aldermen. The measure never passed, however. Also, questions had emerged about whether Dotson campaigned while in uniform, in violation of state law and St. Louis police policy.

Slay said in a statement that he was happy Dotson planned to stay on as chief.

"Setting aside his own ambition for the good of our city demonstrates his strong character," the mayor said. "I look forward to working with him to unite our city around an agenda to make all neighborhoods safe."

Jeff Roorda, the business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, said the union had a great relationship with Dotson as chief and would have had a great relationship with him as mayor. Roorda said Dotson's decision to devote his attention to the department made him happy and that he wished the chief well.

Filing for the March 2017 primary opens Nov. 28. Aside from Dotson, six candidates have so far filed the paperwork to establish mayoral campaign committees.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.