By Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2020

ST. LOUIS (AP) - St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden is optimistic that the removal of the residency requirement for his department will help fill several vacancies — perhaps leading to a net increase of about 100 officers over the next year.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the department is authorized to have 1,349 officers but is currently 129 officers short.

On Monday, Gov. Mike Parson signed a law repealing the long-standing residency requirement. Hayden said Tuesday during a Public Safety Committee meeting that he is hopeful the change will lead to double the number of applicants for city police officer jobs.

Hayden also released updated statistics showing the city had 36% more homicides through August, compared to a year ago. He said 114 of the 185 homicides through August had been in June, July and August. As of this month, the city has topped the 194 killings for all of 2019.

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