St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson has become the latest candidate to enter the mayoral race, saying he will continue serving as police chief against the wishes of the man he hopes to replace, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Dotson announced his candidacy in a statement playing up his status as a “full-time police chief” and “not a career politician.” As Mayor Francis Slay sees it, launching a mayoral campaign while still in uniform could make Dotson a part-time police chief. Slay said, “I have told him that St. Louis must have a full-time police chief. While state law explicitly allows first responders to seek public office, it does not relieve them of their full-time job responsibilities.”
Even if Slay wanted to fire Dotson, it appears he can’t. The 2013 shift from a state-run police department to a city-run entity gave the mayor the power to appoint the chief, but a state law prohibits politicians from firing police chiefs without cause. Supporters of the law said it was intended to protect chiefs from politics. Dotson said he had no plans to resign. He said he would focus on his job as chief during work hours, while campaigning only at night and on weekends.