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St. Louis Post-Dispatch: In simultaneous police chief searches, St. Louis leaders clash, St. Louis County slow to start

ST. LOUIS — A search for a new chief to lead the area’s largest law enforcement agency has quickly become a political standoff. And months after the top cop of the second-largest department abruptly resigned, the hunt to find her replacement hasn’t even started.

St. Louis police Chief John Hayden announced in early September he would retire Feb. 23 after four years as chief.

Since then, the search for a new chief has fueled conflict between two divisions of city government involved in selecting a replacement: Mayor Tishaura O. Jones’ administration and the city’s personnel department, a uniquely independent bureau not directly answerable to the mayor’s office.

The two have clashed over the job’s qualifications, a list of rejections as well as the current finalists for the job, multiple Jones administration and police officials have told the Post-Dispatch.

Meanwhile, in St. Louis County, there is still no active search for a new chief more than four months after Chief Mary Barton abruptly retired July 30, after accepting a $290,000 settlement to resolve a gender discrimination complaint.