Governor Jay Nixon (D) made the announcement Wednesday morning in St. Louis. Isom replaces Jerry Lee, who is retiring after three years in that position.
Since retiring in 2013 Isom has served as the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Policing and the Community for the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He joined the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in 1988 and was promoted through the ranks before being appointed Chief in 2008.
“As a professor and as a police officer I have dedicated my life to trying to find out better ways to make the community safe,” says Isom.
He holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a master’s in public administration from Saint Louis University.
His appointment is subject to confirmation by the Missouri Senate.
The Department of Public Safety includes eight different agencies including two commissions, and six separate programs all committed to ensuring the safety of Missouri citizens.
Governor Nixon was reticent to discuss whether Isom has a plan in place to bring peace to Ferguson, which has been the site of protests and some riots since the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer August 9. Nixon says the next few days will be spent getting Isom acquainted with what he calls a huge state department with priorities throughout Missouri.
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