Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former St. Louis Police Chief Resigns as Nixon's Public Safety Chief after Six Months

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former St. Louis Police Chief Resigns as Nixon's Public Safety Chief after Six Months

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * The public safety director named by Gov. Jay Nixon in the aftermath of the violence in Ferguson announced his resignation Wednesday, just a month after the Missouri Senate confirmed his nomination.

Dan Isom, who formerly was St. Louis police chief, said in a statement issued by Nixon's office that he was eager to return to the University of Missouri-St. Louis teaching spot from which the governor recruited him six months before.

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, who was Senate sponsor of Isom's nomination, said Wednesday that she believed there had been friction between Nixon's office and Isom over how unrest in Ferguson was handled.

"They should have known he wasn't going to be a poster child," Nasheed said. She said that Isom "wanted to see some reform and it just fell on deaf ears."

Isom declined to comment Wednesday night.

He becomes the third high-ranking public safety official to leave Nixon's administration in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by then-Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

Col. Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri Highway Patrol, announced this month that he will retire May 1. Jerry Lee, Isom's predecessor at the public safety department, left his post in late August.

Isom is African-American, and his selection helped Nixon deflect criticism that the governor faced for having no blacks in his Cabinet. Since then, Nixon has added another: Nia Ray is director of the Department of Revenue.

In a statement issued by Nixon's office, Isom said he had discovered that teaching was his "true passion."

"It has been a great honor to serve as the Director of Public Safety during this important time, but after a long career in law enforcement I have found that my true passion is teaching and I'm eager to return to my students," it says.

The news release says Isom's resignation is effective Monday and states that Nixon will name his deputy chief of staff, Peter Lyskowski, as acting director of the department until a permanent director is appointed. It also says that former Dunklin County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Sokoloff, of Kennett, will join the department as a deputy director.

"Over the last six months, Dan Isom has been a strong leader for the department and an invaluable member of my Cabinet," Nixon said in the statement. "I am deeply grateful for his wise counsel and leadership, and wish him all the best as he resumes his work at UMSL."

Isom became the St. Louis chief of police Oct. 6, 2008, 20 years after joining the department. He retired effective Jan. 1, 2013, and began teaching criminology at UMSL.

A university official said Isom was expected to return to teaching this semester. Isom holds a bachelor's, master's and a doctorate in criminology and criminal justice from UMSL. …

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