St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden Is Done Messing With Jeff Roorda

St. Louis police Chief John Hayden says police union spokesman Jeff Roorda has "no seat at my table." - DOYLE MURPHY
St. Louis police Chief John Hayden says police union spokesman Jeff Roorda has "no seat at my table."

St. Louis police Chief John Hayden says he has no interest in police union spokesman Jeff Roorda's "Monday-morning quarterbacking" and won't negotiate with him.

That's probably a reasonable position to take any time when it comes to the the St. Louis Police Officers Association's tough-talking business manager, but Hayden was responding Roorda's comments today in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article.

The story details the union's attempt to backdoor the chief by asking Missouri Gov. Mike Parson to send the National Guard or state police to take over command of the law enforcement response to late-night chaos on city streets.

"We have no confidence in this police chief and the only safe way for our police officers to respond to this civil disobedience going forward is for somebody else to be making command decisions," Roorda told the newspaper.

Dealing with the complaints of police unions comes with being the chief any police department that has one, but Roorda stands out as a particularly venomous character, whether its antagonizing people with his "Happy Alive Day" love letter to ex-Ferguson cop Darren Wilson on the fifth anniversary of Michael Brown's death, blaming then-President Barack Obama for the killing of police in Dallas or saying St. Louis' first black Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner needed to leave office "by force or by choice."

Roorda told the Post-Dispatch that Hayden bungled the response to violence that followed nonviolent marches in the city. But the chief mocked Roorda as a non-cop. (Roorda was fired from the Arnold Police Department in 2001 for filing false reports.) And said he didn't have the experience leading officers to criticize the command staff's decisions.

"Quite frankly, I am not interested in the business manager's Monday-morning-quarterbacking of our decisions at the managerial level, especially since it comes from someone who has never commanded any officers," Hayden writes in a blistering statement the department tweeted this afternoon. "The business manager of the SLPOA feels a need to thrive on crisis, attempts to invoke panic, and is accustomed to an environment wherein he can control the Chief of Police. A person who is as controversial and divisive as he is, through his words and actions, has no seat at my table, and I am not alone in this sentiment."

Those are the highlights, but it's worth reading the whole statement.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at [email protected] or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.
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