ST. LOUIS – Gov.-elect Eric Greitens has tapped Charles “Drew” Juden III to serve as the next Director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.
The incoming governor announced the nomination Monday morning during a press conference at Zisser Tire & Auto, one of several local businesses vandalized and looted during the riots in Ferguson.
The Gov.-elect spoke about the events in Ferguson, saying the loss of life was terrible, but that the failure of politicians turned tragedy into disaster.
“What was missing here was leadership. Our politicians failed us,” Greitens said. “If our leaders had shown up, commanded presence with courage, calm, compassion and clarity, we could have had peace by the second night.”
“Instead, families were put at risk, the town was set on fire, and our state was humiliated around the world. This won’t happen on my watch. As governor, I’m going to work to see that our officers have the equipment, the training and the resources they need to do their job.”
“Public safety is a matter for more than just law enforcement; it’s a matter for all of us,” Greitens continued. “Many people believe that poverty leads to crime, and while that can be true, it’s also true that crime leads to poverty. Too often, crime and violence is measured only in lives lost and property destroyed. But what violence does most of all, it tears at the fabric of our lives. Safety and security is something we have to build, and you build that on understanding.”
“For the last two months, we’ve been hard at work, identifying the leaders who will stand with me to keep Missouri safe,” Greitens said. “And I’m honored to announce Chief Drew Juden as the new director of the Department of Public Safety, and Captain Greg Favre as the new deputy director of the Department of Public Safety.”
Juden comes to the position after serving as director of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety for 15 years, which he has been a member of since 1978, and served on the board of directors for the SEMO Major Case Squad and the SEMO Drug Task Force. He was named President of the Missouri Police Chiefs Association in December of 2014.
— Austin Chambers (@achambersgop) January 2, 2017
Juden was one of Gov. Jay Nixon’s five appointments to the 11-member Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission back in 2015. A directive from Gov. Nixon required the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission and Missouri Department of Public Safety to update the law-enforcement training standards in Missouri following the events in Ferguson.
Capt. Greg Favre takes over the new deputy director after years of service as a captain of the St. Louis Fire Department, and a member of the Fire Chiefs Command Staff.
— Austin Chambers (@achambersgop) January 2, 2017
He’s also a recipient of the Firehouse Heroism Medal, the St. Louis Fire Department’s Distinguished Service medal, and a two-time recipient of the Police and Firemen’s Association Commendation medal.
“These two men are committed public servants, who have spent their lives serving families above and beyond the call of duty,” Greitens said. “I will always have their backs, and I know they will always have ours.”
One of the top priorities for the Greitens administration throughout the campaign, and in their coming term, has been increasing public safety and fighting crime.
“What that means is taking this from a state right now where we’ve got three of the most violent cities to making it the safest state in the country to live, work and play,” senior adviser Austin Chambers said in a conference call last Thursday.
Greitens empathized with law enforcement officers, saying he knew what it was like to put on the armor and carry a sidearm. He also empathized with the protesters, saying he supported their right to protest in a peaceful manner.
“There is a great difference between a peaceful protest and a violent riot,” he said. “And our law enforcement officers are committed to protecting people’s rights to peacefully protest.”
The Gov.-elect has made a point of thanking the men and women of law enforcement in most of his messages, and has made it clear that he intends to “have their backs.”
Some of the proposed ways of doing just that include implementing a Blue Alert system, as well as legislation with stricter penalties for people who assault police officers, both of which Greitens mentioned again during the press conference.
“There’ll be other priorities that go along with that, which we will lay out in the coming weeks as we work with the legislature on this important goal of ours,” Chambers said.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.