Q&A With New Maryland Heights Police Chief Bill Carson
Bill Carson, Maryland Heights' new chief of police, speaks with Patch about his previous experience and some of his goals for the future of Maryland Heights.
Col. Bill Carson took over as Maryland Heights Police Chief on Jan. 3. Although he is new to the position, he is no stranger to law enforcement or the police department.
Carson is married, with two grown children, and lives in Lake Saint Louis. He has more than 33 years of experience as a police officer in the St. Louis metropolitan area and has served 16 years in criminal investigation units as a detective, a supervisor and a commander. His experience includes juvenile, sex crimes, homicide and undercover narcotics and vice investigations.
The chief has a Masters Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri - St. Louis. Upon completing his graduate studies, Carson conducted interviews with incarcerated sex offenders as part of two separate research projects. These interviews took place over a three-year period (2003-2005) at seven different prisons throughout Missouri.
Carson served eight years as a Deputy Commander with the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis. He has investigated and commanded homicide investigationsfor the Major Case Squad in St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren Counties in Missouri.
He sits on the Missouri State Child Fatality Review Panel, and is a member of the International Homicide Investigators Association. In 2011, Carson was appointed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to serve as a member of the Task Force onthe Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children.
Carson has written several articles and taught police officers, prosecutors and social service workers on the subject of understanding and interviewing sex offenders. He has consulted with schools, churches and youth organizations offering insight on ways to better protect children from sexual offenders.
Q&A With Maryland Heights Police Chief Bill Carson
Patch: What attracted you to the chief position?
Carson: I’ve been with Maryland Heights Police Department for 27 years and I was one of the original 40 officers. I have risen through the ranks and I guess it was seven or eight years ago I became aware that I might have the opportunity to be chief one day and I think that definitely appealed to me I started trying to prepare myself for that happening
Patch: What are some goals you hope to accomplish as chief?
Carson: I have inherited a police department that’s in very good shape. There are not a lot of problems. We have some very talented, professional police officers and our are pay and benefits are very competitive so we have very few who leave to go to another department.
The big thing for me, is trying to maintain the high level that we’re at right now and try to be progressive, innovative and willing to try new ideas and new technology. We have to keep up with the criminal community. It seems like they are getting more and more sophisticated.
Patch: What do you think are the main areas of need as far as city crime or the police department?
Carson: I wish I could say Maryland Heights is completely crime free, but it's not. We do our best to be proactive and try to deter crime, but it’s very important that we respond. Crime can be cyclical; it goes up and down, and sometimes we have problems with one particular type of crime and we have to evaluate that and come up with solutions for that issue.
Maryland Heights is very good at solving crime year-in and year-out, we exceed the national average as far as crime clearance and we have an outstanding detective bureau. We put a lot of emphasis on our detective bureau and we feel that our response to crimes in Maryland Heights is one of the reasons why the city has such a good police department.
Patch: What other activities/community groups are you a part of?
Carson: I've been involved in training for a number of years, at police academies and child abuse conferences across the country. I sit on a couple of state panels like the Missouri State Child Fatality Review Panel and also Gov. Nixon's Task Force for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.
One of my goals as chief is to be active in the community. I will visit school board meetings, chamber of commerce, so I’ll be doing different things to be visible in the community, not just to residents but also in the business community.
Patch: What are you looking most forward to as police chief?
Carson: I think there are a lot of things I’m excited about. This is a wonderful opportunity to be chief of such a fine department. I think there’s a lot of things that are going on. We’ve got some ideas that are progressive and we're looking forward to implementing these ideas and trying to better serve the community.