Capt. Mary Barton

The St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners on Thursday, March 19, announced the selection of Capt. Mary Barton to serve as the next chief of police.

Effective May 1, Capt. Barton will be appointed to the rank of colonel and will begin her tenure as the ninth St. Louis County Chief of Police. She will be the first woman to serve in that capacity.

Barton joined the St. Louis County Police Department in October 1978 and has had held numerous positions. Barton has served over 25 years in the Greater St. Louis Area Major Case Squad as an investigator, supervisor, deputy commander and chief report officer.

Barton has commanded the North County Precinct and was recently assigned to the West County Precinct.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Lieutenant Colonel Barton for many years,” Chief Jon Belmar stated. “I am confident that she possesses the abilities to lead this police department. I look forward to working alongside her in the transition leading up to my retirement.”

Since Chief Belmar announced his retirement on Feb. 10 of this year, the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners has solicited public input into the process of selecting the future chief of police for the St. Louis County Police Department.

“Lieutenant Colonel Barton is an experienced leader with a clear vision of an equitable future for both the Department and the community we serve,” said police commission member Dr. Laurie Punch.

The new police chief has been a member of the Public Safety Advisory Board to the Special School District for over 30 years, developing and advising on training curriculum for vocational high schools students planning to pursue law enforcement careers.

Ultimately, 45 candidates addressed the board of police commissioners. Three “listening sessions” were held in north, south and west St. Louis County, where citizens addressed the board directly with what they believed to be the two or three most important attributes the board should consider in choosing a police chief.

Barton began her law enforcement career after receiving her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Southwest Texas State University. She earned a master’s degree in management and human resource training and development from Webster University in 1991. She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Barton has instructed classes at the County and Municipal Police Academy in communications, cultural diversity and workplace survival. Barton has received numerous awards, commendations and letters of appreciation throughout her career.