St. Paul police chief says he'll step down in June

A man with a beard speaks into a microphone.
St. Paul police Chief Todd Axtell speaks during a December 2020 press conference about a use of force incident involving the shooting of an unarmed man in St. Paul. On Wednesday, Axtell announced he won't seek a new term as chief.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Updated: 2:58 p.m.

Calling it a difficult decision, Todd Axtell, St. Paul’s police chief, said Wednesday that he will not seek a second term as chief when his current contract ends in June.

“It has been a wonderful and trying experience, one I will forever cherish,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

Axtell has led the force through some of its most difficult times, including the unrest that spilled into St. Paul following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in 2020.

Following Axtell’s announcement, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said he would have liked to continue working with Axtell, adding that he would look for similar qualities in the next chief.

"We see fewer injuries to both officers and civilians, and we've brought legal settlements related to police conduct lower than they've been in a decade,” the mayor said. “That's all due to some pretty strong leadership that Chief Axtell has provided to our department and he and I being able to work in close partnership to make sure officers have the resources they need."

Axtell is asking the city for more resources than the mayor has proposed in next year's budget.

He said he's making the announcement now because he knows how difficult it will be to find a new chief. He joined the St. Paul Police Department in 1989 and was named chief in 2016 by then-Mayor Chris Coleman.

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