St. Paul taps Axtell deputy as interim police chief

A man in a police uniform and a man in a suit behind a podium
Interim police chief Jeremy Ellison (right) will take command of the St. Paul Police Department on June 1. He says he won't seek the job permanently. Mayor Melvin Carter (left) announced his appointment on Wednesday morning.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

A longtime veteran of the St. Paul Police Department will take over as interim chief next month as the city searches for a permanent replacement.

Mayor Melvin Carter on Wednesday named Deputy Chief Jeremy Ellison to the interim role, taking over on June 1 when current Chief Todd Axtell retires.

Ellison started his public safety career as a park ranger in the city in 1999. He's since served as a patrol officer, investigator, federal task force participant and most recently has been the deputy chief in charge of support services.

He pledged to stay the course set by Axtell, who has served as chief for the past six years but announced last fall he would not seek another term leading the department.

"We have the support and trust of the city and the people that we serve — people who do not want to see sweeping changes in the programs that we're delivering, the services that we are out there delivering or the culture that they are appreciating so much every day," Ellison said at a news conference.

Ellison said he would not seek the job permanently.

Carter said the search for a permanent successor to Axtell is underway and that the city has hired a search firm to help. The mayor said he wanted the hiring process to proceed deliberately.

"I believe the City Council is advancing an ordinance to name that examining committee and we expect that work to continue to move forward quickly, and I expect to be able to name a permanent chief by late summer, early fall," Carter said.

Both Minneapolis and St. Paul will have interim police chiefs for the foreseeable future as each looks to replace longtime veterans in the top job. Amelia Huffman took over as interim chief in Minneapolis this year after Medaria Arradondo announced he would not seek another term.

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