Duluth police chief announces retirement after three decades with department

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken
Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken poses for a portrait in front of the city's Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial in 2018.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2018

Updated: 5:20 p.m. June 8 | Published: 11:34 a.m. June 8

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken announced his retirement Wednesday, after six years as chief and 30 years overall with the department.

Tusken said he was proud of the work the police department did in building trust with the community, and said relationships are critical for public safety.

“It’s important for us to always remember who we work for — we work for the people in this community. We need to be selfless, we need to care, we need to be respectful. And we need to build relationships,” Tusken said on Wednesday.

He’ll continue working in another role after stepping down as chief on Aug. 1. Tusken will be moving to Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, Minn., to take over as the college’s law enforcement program coordinator.

“This profession has given me a lot and I look forward to continuing to give back and inspire people about the nobility of the profession of law enforcement and how good policing has a tremendous impact on the people in our communities in which they live, work, and play,” Tusken said in a news release. “Teaching the future of policing has always been a passion of mine and I had the honor to teach multiple officers who currently work at DPD.”

City officials said they'll name an interim police chief closer to Tusken's departure, who will serve until a permanent chief is named.

Tusken was born and raised in Duluth and joined the city's police department in 1992, serving over the years as patrol officer, juvenile investigator, patrol sergeant, investigative sergeant, lieutenant/area commander, and patrol deputy chief before being named police chief by Mayor Emily Larson in 2016.

"Having Mike Tusken serve as our police chief has been an absolute dream as a mayor," Larson said in a news release. "Mike is a trusted, steady leader who elevates everyone around him. He leads with heart, empathy, courage and a true belief in the power of policing to make people’s lives better and our communities safer.”

Tusken’s pending departure will leave another large Minnesota police department looking for new permanent leadership. The Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments both are being guided by interim chiefs, after their previous leaders retired.

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