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St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said on Wednesday he would not seek reappointment when his term expires in June.

In a touching Facebook post, Axtell described his time as head of the state’s second police force as his “highest professional honor.”

“I trust my instincts,” he wrote. “I believe in the women and men of the SPPD. And I know it is time to move on to serve my community in another way.”

Axtell, 53, has not disclosed the rest of his career, or said who he might endorse as a replacement.

He informed Mayor Melvin Carter, who will face voters next week in his candidacy for a second term, that the decision was difficult and made within months. However, it was not immediately clear whether Carter intended to keep him for another term if Carter was re-elected.

Former Mayor Chris Coleman appointed Axtell as chief in 2016. Throughout his tenure, Axtell publicly fought with Carter over police resources.

In a routine budget presentation last month, Axtell resisted the authority by asking city council to spend $ 3.1 million more on the department than Carter had proposed to help agents do. in the face of an increase in crime.

Axtell expressed concern that a lack of funding in recent years has resulted in staff shortages, agent burnout, cuts in community engagement and traffic law enforcement. , reduced training, longer response times and equipment deterioration

“Right now, the women and men who hold this department together are being pushed to the brink,” Axtell said. “And to put it bluntly, we are making do with the determination of our officers, their unwavering commitment to the victims and a little luck. And I’m afraid our good fortune will eventually run out.”

As of last week, the force numbered 561 officers, although 37 of them could not be deployed due to injuries, military and maternity leave and other reasons, the police spokesman said. , Sgt. said Natalie Davis.

Sixty-five cadets are currently in the department’s academy which began this month and will be ready to work on the streets in July. Axtell said the department will still not be able to keep track of how many officers it plans to retire or leave in the coming months, and some board members have said they will consider funding a second academy in 2022 – something the mayor did not include in his budget proposal.

In the coming months, city council will appoint a committee to review the candidates vying to replace Axtell, according to the city’s charter. This group, which previously consisted of a mix of law enforcement officials and community members, will choose five finalists to present to the mayor.

The mayor will then appoint a chief from the shortlist and the council will have to approve his choice.

St. Paul’s police chiefs serve a six-year term. The first year of this term is considered a kind of probationary period, which means that the mayor can remove the chief with the approval of the council. After that, a leader can only be dismissed for cause by the mayor with the votes of at least five of the seven members of the council.

This is breaking news and will be updated.

Liz Sawyer • 612-673-4648

Katie Galioto • 612-673-4478

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