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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Police Chief St. Paul Axtell says he made a “difficult decision” to step down after his term expires in June.

On Wednesday, he announced that St. Paul Police Chief Todd Extell will step down as department head when his term expires in June.

Axtell became an officer of St. Paul in 1989, rose through the ranks and was appointed chief of the then St. Paul. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman in 2016.

He could qualify for a second term as chieftain – which was most recently done in St. Paul’s by William Finney, who served two six-year terms as chieftain from 1992 to 2004.

Mayor Melvin Carter is running for re-election next week. He has not previously publicly announced his plans for the chief of police, but said in an interview on Wednesday that he would reappoint Axtell for a second term. Carter said that he and Extell have been discussing the topic constantly over the years, and most recently discussed it a couple of months ago.

Axtell, who notified Carter and the police department in general on Wednesday morning, said in a statement that it is “a difficult decision made after the last few months have been in deep thought.” He added that he knew it was “time to move on to another ministry to my community.”

Axtell has been tested since his first day in office and continues to be – policing has changed since the assassinations of Philando Castile and George Floyd, protests and riots have taken place in the capital, and gun violence has skyrocketed since last year. links the highest number of murders in Saint Paul.

Carter and Axtell were on opposite sides in terms of staffing and department equipment. These moments “end up being big news,” Carter said, adding, “but basically we’ve been friends for 15 years now, we share a common belief about how officers should be in society, and we’ve been able to work together. successfully build an even stronger and more effective police department than ever before. “

Carter said this has become apparent over the past four years because now, among other things, the police department:

  • Removes a higher percentage of arrests.
  • Less frequent use of force and fewer injuries to members of the public and officers.
  • Watched the number of lawsuits against the police and payments fall to the lowest level in a decade.

HEAD OF POLICE AND MAYOR

After an all-time high of 635 officers in 2019, the number is now 620. The city has asked departments to take austerity measures in 2020 and this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, thus avoiding layoffs in the city or investing in the budget … reserves and did not increase the city tax collection.

For the police department, this meant not running academies to recruit new officers. Apart from the 65 people currently undergoing training at St. Paul’s Police Academy, there are 560 salary officers; 523 of them are ready to work at full capacity, the rest are on sick leave, conscription or light work due to injury or health conditions.

On September 1, Axtell deviated from Carter’s proposed 2022 budget and requested additional funding from the city council for the following year to fill the vacant officer posts. Most city councilors said last week that they support the addition of a second police academy to next year’s budget to keep the department on track without sinking to recent lows.

In a letter sent to executives at Securian Financial and Ecolab last week, City Councilor Jane Prince, writing on various public safety issues, wrote that she “believes Chief Extell should be allowed to lead law enforcement rather than being micromanaged with sides of the Administration. As his term expires in June 2022, I am deeply concerned that Chief Axtell, frustrated with his efforts to keep our city safe, will not seek reappointment. This is the worst case scenario. “

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There were other cases of disagreement between Axtell and Carter.

After Axtell told the city council in 2018 that the department would need 50 more officers over the next two years, Carter publicly denied the request and wrote on Facebook: “The philosophy that more police officers, tougher prosecutors and larger prisons equals safer city, failed. … Our main goal should not be to hire as many officers as possible, but primarily to reduce the number of calls to the police. “

When Axtell requested ShotSpotter, a shot detection technology, Carter responded in 2019 that there was no empirical evidence of its effectiveness and did not seek funding from the city council to do so.

Dino Guerin, who is running for mayor of St. Paul, said on Wednesday that he believed Axtell was leaving because Carter did not support him.

“If he had the right staff, (Axtell) could do what he does best, and that’s public relations,” Guerin said.

Dora Jones-Robinson, also a candidate for mayor, said she has worked with Axtell for nearly a decade, most closely at two anti-firearms summits in 2018 and 2019 aimed at helping young people avoid street violence. Axtell spoke at both summits.

“I am so disappointed that the boss decided to resign. It’s heartbreaking, ”she said Wednesday. “Melvin Carter has to leave. We have the best boss, and the mayor just isn’t even trying to help meet his needs to make sure we have a safe city and a strong police department. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Now we need to start from scratch. “

WHAT’S NEXT?

Axtell said he knows the process of selecting a new chief of police is “a long way to go, so I am announcing it today.”

St. Paul’s police chiefs were traditionally selected from among the officers of the department.

The city charter requires the city council to appoint an examination board. The committee reviews candidates and sends the names of the people they think are the most qualified to the mayor, who is then responsible for selecting the chief of police. The city council must vote for selection.

As Axtell said in a statement on Wednesday, being the chief of police is “a huge job with a lot of weight.”

“There is no greater responsibility than protecting people, seeking justice for victims, and working to keep police officers safe when they throw themselves into the unknown to help others,” he wrote. “It was a wonderful and difficult experience that I will always cherish. The trust shown to me by this city is truly humiliating. “

Axtell, 53, hasn’t said what’s next for him, but he knows he wants to continue serving the community.

“From those I admire, I learned that with the heart of a civil servant, you will never stop trying to change the lives of your neighbors for the better,” Axtell wrote.

Frederic Melo contributed to this report.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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