St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell is stepping down when his term ends in June 2022, he announced on Facebook Wednesday.
Axtell, who became an SPPD officer in 1989 and was appointed chief in 2016, said he will not be seeking a second six-year term, calling it a "difficult decision," which he made after spending "the last few months in deep reflection."
"I trust my instincts. I believe in the women and men of the SPPD. And I know that it’s time to move on to serve my community in another manner," Axtell said.
Axtell said he knows the process to hire a new police chief is long, which is why he chose to announce now he's not seeking a second term.
"Serving as the chief of police for the City of St. Paul and leading the best officers and civilians in the country has been my greatest professional honor," Axtell said.
Axtell, who is St. Paul's 41st chief of police, called it an "immense job that carries considerable weight and sacrifice."
"There’s no greater responsibility than protecting people, seeking justice for victims and working to keep police officers safe as they rush into the unknown to help others," Axtell said. "It has been a wonderful and trying experience, one I will forever cherish. The trust bestowed upon me by this city is truly humbling."
Axtell touted the members of the SPPD, saying the future of the department is in good hands.
Axtell, 53, did not share what he plans to do next, but said he still has a "lot of years left to dedicate to being in service to others."
"The deep desire to make a positive difference still courses through my veins," Axtell said. He added: "This isn’t goodbye. We still have a lot of work to do. And I will continue to make the most of and cherish every day."
Axtell's main priorities during his tenure have been addressing gun violence, diversifying the police department and implementing a community engagement unit. He has also sparred with the St. Paul City Council and Mayor Melvin Carter about department funding.
Those close to Axtell told the Pioneer Press this was not a political choice, it was a personal one.