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Interim police chief will be first woman to lead St. Paul Police Department

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Assistant Chief Kathy Wuorinen will be appointed interim chief of police in St. Paul, making her the first woman to lead the city’s police department.

She will be replacing Chief Tom Smith after he retires later this spring while the city and department looks for a permanent replacement, Mayor Chris Coleman announced Thursday.

“I’m incredibly grateful that Assistant Chief Wuorinen will be taking the helm this spring,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “Her history with the department and her strong leadership make her more than qualified to step into the interim role as we continue our search for a new police chief.”

Wuorinen, a 27-year veteran of the St. Paul Police Department, currently serves as the assistant chief of support services and administration.

According to the release, Wuorinen started her law enforcement career as a deputy with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department in 1985 and joined the St. Paul Police Department in 1988, working various positions, including time as a police officer, sergeant, commander.

She currently lives in Woodbury with her husband of 20 years, Sgt. John Wuorinen, who is assigned to the department’s Internal Affairs Unit.

“I am honored to have been chosen to serve as interim chief while Mayor Coleman and the City of Saint Paul decide who will be the next permanent chief,” Wuorinen said.

The city had planned to have Smith's permanent replacement by June, but the hiring process was delayed because not enough candidates were interested, the Pioneer Press reported. However, with seven candidates finally in the pool, there may be a new chief by July.

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