St. Paul approves Axel Henry as new police chief

A longtime Minnesota police officer has been appointed as the next police chief of the St. Paul Police Department. 

A longtime Minnesota police officer has been appointed as the next police chief of the St. Paul Police Department (SPPD). 

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter appointed Axel Henry to the six-year termed position Wednesday. The St. Paul City Council then unanimously approved the resolution on Wednesday. 

According to his bio, Henry became a uniformed officer for the Roseville Police Department in 1995 and joined the SPPD in 1998. He currently serves as commander for the Narcotics, Financial Intelligence, and Human Trafficking Division. Henry received his bachelor's degree in business administration and accounting, and master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from the University of St. Thomas.

As part of the search to fill the position, the city council convened a limited-term St. Paul Police Chief Examining Committee, co-chaired by Kathy Lantry and Sasha Cotton, who was responsible for reviewing applications for the chief of police position, advancing five finalists to Carter.

"We need a police chief who can carry on a tradition of excellence and strong leadership," said Carter at the council meeting Wednesday prior to Henry’s formal appointment. "To use a hockey reference, we need a chief to skate where the puck is going in regards to public safety."

Henry thanked Carter and the council for their vote of confidence after the appointment, saying, "We want to make sure we have the very best department, for the best city, possible … I’m humbled by this opportunity, but it’s also a big responsibility; I know we have the potential to set the bar at a high level for the rest of the country. We know it won’t be easy, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that it’s attainable."

An immediate goal for the department will be to engage the entire community in solving crime along with police, according to Henry. 

"We can’t solve these problems on our own, but if we bring everyone together in a way that’s possible, we know we can achieve success," he said.