St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell leaving the force next year

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell announced Tuesday he is leaving the force next year. 

In a statement on social media, Axtell shared that he informed Mayor Melvin Carter and members of the police department he will not be pursuing a second term when his current six-year appointment ends in June. 

"This is a difficult decision, made after spending the last few months in deep reflection," he wrote. "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 did not disclose his future plans. He has been chief since 2016 and has served as a police officer for 33 years. 

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell (FOX 9)

"The police officers with whom I’ve worked over the past three decades have shown me that there is nothing more noble in life than answering the call to serve," he said in his statement. "No matter the pain you see people inflict on others, the innocent victims left physically and emotionally battered by violence, the vitriol or the constant calls for help, they keep coming back to serve a city they care about in their souls."

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter thanked the police chief for his service and wished him well in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.

"With over 15 years as friends and colleagues, Chief Axtell & I share a common belief on how our officers can be a positive force in our community, and I'm proud of the progress we've made together.," Carter wrote in the tweet. "Under his leadership, our police department today responds more quickly to most 911 calls, uses force less frequently, clears a higher percentage of cases with an arrest, and suffers fewer injuries to both officers & civilians."

In recent months, he has sparred with City Council members over police funding.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.