St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell marks his last day with SPPD

Chief Todd Axtell marked his last day with the St. Paul Police Department (SPPD) on Wednesday, calling his 33-year career "rewarding and wonderful."

Axtell, who announced in October he would be retiring, spent his last day on the job in a squad car with his son, a sergeant with the SPPD. He had been chief since 2016 and served as a police officer for 33 years. 

"Today, I just wanted to take a step back and ground myself to where I started working patrol on the East Side, and I get to do that with my son," Axtell told FOX 9's Alix Kendall. "To leave the legacy behind and have him come up in the organization really is a touching moment for me to be able to share a squad car and look through that squad car windshield with my son. It'll be quite an honor."

The St. Paul City Council declared June 1 Todd Axtell Day in St. Paul, and Gov. Tim Walz proclaimed June 1 Todd Axtell Day in Minnesota. The governor's proclamation says Axtell has championed trust, transparency, community engagement, diversity and accountability throughout his career, noting he has increased the diversity of law enforcement professionals by 41% over the last six years. 

Deputy Chief Jeremy Ellison is serving as the St. Paul Police Department's interim police chief while the city is conducting its nationwide search for a new chief. Mayor Melvin Carter hopes to have a permanent chief appointed by late summer or early fall.