North St. Paul chief retires after 32 years; city appoints acting chief

North St. Paul Police Chief Tom Lauth has retired after serving 32 years in the department.

The mayor and city council honored him at their June 1 meeting. His last day was May 31.

“Chief, you have led the North St. Paul police department to what it is today — building a strong relationship with the community while rising to every occasion with the utmost professionalism,” Mayor Terry Furlong said. “Thank you for a job well done.”

Lauth talked about how much has changed in policing since he first started and joked that he became chief because he was there the longest.

“It’s been a great career. It’s been a great life. I’ve raised five children, many grandchildren. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” he said. “It’s time for change. It’s time for somebody else to take it.”

During his tenure, one of his officers, Richard Crittenden was shot and killed in 2009 while responding to a domestic dispute. Crittenden, whom Lauth described as “a man who gave his life … to protect others,” was the first North St. Paul officer killed in the line of duty in the city’s history.

Lauth has also made the news at least twice when black bears wandered into the city and had to be removed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Lauth’s position will be filled by Acting Chief Ray Rozales who has been with the department since 2011 when he was hired by Lauth.

“It’s surreal sitting in his chair,” Rozales said. “It’ll always be his chair in my eyes. I look forward to taking on this task and responsibility.”

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