ST. PAUL, Minn. - Being the chief of the St. Paul Police Department is pretty heady stuff for a guy who started on the streets as a beat cop.
But just because Todd Axtell now has his name on the department's masthead... doesn't mean he forgot where he came from, or the duties of those who serve.
On Friday Chief Axtell was driving his unmarked squad northbound on Broadway Street near Balsam about 8:45 a.m when he saw a man grab a woman and throw her violently to the ground.
Police spokesman Steve Linders says the chief immediately pulled over and exited his SUV. He identified himself as St. Paul's police chief, then intervened and detained the suspect, who tried several times to get away from the chief.
Axtell also called for medics, who checked the 38-year-old female victim at the scene and determined she did not have any serious injuries. Backup soon arrived and took the 37-year-old male suspect to jail.
Linders said the chief did not want to make a big deal about what happened. “This incident isn’t really about me," Axtell said in a shared statement. "I was just doing what our cops do every day—responding to something that is wrong in order to make it right."
"I’m just happy to have been in the right place at the right time so the assault could be stopped," Axtell continued. "My hope is for the victim to connect with services that will help keep her safe and for the perpetrator to be held accountable for his actions so this doesn’t happen again.”