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After long career, a 'sour' end for St. Paul Park police investigator

Kyle Lindquist received a plaque at his retirement party Aug. 31. Katie Nelson / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
Kyle Lindquist (left) had a retirement party at City Hall Aug. 31. Katie Nelson / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

St. Paul Park police officer Kyle Lindquist is moving on after 29 years in blue.

Lindquist said his goal was to work for the city 30 years, but stepped down early this month after "28 and a half great years," and a "miserable" ending.

In 2005 he was injured after falling from a ladder, his "first time in an ambulance as a patient," he said. He had to have two surgeries on his shoulder in the last year, one unsuccessful and another in May that he had better luck with.

Lindquist took time off for recovery, and during that time another officer filled in his investigator position. When he returned to the department, he was assigned back to patrol.

"I eventually lost my position ... I felt I was pushed out the door," he said.

Chief Jessica Billmeyer said patrol officer Mike Knutsen was promoted to investigator.

"I needed to keep things going, needed an investigator in that position, because we had the position (empty) so long, a lot of that investigation work was falling on me," she said. "It made the most sense to make that change."

The investigator handles a lot of theft cases, domestic crimes and some suspicious activity and fraud cases.

Billmeyer said she plans to switch out the investigator every few years.

"My goal with investigator position now is to have it rotate every five years," she said. "This is a small department ... I want to give them all an opportunity."

Lindquist worked as an investigator for almost 20 years.

"I didn't want to leave on a sour note, and I felt that I did," he said.

Billmeyer said Lindquist was a very experienced officer, and "definitely knows the ropes pretty well."

When she started as chief about a year and a half ago, she said he was a good resource for her to get familiar with St. Paul Park, Washington County and the department.

The department posted an opening for a new officer since they are down one after Lindquist's retirement. There are eight officers including the investigator and chief positions.

Lindquist said he will be speaking with city council members about his experience, in hopes that it "doesn't happen to someone else" in the department.

"The whole thing was sad," he said.

Investigator days

Originally a mechanic, Lindquist took a test in 1983 to become a police reserve officer in St. Paul Park.

"Shortly after graduating from a technical school I decided (being a mechanic) is not what I wanted to do in my life," he said.

He did reserve duties and code enforcement until he finished the police academy in 1986 and landed the job as a St. Paul Park officer.

"It's more challenging and more rewarding than being a mechanic," Lindquist said.

There were days that were more difficult, Lindquist said, but he has "nothing bad to say about the first 28 and a half years" on the job, when Mike Monahan served as police chief.

"It was a good run; I really enjoyed it ... I loved coming to work every day," he said.

Working in the city for so many years, Lindquist said one perk of the job was getting to meet a great deal of the residents.

"There's always some bad people in town, but there's a lot of good people in town, and over the years I got to know a bunch of them," he said. "Even people I've arrested for various crimes would come up and say hi and shake my hand."

Lindquist was a field training officer for part of his career, and helped new St. Paul Park officers.

"I'm going to miss the guys," he said. "(At my retirement party) I had a couple of them come up and said thanks for all your help, and ... that really felt good."

The city council accepted his resignation at the Aug. 21 council meeting .

"We're going to miss his experience, and many, many thanks to him," council member Tim Jones said.