North St. Paul adds to its police force

First row from left to right: Officer AmberKatherine DeCory, Officer Raymond Rozales III. Second row, Capt. Dustin Nikituk, Community Service Officer Joe Odegard and Chief Tom Lauth

The city swears in three new officers at city council chambers

North St. Paul welcomed in a pair of new officers to its police force, as well as a community officer, at the city council meeting on Tuesday, June 17.

“We as a police department are very excited to bring aboard new officers (Raymond) Rozales and (AmberKatherine) DeCory,” said Capt. Dustin Nikituk. “Officers Rozales and DeCory bring previous experiences to the table, with officer Rozales previously being a North St. Paul police reserve and officer DeCory previously working in the social services (field) and working with individuals from the North St. Paul community.  We could not be more excited to have them here.”

Chief Tom Lauth, Nikituk and a capacity crowd of onlookers watched as DeCory, Rozales and community service officer Joe Odegard were sworn in by North St. Paul mayor Mike Kuehn in the City Hall council chambers.

Rozales, a St. Paul native, had been in the North St. Paul Police Reserves unit prior to being hired as an officer. He said his interest in law enforcement began while he was a member of the security team at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. From there, he enrolled at Inver Hills Community College and earned a degree in law enforcement.

“Once I got my security position, I just knew what I wanted to do as a career,” he said. “I got to interact with different officers while working there. I got their feedback and input.

“Within a few weeks of working there, I enrolled at the law enforcement program at (Inver Hills) college. Lo and behold, a couple years later I graduated,” he said with a smile.

DeCory’s path to becoming a police officer was a bit different. The Minneapolis native said she knew that she wanted to be a cop very early in life.

She was raised in a military household, which included her mother, who was the first African American woman to serve as a recruiter for the U.S. Army.

“I’ve always wanted to be a cop. It’s something I always wanted to do, and I had a neighbor who was also a cop. I had parents in the military, so I had a bit of a different perspective (from other kids).”

While this is Rozales’first full-time job as a police officer, DeCory has previously served as an officer in Brooklyn Park.

Both said that they understand that this is a job that comes with certain levels of danger, but both seem to be approaching it with a certain degree of caution and optimism.

“I worked overnights at Regions, so we got used to different demands. It’s nice having (had) a security position, and then working with the reserves. It kind of prepared us,” Rozales said.

“When it came down to getting a job as a police officer, I think we all knew what we were getting into. So far, it’s been great.”

DeCory said she keeps those close to her at the forefront of her thoughts when she’s working.

“My goal is to get home every day. That’s what I think about every day when I put the uniform on, and when I take it off,” she said.

“My family is aware of it, and it’s something that comes with my position.”

You can reach Tim Faklis at 651-748-7814, at, or on Twitter @tfaklisnews.


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