Senate passes bill honoring slain North St. Paul officer

Christine Crittenden, the widow of North St. Paul police officer Richard Crittenden, listens as city manager Jason Ziemer (not pictured) testifies to a Senate committee March 3 at the state Capitol for a bill presented by Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL-Maplewood, right. The bill passed the Senate March 24 to rename Hwy. 36 for the slain officer. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

For nearly a minute March 24, members of the state Senate stood in silence.

Moments after they unanimously voted to pass a bill from Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL-Maplewood, to rename Highway 36 to the “Officer Richard Crittenden Memorial Highway,” they paused to honor the North St. Paul cop who was killed while responding to a domestic dispute call on Labor Day, Sept. 7, 2009. His widow, Christine Crittenden, watched the proceedings from the Senate balcony.

Signs will be posted on the stretch of Highway 36 within the city limits of North Saint Paul as a memorial to the 57-year-old, whose death devastated the community and the small police department in which he was a mentor to younger officers.

A statue in front of the North St. Paul Fire Department is the bronze likeness of Crittenden holding the hand of his young granddaughter, a memorial unveiled a year after his death.

He had numerous nicknames, such as “Grandpa Rick,” and was known for his sharp wit and his big heart for youngsters, especially his grandchildren.

— Kaitlyn Roby

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