A stretch of State Highway 36 in North St. Paul should be renamed for a police officer slain in 2009, a Minnesota lawmaker proposed Monday.

Sen. Charles Wiger, DFL-Maplewood, presented the legislation with the support of Crittenden’s widow, Christine, who was by his side. The proposal would rename the highway within the North St. Paul city limits the “Officer Richard Crittenden Memorial Highway,” complete with signage.

Officer Richard “Critter” Crittenden died Sept. 7, 2009 when he was shot in the head during a struggle with a domestic violence suspect. The death of the 57-year-old officer devastated the 19-member police department and the east metro community where he served as a liaison to local businesses and everyone knew his name. A bronze statue of Crittenden stands in front of North St. Paul’s city hall.

His kindness and heroic actions were simply instinct, North St. Paul Police Chief Tom Lauth told the Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee.

“Rick didn’t know any other way,” Lauth said, pausing to regain his composure. “That was Rick, and for Rick, being a police officer was truly a calling.”

The measure passed unanimously and will head next to the Senate floor.



Christine Crittenden, center, testifies about her late husband, Richard Crittenden, to the Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee.