Robbinsdale Police Chief Steve Smith resigned Saturday, a month after he was arrested during a prostitution sting in Coon Rapids.

Smith, who rose through the ranks and became police chief in the north-metro suburb in 2008, submitted his resignation by e-mail Saturday morning, according to City Council member Bill Blonigan.

"He's been an exemplary employee," said Blonigan, a member of the council for 33 years. "We feel terrible if the charges are true."

Smith could not be reached for comment Saturday.

According to the police report, Smith, 45, was one of 10 individuals arrested on Feb. 20 at a Coon Rapids residence. Authorities were not told at the time that Smith, who is married and has children, was a member of a law enforcement agency.

It was not clear Saturday why nearly a month elapsed between Smith's arrest and his resignation.

Lt. Jim Franzen will serve as Robbinsdale's interim chief, said Mayor Regan Murphy, who expressed shock and disappointment when discussing the allegations against Smith.

"There's a sadness here — for him and for his family," Murphy said. "As police chief, he kept our city safe. The relationship between the police department and the public couldn't be better."

Smith, who lives in Ham Lake, was booked after his arrest and then released, according to the report. Charges are pending.

Asked how Robbinsdale residents have reacted to the news, Blonigan said, "I don't think many know yet. I don't know how they'll react. Most people I know have felt good about the competent and professional way our police department handles its job."

Paul Levy • 612-673-4419