It's been a year and still there isn't a day that goes by that colleagues don't stop to remember their friend, whom they often called "Grandpa Rick" because he was the oldest man on the force.
They have now made sure that North St. Paul police officer Richard Crittenden will be remembered for a long time to come.
Officers from North St. Paul and others in the law enforcement community have held benefits for Crittenden's family and also decided to use some of the money to buy a life-size bronze statue in his likeness. That statue will be unveiled during a public ceremony at noon Tuesday outside the North St. Paul City Hall and Police Station at 2400 Margaret St.
Crittenden, 57, was fatally shot Sept. 7, 2009, while responding to a domestic disturbance by a man who was at his estranged wife's apartment illegally.
"It is so appropriate and proper at the one-year anniversary of the tragic loss of North St. Paul police officer Crittenden for our community to remember and permanently honor the only North St. Paul police officer who lost his life in the line of duty in the 122-year history of our city," said Mayor Mike Kuehn, who will speak during the ceremony.
"The memorial will be a permanent reminder of officer Crittenden, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in protecting the citizens of our community."
Crittenden's wife, Christine, and family members will unveil the statue after an honor guard ceremony and remarks by various dignitaries.
Crittenden started on the North St. Paul force on Sept. 11, 2000, and proudly wore badge No. 933 for nine years, co-workers said.
"He cared about everybody," said 24-year officer Scott Swensen, one of many who helped coordinate Tuesday's ceremony. "That was the kind of guy Rick was. We can't forget him and what he did."
In March, the North St. Paul to the Wall fundraiser brought in enough money to help Crittenden's family and also send North St. Paul officers to Washington, D.C., on May 15 when Crittenden's name was inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
With the money left over, Swensen said, officers commissioned retired Minneapolis police officer Neil Brodin to make a bronze statue in Crittenden's likeness. Brodin now runs Brodin Studios, a company in Litchfield, Minn., that makes bronze statues and memorials for fallen military, police officers and firefighters.
As the basis for the sculpture, Brodin used a snapshot of Crittenden in uniform holding the hand of his granddaughter, Meghan, as they walked down a street. The tiniest details, including the lettering on his patch and metal badge, were incorporated into the statue.
The statue, which weighs about 600 pounds and cost between $40,000 and $50,000, was paid for entirely with donations. It also includes a smaller figure representing his granddaughter. There also is a plaque that tells how he ended his tour of duty as a police officer on that fateful day.
"You can't bring them back," Brodin said. "But you can honor their memory."
Tim Harlow • 651-735-1824