Governor signs bill for Hwy. 36 Crittenden memorial

In a ceremonial signing April 9, Gov. Mark Dayton signs into law a bill designating North St. Paul's portion of Trunk Highway 36 as the "Officer Richard Crittenden Sr. Memorial Highway. Standing behind Dayton's right and left shoulders are State Sen. Chuck Wiger and State Rep. Leon Lillie, who carried the bill in their respective branches. North St. Paul Mayor Mike Kuehn is behind the legislators; Police Chief Tom Lauth and City Manager Jason Ziemer are to Lillie's left. To Wiger's right are Crittenden's widow Christine and his son Rick Jr. and family. (submitted photo)

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 a segment of Highway 36 for the slain officer. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

On Sept. 6 2005, Lino Lakes police officer Shawn Silvera was killed in the line of duty while deploying stop sticks on Interstate 35W to halt a suspect who was fleeing police. The suspect's vehicle struck him. A portion of 35W from the scene of the incident north is now memorialized with the above markers. (online image)

On April 3, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill establishing a portion of Highway 36 as a the “Officer Richard Crittenden Sr. Memorial Highway.

“Today, we honor the precious life, exceptional service, and supreme sacrifice of Officer Richard Crittenden, Sr.,” Dayton said. “Although we can never repay Officer Crittenden for his heroic sacrifice, or fill the terrible void felt by his family, friends, and fellow officers, this action will help honor his memory and heroic service for many years to come.

The legislation (SF 1892/HF 1979), authored by Representative Leon Lille and Senator Charles W. Wiger, honors the life and memory of Officer Crittenden by naming the segment of Trunk Highway 36 within the city limits of North St. Paul.

Crittenden was killed responding to a domestic violence call on Labor Day, Sept. 7, 2009. He had served with the North St. Paul Police Department for nine years, and previously served with the Wabasha County Sheriff’s Office for four years. He served in Vietnam with the United States Army. Officer Crittenden is the first North St. Paul Police Officer ever to have been killed in the line of duty.

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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