Today we celebrate Police Chief Ty Schmidt's retirement and thank him for 32 years of tremendous service (1991 to 2023). He dedicated 28 of his 32 years to our community (1995 to 2023), serving six years as our Chief of Police (2017 to 2023). Congratulations and best wishes on your future endeavors.
A message from Chief Schmidt:
“I would like to thank the City staff, elected officials, police department, and members of the public for entrusting me with this position and for all the support. We have been through great times and difficult times, and I appreciate all of you. Even though I am retiring, I am not going to sit in a rocking chair as I have plans that include more family time, and a second career as a pilot. I look at this next phase of life as Tennyson put it, “strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. It has been my pleasure and honor to serve Champlin. Farewell and God Bless."
Chief Schmidt’s Story:
I come from a law enforcement family. My dad is a retired captain from Detroit Lakes, and I have extended family members who have served. Personally, I had an unusual start to my career. I started in May of 1991 as an undercover narcotics officer in southeast North Dakota. I did undercover work for over a year and then transitioned to a more conventional narcotics investigation. I worked there until August of 1995. It was a great job and I have a ton of stories. We spent time in helicopters, canoes, and on horseback. I learned a lot and had a great team, but my heart was in Minnesota.
I met Chief Al Garber and Dave Schwarze (then a sergeant but later became Chief) from Champlin PD at SWAT training at Camp Grafton, ND. A few months later they notified me that Champlin was hiring. I drove here and did a couple ride-alongs, then applied. I was offered a job and was supposed to start by December, but it got pushed back to January and then new City Council decided that they were not going to hire. I was disappointed, but I enjoyed my job in ND and was running a martial arts school in Fargo, so I was content. A few months later, I got a call asking if I still wanted the job and how soon I could start. I moved my family here from North Dakota and my first day in Champlin was August 14, 1995. I worked patrol for five years then was assigned as an investigator. During that time, I served as a firearms instructor, a defensive tactics instructor, and a SWAT team officer. From there I was promoted to sergeant and then to deputy chief. I served as deputy chief for 13 years and then was promoted to chief. I have been the Chief of Police since July of 2017.
During my time here, I have seen a lot of growth. Champlin’s population and police department are much larger than when I started. As I progressed through my career, I was involved in bringing new investigative tools to the department, implementing squad car cameras, and body-worn cameras, advancing equipment and firearms, changing the record system, implementing ink to electronic fingerprinting, and I even had a small role in the development of our current building. In the last few years, we have modernized our domestic assault response, added four officers, added mental health services, implemented drones, provided riot gear for the entire department, and are in the process of adding an embedded social worker.
I have been in this career through many changes and difficulties. I started shortly before the riots after the Rodney King verdict, watched the O.J. Simpson car chase from work, served through the heyday of COPS, was on duty during 9-11, and COVID. I was on-duty in this city when I watched the twin towers fall. I commend officers, past and present, for their courage in facing the challenges of this career and continually striving to do the job better.
My most difficult moments as Police Chief were during the protests and threats made to burn down the house of Kim Potter. We endured a lot of criticism when we made the call to barricade and defend it as well as the surrounding homes. Protestors and some in the media were critical of efforts, but we were not going to allow anyone to come in our city and start burning down houses. We worked long hours and kept the Emergency Operations Center open twenty-four hours a day to monitor activity and keep our residents safe. I am proud of the work that our department (and all those others who assisted us) did at that time and I would certainly do it again.
Most of my favorite memories of the police department revolve around relationships with the people who work here. I have had the good fortune to work with a lot of great cops, as well as non-sworn staff, who are fun to be around. The camaraderie I have experienced here is difficult to describe to anyone who has not experienced it. The stresses and pressures of the job lead to creative ways to blow off steam and create hilarious moments.
I have greatly enjoyed the connections that I have been able to make with the community in the time that I’ve been Chief. I get to coordinate with the members of the Crime Prevention Fund and many other donors who fund community outreach efforts. Many people have donated to help us with the Shop with a Cop program, but none more so than the staff and congregation of Riverway Church. There are a lot of wonderful people in Champlin and I'm thankful for the partnerships that support the Champlin Police Department. Again, it has been my pleasure and honor to serve Champlin.
It has been a pleasure and honor to work alongside Chief Schmidt. Thank you and congratulations on your well-deserved retirement.