Bob Fletcher resigns from SPPD

Categories: Police, Politics

Minnesota's most controversial cop retires.
Former Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher resigned his post with the St. Paul Police Department Monday, ending a nearly four-decade-long tenure in law enforcement for a cop who built a reputation for doing things his own way.

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A former Minneapolis prosecutor once compared Fletcher to Richard Nixon, and looking at sheer number of controversies, Fletcher is probably just about on par with Tricky Dick. Here's how City Pages writer Matt Snyders described him in our July 2009 cover story, "Meet Bob Fletcher:"

Those who've crossed his path use words like "ruthless," "combative," and "pugnacious" to describe his personality. When the County Board of Commissioners cut his budget in 1999, Fletcher employed an unusually strong negotiating tactic: He sued the board.

"Bob's Bob," says Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett, who sounds exhausted just remembering the suit a decade later. "He'll get there any way it takes to get there."

Fletcher joined the St. Paul Police Department in the late '70s. He was elected Ramsey County Sheriff in 1994, and held onto the job until 2010, when Matt Bostrom dethroned him in dramatic fashion.

October '92 cover of the Twin Cities Reader.
In 1992, Fletcher garnered criticism for leading an ultimately doomed push to repeal the gay-rights provision of St. Paul's human rights ordinance.

Among Fletcher's most recent controversies was the fallout of the Metro Gang Strike Force. Once a cherished endeavor for Fletcher, the unit-gone-rogue was dissolved after multiple investigations and lawsuits exposed rampant inappropriate conduct among officers. He came under harsh national criticism in 2008 for his part in orchestrating raids leading up to the National Republican Convention.

After losing election to Bostrom, Fletcher went back to work as a commander for the St. Paul Police Department. He also started the Center for Somalia History Studies. According to the Star Tribune, Fletcher plans to spend the next few years working with Somali youth.

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