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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson to retire in spring 2018

Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson to retire in spring 2018

Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson will retire next spring.

Peterson made the announcement this week. He has been with the department since 1981, serving as its chief for the past 19 years.

"After 36 years, I still like the job — but there’s a lot of other stuff I’d like to do," Peterson said in an email. "Pretty sure whatever’s next involves a sailboat."

During his tenure, Peterson implemented intelligence-based policing, expanded the department's use of technology, and took measures to address racial disparities. In 2014, he surprised some by attending a demonstration against police brutality.

In a time when the role of law enforcement has often become a divisive topic, Peterson said he is not sure if he's in a position to give advice for the next chief on how to best manage relations between law enforcement and the community.

Chief Peterson walking in a rally against police brutality / 2014

Chief Peterson walking in a rally against police brutality / 2014

But if there's one thing he has learned, he said, it's that communities and police department do not have relationships — only people do. "Talk to people, listen more than you talk," Peterson said, "[and] you've got a pretty good start."

Peterson's last day will be April 25. But before he hangs up his badge, Peterson said he wants to leave knowing he gave it his best.

"I used to work for a guy that told me the secret to success was to surround yourself with good people, wait for them to do something good — and then take credit for it. I think I’ve excelled at that."

In the coming weeks, the mayor's office is expected to begin the process of finding a replacement for Peterson. That process will likely include opportunities for public input.

Cover photo: Chief Peterson speaking to students from University of Minnesota Rochester in 2015 for a special report on DMC

An 'Epic' transition for Mayo

An 'Epic' transition for Mayo

Rochester changing its policy on unpaid parking tickets

Rochester changing its policy on unpaid parking tickets