After more than four and a half years as Northfield’s top cop, Mark Taylor has submitted his resignation to the City of Northfield.
Taylor, whose position evolved from police chief to director of public safety in September 2010 and was responsible for all police department, fire service and emergency management operations, will head to Milwaukee to be with his wife, Suzette, who moved there two months ago for a job.
For Taylor, who has 27 years of experience in law enforcement—with the last 14 years on the administrative side—it's time for something new.
"I am going to take a little bit of a break," he said. "I'm ready for a little change of pace."
Taylor has an interest in getting involved with corporate security, but that's only one of "a lot of thoughts running around my head so I need a little time to sort through that," he said.
On Thursday, Taylor met with his staff to explain his decision and to thank them for all their work under his watch.
"I have mixed emotions," he said about leaving his post and staff. "They're just a great group of individuals."
Taylor's official last day is Jan. Deputy Chief of Police Chuck Walerius will act as interim director until the position is filled.
City Administrator Tim Madigan said no decision has been made at this time on how to best fill the position. The city is currently restructuring some of its high-level positions with the impending retirements of Library and Recreation Services Director Lynne Young and Human Resources and IT Director Elizabeth Wheeler.
"We'll examine that as time allows," Madigan said.
Looking back on his time in Northfield, Taylor said he's especially proud of the department's interaction with the community and the stability the department has found.
"I'd like to think my leadership has something to do with that. You hire good people—that makes a big difference. I have a really good staff."
He also pointed to the new police station project as a big win.
"I think this department was in dire, dire need of a new police building," he said. "Functionally, we're in a very poor building (in the current Safety Center)."
Madigan said Taylor will be missed.
"Mark's one of the best," he said. "He's a courageous leader who has been a real change agent for public safety in Northfield. I really appreciate his work efforts and also our working relationship."
Before becoming police chief in April 2008, Taylor served as a captain on the Northfield Police Department for nine months.
Taylor started his career as a patrol deputy for the McLeod County Sheriff's Office and worked his way up to chief deputy sheriff before taking the captain job in Northfield. Taylor received a Bachelor's degree in law enforcement from Minnesota State University—Mankato in 1986.
For Taylor, he'll leave Northfield and law enforcement with mixed emotions.
"It's 27 years of my life—it's a pretty big deal for me," he said.