ST. PAUL, Minnesota Oct 28 2016 -- Whether it was bringing justice to homicide victims or juveniles who'd been sexually assaulted, St. Paul police Cmdr. Trish Englund would not stop until she had solved a case.
She brought her tenacity to the St. Paul Police Department for more than 30 years and, more recently, to her own battle with cancer.
Englund, 54, was diagnosed in January. She died Monday at home in Maplewood.
"She took it on with a sense of humor," said St. Paul police officer Sandy Kennedy, a friend of Englund's. "She fought it with laughter and everyone jumped in and helped her with it."
Englund was born Dec. 29, 1961, and grew up in St. Paul's Hamline-Midway. She then lived and worked on the city's East Side for 25 years. "She is a St. Paul girl born and raised, through and through," said Patrick Scott, Englund's husband.
After joining the St. Paul Police Department as a records clerk in 1983, Englund went on to work as a parking enforcement officer, and was hired as a police officer in 1993. She later spent about nine years as a homicide investigator, and separately investigated sex crimes, gang crimes and more. She most recently was a watch commander.
In the homicide unit, whenever Englund and now-Assistant Chief Kathy Wuorinen paired up on a case, they solved it within 24 hours.
"Trish was a huge outside-of-the-box thinker, so a lot of it had to do with her," Wourinen said.
Englund was honored in 2010 as the police department's Detective of the Year for her expertise with tracking and identifying illegal guns, leading to people being charged with gun violations.
She also received accolades for her work in 1997 to locate juvenile victims of gang rapes. They had been afraid to come forward and Englund persuaded them to report the crimes, leading to convictions.
"She really wanted to help people who'd been victimized and children who were harmed," Wourinen said. "She was a champion for children for sure."
While Englund kept busy at work, she raised her daughter as a single mother.
"Her daughter and her job were her life," Scott said. Now, Keirsten Englund is pursuing a career with the St. Paul Police Department because she wants to follow in her mother's footsteps.
Englund also became a "second mom" to Amanda Heu, whose mother was Englund's co-worker and friend. Marie Heu was an office assistant in the St. Paul police homicide unit when her estranged husband murdered her in Eagan in 2000.
"She was willing to drop everything for anyone else and would make that person her priority, as if she had nothing going on in life," said Heu, who was 18 when her mother was killed and is now a St. Paul police sergeant. "Oftentimes, you'd learn she had numerous things going on."
After Englund was diagnosed with cancer, her fellow officers and classmates from the St. Agnes School class of 1979 organized fundraisers for her. The money raised gave Englund an opportunity to do some of the things on her "bucket list," including going zip lining at Niagara Falls, Scott said.
In September, Scott and Englund were married at a small ceremony in Como Park. They'd worked together as St. Paul police officers, been friends for 20 years and were a couple for the last 2 1/2 years.
Doctors only gave Englund a couple of months to live, but she pushed on to accomplish the goals she'd set when she was diagnosed, Heu said.
On Friday, Englund had completed all of them, including getting her house remodeled for her daughter to live in, but there was one she was not able to reach -- she'd hoped to live long enough to meet her grandson, whom her daughter is expecting in December.
In addition to her husband and daughter, Englund is survived by her father, Carl Englund; brothers, David and Carl Daniel Englund; and stepchildren, Kasarah and Jesse Archambault.
Funeral arrangements are being finalized.