New kid on the block

Published 10:35 am Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Since he was 5 years old, Richfield native Steve Charboneau has wanted to be a police officer.

Last month that dream became a reality.

Starting with the Albert Lea Police Department Oct. 21, Charboneau was sworn in as the city’s newest police officer at the Oct. 27 Albert Lea City Council meeting.

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It’s his first law enforcement position since graduating in 2007 from Minnesota State University in Mankato with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement and a minor in political science.

He filled a vacancy that has been empty for several months.

Though he has never lived in Albert Lea prior to his hiring, Charboneau said from what he’s experienced so far he really likes the community.

“The people are nice, the department’s nice — it’s got everything you need,” Charboneau said. “It’s definitely got its fair share of variety as far as our work goes.”

He said he’s eager to get out and meet the people in the community.

He’s always wanted to be an officer, he said, because he didn’t want a typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job.

“I wanted to be out there interacting with people, working outside,” he said. There’s always a variety in law enforcement.

Until February he will be paired up with another officer for training when he’ll be ready to go on his own.

So far, he said, he’s learned about different policies, what information to collect when going on a call, what to include in a report and what equipment to use to name a few of the topics.

He’s also gotten to go out on calls with other officers.

“Through the hiring process he was identified as having a lot of potential,” Albert Lea Police Chief Dwaine Winkels said.

Age: 23

Address: Albert Lea

Livelihood: patrol officer for the Albert Lea Police Department

Family: parents Jim and Donna live in the Twin Cities; sisters Jenny and Michelle

Interesting fact: He spent a week and a half in Alaska this summer fishing and hiking with his old roommate.

He’s aware of community policing and is knowledgeable about law enforcement in general, Winkels said.

“He was easily the No. 1 candidate on our list, so we’re very pleased to have him come down here,” he said.

The police chief said Charboneau had several other offers at the time the Albert Lea position was offered to him, so it says a lot about the progress that has been made within the department for him to choose to come here.

Charboneau’s subdistrict has not yet been assigned.

In his spare time, the new officer enjoys hockey, weightlifting, running, golf, baseball and movies.