Looking Back: Law enforcement through the years
Published 1:48 pm Monday, April 27, 2020
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The Albert Lea police force in 1922. In back, from left, are Thomas Jones, James Otteson and Theodore Lifeson. Seated, from left, are Chief of Police Edward Carey, Mayor William Wohlhuter and Matron Frances Hedderly. - Photo courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum
The Freeborn County jail was built in 1875. Improvements were made to the building as this 1917 photo reflects. The sheriff and his family lived on the ground floor. Prisoners were housed on the upper floor. - Photo courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum
This 1916 picture postcard shows Albert Lea City Hall at 200 N. Broadway. The city jail was on the lower level.
- Photo courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum
On Independence Day 1939, this city of Albert Lea police car was cruising on Newton Avenue near East Main Street. - Photo courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum
Born in Norway, Ole Anderson started his career in 1925 as a walking patrolman. He patrolled downtown Albert Lea for 17 years. From 1949 to 1956, Ole Anderson served as chief of police. - Photo courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum
In 1942, Olean Kofstad, Freeborn County First Aid chairman, made a detachment presentation to the Albert Lea Police Department. From left are Kofstad, Chief of Police Theodore Lifeson, officers Arthur Purdie, Gus Westrum and Miles Norton, and an unidentified highway patrolman. - Photo courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum
By Linda Evenson
Albert Lea was granted a city charter in 1878. The county sheriff provided law enforcement in Albert Lea prior to 1878. In May 1878, Ed Patrick was appointed day police officer with D. K. Stacy and T. L. Torgerson as night police. During the city’s first 20 years, these men served as chief of police: Reuben William, Ed Patrick, W.C. Mitchell, H.S. Grandy, Frank Merchant, W. S. Carey, S. F. Chamberlain, C.D. Marlett, A.E. Ransom and J.J. Sullivan.
By 1923, Albert Lea boasted a new modern jail. It had two cells for male prisoners and one for women. According to the Albert Lea Tribune’s March 30, 1923, issue, “Miss Hedderly, the police matron, has charge of the Woman’s Ward. She has provided the place with two beds, clean linen, a dresser and all equipment necessary in a first-class bedroom.”
Albert Lea police officers completed the standard and advanced courses in first aid work in 1942. They qualified as a detachment unit to respond to emergency first aid calls. In 1943, the police department received a Red Cross certificate of recognition as the first unit in the state to have all its officers complete the courses.