Looking Back: Law enforcement through the years

Published 1:48 pm Monday, April 27, 2020

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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.

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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.