Meet Albert Lea’s new officers

Published 9:57 am Monday, March 7, 2022

Ryan Bassett

Family: wife and two children

When did you start with the Albert Lea Police Department? June 28, 2021

Please explain some of your background and training (where you grew up, where you got your law enforcement degree, other departments you may have worked in, etc.). Grew up in Wisconsin; bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University; law enforcement skills from Alexandria Technical College; started career with Minnesota Department of Corrections as a corrections officer and then transitioned into law enforcement from 2004 until 2020. In 2020 was a parole agent for Minnesota Department of Corrections. Left the DOC in June 2021 for Albert Lea Police Department.  

Why did you get into law enforcement? Excitement, something new every day. Making a difference in people’s lives.

What attracted you to the Albert Lea Police Department? Larger department with lots of training. A chance to advance to other positions.

What do you think you can bring to the department that the community will benefit from? A good work ethic with high standards for community interaction

What shift will you be working/when can people expect to see you on duty? Evenings

What district/area in the city have you been assigned? District 3

 

Robert Heard

City of residence: Austin

Family: Yes

When did you start with the Albert Lea Police Department? December 2021

Please explain some of your background and training (where you grew up, where you got your law enforcement degree, other departments you may have worked in, etc.). I have lived all over the United States. I was born in Dallas, Texas, then lived part of my childhood outside of Memphis, Tennessee. The best part of my youth and teenage years were spent in a town outside of Seattle until my father got transferred back to Tennessee just outside Nashville.

I lived in Tennessee for seven years and met my beautiful wife after completing my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Austin Peay State University. In 2015 we were blessed with our daughter, who despite being born 13 weeks early she made it after an extensive fight for survival in the NICU.

In 2017 we decided to take an advancement opportunity in West Palm Beach, Florida, with the company I was working with at the time. We only lived in Florida for about eight months because our daughter got diagnosed with a rare and lethal genetic disease called Hurler Syndrome, which is only found in about 1 in 100,000 births. Soon we found out that the best hospital for a bone marrow transplant for this syndrome was the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. My wife and I knew we had to do what was best for our daughter, so we sold all that we had and transferred my job to Minneapolis. We were blessed that the transplant went well, and she has had very little complications from the transplant.

In 2019, after talking to a mentor of mine with the University of Minnesota and being inspired by how much they did for us throughout our daughter’s transplant, I felt encouraged to continue to pursue my education and complete law enforcement skills training through Hennepin Technical College. The next year I was able to start a new job with Hennepin County Department of Corrections in downtown Minneapolis. I enjoyed working in the jail and the experience it brought, but I knew my passion had always been to be in law enforcement since I was at a young age. So I decided to start looking for police officer job openings.

I wanted to work in a city or town outside of the metro and saw that Albert Lea had a new job posting. When I called for an interview to meet with the Director of Public Safety J.D. Carlson and Deputy Chief Hanson, I didn’t know exactly what to expect but after the interview I knew this was the department I wanted to work for and be involved in. The management structure and leaders are well-rounded leaders who have a passion to serve the community and enjoy what they do on a daily basis.

Why did you get into law enforcement? I got into law enforcement because I wanted to be in a career that I was challenged on a daily basis and have the opportunity to meet different people. There is an old expression that you don’t choose law enforcement, law enforcement chooses you, and I believe that phrase fits my situation. I have a great mentor when I first moved to Minnesota that encouraged me to pursue my passion in law enforcement and pointed me in the right direction to do so. 

What attracted you to the Albert Lea Police Department? What attracted me to work for the Albert Lea Police Department was the great standing and reputation I have heard from other officers in different departments of how well Albert Lea Police Department is great to work for.

What do you think you can bring to the department that the community will benefit from? The benefit I could bring to the city of Albert Lea and Albert Lea Police Department is the ability to work with anyone. Working in Hennepin County allowed me the privilege to see and experience situations from a different perspective.

What shift will you be working/when can people expect to see you on duty? I will most likely be working night shift.

What district/area in the city have you been assigned? District Three, south side of the city

 

David Huse

City of residence: Austin

Family: Wife, beagle (Mr Pickles) and ducks (Mr Quackers and Rusty)

When did you start with the Albert Lea Police Department? June of 2020

Please explain some of your background and training (where you grew up, where you got your law enforcement degree, other departments you may have worked in, etc.). Grew up in Dexter and went to college at RCTC (Rochester Community and Technical College). Graduated RCTC in 2014. Started working part time for Preston PD in 2014 and Rushford PD in 2015 part time. Became full time Rushford PD in 2015. During that time also worked part time for the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office. 2016 worked for Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office. 2017 accepted a position with Windom PD. 2020 accepted a position with Albert Lea PD.  

Why did you get into law enforcement? I enjoyed talking and interacting with people and problem solving. I also enjoyed working nights and having everyday being something new.

What attracted you to the Albert Lea Police Department? I have family that live in Iowa near Albert Lea and family that live in Austin, so I wanted to be closer to family. During my time with the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office, I got to know the officers and supervisors who work for Albert Lea PD. I saw the employees for Albert Lea PD were great individuals who wanted to serve the community, and I wanted to be a part of a department that has community-oriented goals.

What do you think you can bring to the department that the community will benefit from? I bring seven years of law enforcement experience and a strong desire to serve the citizens of Albert Lea.

What shift will you be working/when can people expect to see you on duty? I work overnights usually from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

What district/area in the city have you been assigned? Most shifts are varied so I am able to work all districts during the week.

 

Kristen Steinberg 

City of residence: Southern Minnesota

Family: Husband, Theo (Hedgehog)

When did you start with the Albert Lea Police Department? Dec. 7, 2020

Please explain some of your background and training (where you grew up, where you got your law enforcement degree, other departments you may have worked in, etc.). I grew up in Maplewood in the Twin Cities. I went to Minnesota State University, Mankato for my four-year bachelor’s degree in law enforcement. I started my law enforcement career as a reserve for the MN State Fair Police. From there, I worked as a correctional officer at the Ramsey County Correctional Facility in Maplewood for about a year. I became a fully licensed law enforcement officer with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff for 2 1/2 years. At the sheriff’s department, I worked in the adult and juvenile courts, transports, extraditions and Regions hospital.

Why did you get into law enforcement? 

Since being a young girl, my mother said I always stood up for the kids who got bullied and had a heart for justice. As I got older, I realized how much law enforcement appealed to me and proved to be true my first year at college. The responsibility and honor that goes with this job grabbed me. I realized this job was the best way for me to impact people and be a light in the dark. 

What attracted you to the Albert Lea Police Department? I moved to southern Minnesota where my husband grew up and is currently a Steele County deputy with the Sheriff’s Office. I was looking for an agency that would be closer than the one I had in the Twin Cities. The smaller size of the department appealed to me, feeling homier. Once I did my first ride-along with an officer in the interview process, I knew this was the department I wanted to work for. The people in this department are helpful, caring and go out of their way to see a person succeed. I have appreciated the thoughtfulness and respect of this department.

What do you think you can bring to the department that the community will benefit from? Having the “gift of gab” can be a blessing in this job and one that I have had my whole life. Giving people the time in situations to explain their hardships and stories is something I care about. I hope to use my uplifting personality to lighten someone’s day no matter how rough it had been.

What shift will you be working/when can people expect to see you on duty? I currently work the mid-shift hours, 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.

What district/area in the city have you been assigned? I have been assigned to District 2.

 

Luke Tuzinski 

City of residence: Albert Lea 

Family: Wife and two boys

When did you start with the Albert Lea Police Department? December 2020 

Please explain some of your background and training (where you grew up, where you got your law enforcement degree, other departments you may have worked in, etc.). Grew up in the metro. Went to Normandale Community College for associate’s and Hennepin Tech for Skills.

Why did you get into law enforcement? I wanted to get into law enforcement after seeing the public response to controversies and feeling like I could help change the perception of police.

What attracted you to the Albert Lea Police Department? I wanted to work in a place where I could build relationships and not be as anonymous as in a larger city.

What do you think you can bring to the department that the community will benefit from? I have a different knowledge base and skillset since law enforcement is a second career for me.

What shift will you be working/when can people expect to see you on duty? Overnights

What district/area in the city have you been assigned? District 3

 

Nathan Goette

City of residence: I live in the county, west of Albert Lea

Family: I have a wife and three children, 3,5,7

When did you start with the Albert Lea Police Department? I started on Aug. 9, 2021.

Please explain some of your background and training (where you grew up, where you got your law enforcement degree, other departments you may have worked in, etc.). I grew up in Freeborn and went to school at USC. I received my associate’s degree in law enforcement from RCTC in Rochester. I started my career in Vermillion, South Dakota, and worked there for two years before moving back to Minnesota. I briefly worked for the Scott County Sheriff’s Office before being hired by the Shakopee Police Department. I was a patrol officer for SPD for the past seven years. I spent several years on the area SWAT team and am also a bicycle officer, use of force instructor, firearms instructor and Taser instructor.

Why did you get into law enforcement? I enjoy working with people and problem solving. It was also very appealing to me that every day has different challenges.

What attracted you to the Albert Lea Police Department? My wife and I wanted to move back to the area to raise our children closer to family and in a smaller community. I also grew up in the area and wanted to work in a community I was familiar with.

What do you think you can bring to the department that the community will benefit from? I believe I have a lot of law enforcement experience and am passionate about helping people during the difficult times in their life.

What shift will you be working/when can people expect to see you on duty? I am currently working the evening shift.

What district/area in the city have you been assigned? District 2

 

Tyler Lair

City of residence: Glenville area 

When did you start with the Albert Lea Police Department? November of 2021 

Please explain some of your background and training (where you grew up, where you got your law enforcement degree, other departments you may have worked in, etc.). I grew up in the Glenville area my whole life. I worked on my grandparent’s farm and for some other local farmers bailing hay for them. I also worked construction for a couple years. I played baseball, shot in a trap league and did a lot of hunting and fishing. I got my law enforcement degree from Riverland Community College and completed Skills at Rochester Community and Technical College. I am currently working toward my bachelor’s degree through Bemidji State University’s online program. I am still on the Hayward Fire Department and have been volunteering there as a first responder since July of 2020.

Why did you get into law enforcement? From when I was little, I always either wanted to farm or be a cop. What drew me to law enforcement was how diverse your job is. Every day is different, and you can pick what you want to do in your down time on top of taking calls for service. I love that it gives me an opportunity to interact with the community on a day-to-day basis and help better the community.

What attracted you to the Albert Lea Police Department? I grew up around the area my whole life, and I love that it’s close to home. I also love how diverse the department is and how they want you to be the best officer you can possibly be. 

What do you think you can bring to the department that the community will benefit from? I think I bring a hard working individual that doesn’t like to sit around at the office. I like to get out and about in the community and be proactive. I am also very patient and hear both sides out without judgment. 

What shift will you be working/when can people expect to see you on duty? I am hopping around between days and nights currently. Once I am off FTO, I am expecting to work a 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. schedule.

What district/area in the city have you been assigned? I am assigned to work District 1 once I am off FTO. That is the eastern part of the city north of Front Street. 

 

Mary Gaul 

When did you start with the Albert Lea Police Department? I started working with the Albert Lea Police Department on Sept. 13, 2021. 

Please explain some of your background and training (where you grew up, where you got your law enforcement degree, other departments you may have worked in, etc.). I got my associate degree in law enforcement from Rochester Community and Technical College.

Why did you get into law enforcement? I wanted to work in law enforcement because the work is different every day. There are a lot of aspects to the job, and I like engaging with the community as well as serving them.

What attracted you to the Albert Lea Police Department? I was interested in working for Albert Lea because it’s a smaller town. I knew I’d have a better chance of meeting people in the community while gaining a lot of experience in my career.

What do you think you can bring to the department that the community will benefit from? I bring a positive energy to the police department that is carried with me into the community. I do my best to prioritize the well being of the community by listening to their concerns and working with my partners to come up with solutions.