Lieutenant says he has a spirit of working with others that would be beneficial if elected sheriff

Published 9:44 pm Friday, May 27, 2022

A longtime Albert Lea Police Department lieutenant said he has a history of leadership and collaboration that he thinks could serve the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office well if he were elected sheriff.

Jeff Strom

Jeff Strom, who lives right outside of Albert Lea, filed for the position last week. So far, he will face off against Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Tim Bennett and Deputy Dale Glazier. The filing period runs through the end of the month.

Strom said he had thought about running for the position for some time and now feels the time is right. 

“I thought I could do good for the department,” he said. “I thought I could make a positive change.”

He enjoys collaborating and helping others, trying to assist people with whatever they might need or helping point them in the right direction of where to find the answer if he doesn’t know. 

He said there are good people working for the Sheriff’s Office, they just need a positive attitude and good direction. In all of his years in Albert Lea, he has tried to be positive, coming in every day to make a change, trying to make the workplace a little more enjoyable and giving something back to the community. 

Strom got his law enforcement degree from Normandale Community College in Bloomington and after finishing his skills training was hired part-time in the city of Hancock. In July 1987, he was hired full-time with the Albert Lea Police Department, where he has been ever since. 

He said in 1997 he was promoted to lieutenant, which includes supervision and mentoring of other officers with their reports, investigations and anything else of concern. He also can still be found out in the community.

“I love the interacting with people,” he said of his favorite parts of the job. “The stuff isn’t the same every day … I have the opportunity to do good and hopefully change somebody’s life.”

Over the years Strom has been a part of numerous efforts within the department and the community, including starting the Law Enforcement Explorer program for Albert Lea in 1998, which eventually was turned over to the Sheriff’s Office, as well as coordinating the Safe and Sober program, as well as the Toward Zero Deaths program locally. 

He estimated he has applied for and been granted a couple hundred thousand dollars in grants for extra traffic enforcement, which have been used in Albert Lea and Freeborn County.

He also helped bring in the digital speed signs in Albert Lea and has been a part of the Point of Impact program, which through Albert Lea Community Education and the Glenville-Emmons School District teaches new student drivers and their parents the rules of new licensing so that parents and youth are on the same page as to what drivers are allowed to do. 

In 2018, he was given the Minnesota Star Award for Education.

He has led the Albert Lea Police Department Citizens Academy, more recently helping start a Spanish-speaking academy, and served on the Multidisciplinary Child Protection Team, the Freeborn County Truancy Panel and the advisory board for the Crime Victims Crisis Center. He was also part of a panel that reviewed all fatal crashes within the county each year.

In addition, he has served on the YMCA board of directors, including a time as president, on the United Way Allocations Committee, with the Senior Resources chore services program and was in Freeborn County Dancing with the Stars for the American Red Cross. 

Strom said he tries to be a resource for whoever he can in the community, whether it’s parents, co-workers and even people he has arrested who have come back to ask for his help. 

“I think I’ve done a lot of good in Albert Lea and hope to extend that to Freeborn County,” he said. 

Strom and his wife, Andrea, a probation officer for Freeborn County, have been married 17 years. He said he has three children and his wife also has a daughter. 

When he’s not at work, he said he enjoys working in his yard.