About Osseo

Department History

Department History

 


The City of Osseo was officially deemed a city in 1875. Shortly after that, the newly elected Mayor and City Council instructed the local Marshal to patrol the downtown saloons on Sundays and on any public day. The council decreed that the Marshal should be paid $1.50 per day for his services. During that time, the city constructed its first jail, also known as a calaboose.

There were two Constable Marshal's who served the City of Osseo from 1915 to 1926.

- James L. Gardner, served from about 1915 to Nov. 1st, 1916, after being killed in the line of duty
- Edgar Ackerman, served from 1916 to 1926.

To date, the Osseo Police Department has had eight Chiefs of Police. They are:

- Seymour Babcock, serving from 1926 to 1933
- Ken Hessen, serving from 1933 to 1958  
- Gerald Getchell, serving from 1958 to 1979
- Peter "Pistol Pete" E. Weller , serving from 1979 to 1993
- Michael D. Haller, serving from 1993 to 2008
- Timothy P. Ryan, serving from 2009 to 2010
- Thomas J. Hartkopf, serving from 2010 to 2015
- Shane Mikkelson, serving from 2015 to Present

 


End of Watch

On November 1st, 1916 Osseo Town Marshall James L. Gardner lost his life while responding to protect a local woman and her children from attack by a relative.

On that night in November, Annie Odenbreit ran to the police station to retrieve Marshall Gardner to come to her residence after her brother-in-law Frank Odenbreit had set fire to her house. Annie, who was the only eye-witness to the event, said that after Frank had lit the fire, and left the scene, presumably, to get the gun that would later be used to shoot Gardner.

Marshal Gardner accompanied Annie to her house where he helped to extinguish the flames. Annie said that Marshall Gardner went with her to the barn to check on her children, whom she had left there to make sure they were safe. Annie had taken the lead to the barn, and was in the barn before Marshal Gardner came outside.

As Marshal Gardner came out the back door, a form appeared around the corner of the house. Annie stated that she heard Frank say "Is that you Gardner?" Marshal Gardner replied that it was him, and before he was able to do anything else, Frank fired the shotgun. The shot entered the Marshal's intestines, and he fell to the ground. Marshal Gardner was later take to the Swedish Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he later died of his wounds at 3:00 a.m.

Village officials and neighbors gathered quickly at the scene. The Hennepin County Sheriffs Office was called, and Chief Deputy John Wail and Deputy Charles Budd drove to Osseo immediately and started the investigation. At the same time, the deputies arrested Frank at his residence on the north end of town. Frank made no attempt to resist arrest, nor would he give any reason for his actions that night.

Annie told the deputies of her troubles with her brother-in-law and of the events that lead up to the shooting. Annie said that she had gone to the saloon at about 6:30 p.m. and had induced Frank to go home with her. Once he was at her home, Frank started to "clean up" the place. Frank then threatened her and her children and even hit her on at least one occasion. Following this she called Marshal Gardner, who went to the house, but was unable to locate Frank. Gardner returned to town, but later came back with T.M. Carpenter. Gardner did this so he could have a witness to the "dishelmed" appearance of the house. Annie claims that she feared for the lives of herself and her children and had removed them to the barn for safety. While in the barn, Annie said she saw Frank moving around the house and later noticed flames which she says were started by Frank.

Earlier in the night, Marshal Gardner had been called twice to restore peace at the Odenbreit residence, and he feared serious trouble based on the earlier complaints at the residence. Marshal Gardner was said to have told Fred Roenat that if he was called again to the Odenbreit residence, he would arrest Frank. Gardner believed that Frank was not behaving normal and he feared that he might shoot someone.

Frank Odenbreit is said to have been a considerable trouble maker, and Marshal Gardner had been called on to quell young riots started by Frank during his official connection with the village. Almost six years after the incident, Frank was confined to the State Hospital for the Insane in Rochester, Minnesota for a period of several months. He was subsequently released on recommendation from the hospital superintendent on the condition that he was "normal."

If you would like to learn more, please visit the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association website.


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