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TRIBUTE TO RETIRED HENNEPIN COUNTY SHERIFF
DONALD (DON) J. OMODT
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In Loving Memory Of
Retired Hennepin County Sheriff
DONALD (DON) J. OMODT

Donald Jerome Omodt, Age 89, a native of St. Paul and longtime resident of Southwest Minneapolis passed away peacefully on St. Patrick's Day. Don is preceded in death by his parents Hugh and Lillian; sister Marie; wife of more than 50 years Helen Ann; and daughter Debbie. Survived by sister Nancy Krawczak of Mathomedi; sister-in-law Carole Kenny (Bill) of Bloomington; children Sue (Paul), Chris (Jane), Steven, Tom, Paul (Betsy), Amy (Molly) and Mark (Jane); grandchildren, David (Anna), Karin, Rachel, Matt (Sarah), Monica, Nick, Jake, Laura, Erin, Natalie, Kevin, Josh, Charlie and Luke; and many nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind his 'brother' Finn Aamodt of Oslo, Norway, who along with his wife, Astri, and their family were part of Don's vast extended family; Don is also preceded in death by his good friend and FBI partner Bill Geiermann, and friend and "fishing buddy" Mohammed (Mo) Selim.

Don and his wife Helen Ann opened their house to many of people over the years and sharing a meal or spending a night at their home was their way of making the world a smaller place. Over the years, the Omodt home welcomed foster brothers and sisters, foreign exchange students, relatives, extended relatives and travelers. Special love to Sister Rosemary Hoschette, Sister Luke Hoschette, Duncan Wilson, Beth (Geiermann) Scott, the Aamodts of Norway, the Hervellas of Spain, Kathy Leuschner Trachsel of Switzerland, and Fernando Coelho of Uruguay who all became part of the fabric of Don's family.

Don was a long-time public servant and active member of the Twin Cities community. Don served as Hennepin County Sheriff for 28 years, shaping the Sheriffs Department to reflect the professionalism and pride of law enforcement "A public office is a public trust" guided his time as Sheriff as he sought to continually serve the County and law enforcement. Special thanks to his Front Office leadership team and all the Hennepin County Sheriffs Deputies who granted him the privilege of his life to have proudly served alongside you. To his longtime Deputy Jim O'Shea who was like a son to Don, the family extends our love.

His time in law enforcement also included time as assistant Hennepin County attorney and a special agent for the FBI for many years. Nationally, he served on the board of the National Sheriffs Association and as NSA president, as well as on several federal prison commissions. He taught Constitutional Law and police tactics for many years at Normandale Community College. Don was a WWII and Korean War era veteran who trained as a U.S. Army paratrooper.

Don was a special mentor and advisor to many civic groups and people over the years, quietly giving his time and talents. He helped found Arc Greater Twin Cities to support people with developmental disabilities. He was active in the Catholic church and the parishes of Christ The King and Our Lady of Grace, serving as lay minister, Gospel reader, communion host and in other roles; he was involved in interfaith groups that sought to bring communities of faith together. As a longtime member of Torskeklubben, he gathered regularly to share his Norwegian heritage and proudly served as 'Boss' for many years. An amateur historian,

Don studied historic tilings that interested him and authored several books and articles over the years. Don is a proud graduate of Cretin High School (1945), the University of Minnesota, William Mitchell College of Law, where he received his doctorate of law, and the FBI National Academy.

He loved playing, coaching and watching hockey as well as cheering on the Gopher Men and Women teams, North Stars and Wild. A man of great faith, love of family, and a believer in service to community and others, Don leaves behind a rich legacy born out by the many lives he touched.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Arc Greater Twin Cities, Vail Place, the Helen Ann Omodt scholarship fund at Southwest High School, the Cretin High School scholarship fund or donor's choice.

Mass of Christian Burial Thursday, March 23rd, 10:30 AM, Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, 5071 Eden Ave., Edina. Interment Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Visitation one hour prior to service at the church and Wednesday, March 22nd from 5-9 PM at: Washburn-McReavy.com Edina Chapel 952-920-3996 West 50th Sreet & Highway 100.
A CCOUPLE OF MEMORIES OF
HENNEPIN COUNTY SHERIFF
DON OMODT
H.A.L.O. pilot Bud Phillips does his pre-flight checklist before taking off while Hennepin County  Deputy Sheriff Jack Hacking looks on.

The helicopter also had a very high intensity light called 'Night Sun' that would illuminate large areas on the ground and was used for search and rescue or any other situation whre bright lighting from above was required.
PROJECT H.A.L.O.
(Helicopter Aiding Law Officers)

Sheriff Omodt was instrumental in getting the very first helicopter into service in Hennepin County.

Hennepin County Deputies were assigned to fly in the Enstrom helicopter as 'observers' so that the pilot could concentrate on flying the machine.

The helicopter was equipped with a fully functional two-way police radio that allowed the Deputy 'observers' to communicated with Police and Sheriff's personnel on the ground or, as in the case of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Water Patrol, on the water.

The H.A.L.O. Project was coordinated by Hennepin County Deputy Sheriff's Curt Oberlander and Jack Hacking.
Every Year During NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT WEEK,
Sheriff Omodt Conducted An Annual Inspection Of His Deputies.
The Original Hennepin County Sheriff's Communications Center Located In Golden Valley Had Only Two Dispatch Positions And Operated On Only Two Radio Frequencies.
On December 1, 1969 And Thanks To Sheriff Omodt's Foresight, The Communications Division Began An Extensive Upgrade To A Multi-Frequency Radio System That
Would Eventually Include Four Channel Two-Way Radios In All Police &
Sheriff's Vehicles And All Fire Apparatus Throughout Hennepin County.

Eventually Mobile Data 'Teleprinters' Would Also Be Installed In Police And Sheriff's Vehicles That Would Provide Police Officers And Deputies With Information
About Driver's License Status, Motor Vehicle Registrations And Other Vital,
Important Information To Help Them Better Do Their Jobs.

The Remodeled 'Dispatch Room' Of The Hennepin County Sheriff's Communications Center, With Now FOUR Dispatch Positions, Is Shown Above. Additionally, The
Existing 300 Foot Antenna Tower Was Replaced With A New 400 Foot Tower.
The Examples Shown Above Are Just Two Of The Many Improvements And
Enhancements That Sheriff Omodt Brought To The Hennepin County Sheriff's
Office While Serving The Residents Of Hennepin County For Twenty-Eight Years.

Please Check Back Later As I've Talked To Sheriff Omodt's Son Chris About
Appearing On My Internet Show To Talk About His Dad's Long  And Impressive Career.

Sheriff Omodt Promoted Me To Sergeant While I Was Assigned To The
Communications Division; I Would Later Transfer To The Warrant
And Fugitive Division Also As A Sergeant. The Picture Below With
Me And Sheriff Omodt Was Taken  On February 18, 1976.

For Me, It Was Truly A Pleasure To Have Worked For Sheriff Omodt From
October 1969 To September 1984 To Witness, And Be A Part Of, The
Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Advancing To Become A Nationwide
Leader In Effective, Progressive And Professional Law Enforcement.

To Hear My Internet Show 'Tribute' To A Truly Great Person Who Brought So Much Advanced Technology To The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office That He Served So Faithfully For
Twenty-Eight Years,  Please Click On The  Audio Control Below.
Donald J. Omodt, a native of St. Paul who most recently lived in Minneapolis, served as sheriff of the state’s most populous county for seven consecutive terms, from 1967 to 1994, according to the Sheriff’s Office. At age 66, he considered running for an eighth term, but changed his mind at the last minute, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

As the son of a St. Paul police detective, Omodt preached the importance of professionalism, and his rules sometimes earned him a reputation as a taskmaster among the rank and file.

“I insist on excellence and expect excellence,” he said in 1993, shortly after announcing his retirement. The motto “A public office is a public trust” guided his time in that role, according to a tribute written by his family.

Before his career with the Sheriff’s Office, Omodt served as in the Airborne division of the U.S. Army during World War II and Korean War eras. He worked as a special agent with the FBI and as an assistant Hennepin County attorney for seven years before running for sheriff in 1966.

During his 28-year tenure as sheriff, Omodt was also elected president of the National Sheriff’s Association, the Minnesota State Sheriff’s Association, the Metropolitan Sheriff’s Association and even the Hennepin County Chiefs of Police Association.

Many current employees of the Sheriff’s Office joined under his leadership, according to the department.

At his retirement party at Minneapolis City Hall, Omodt was praised by staff members for aggressively adopting new technology to aid law enforcement, including computer-assisted dispatching and computerized photo-imaging of such records as mug shots.

“Sheriff Omodt took a Midwestern country sheriff’s office and developed it into one of the most respected law enforcement offices in the country,” inspector Michael Postle told the Star Tribune in 1994. “He developed in us a sense of pride, trust, history.”

As a local history buff who wrote extensively about the state and county, Omodt occupied the vacant basement office area of City Hall to do research. Upon retirement, he worked to sort through nearly 100 boxes of sheriff-related files, some of which he planned to donate to historical archives.

Raised a devout Catholic, Omodt graduated from St. Paul’s Cretin-Derham Hall in 1945 before attending the University of Minnesota. He earned his law degree at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul and completed training at the FBI National Academy.

Sheriff Omodt taught constitutional law and police tactics at Normandale Community College, and according to his family, also quietly volunteered his time at area charities, helping found the ARC Greater Twin Cities to support people with developmental disabilities.

He was also interested in family genealogy, serving proudly as a member of Torskeklubben, a club celebrating shared Norwegian heritage.

Sheriff Omodt and his wife, Helen Ann, were known for opening their south Minneapolis home to strangers, often welcoming foster children, foreign exchange students and travelers over the years, according to the obituary written by his family.

He was preceded in death by his wife, who died in 2007, and a daughter, Debbie. He is survived by children Sue, Chris, Steven, Tom, Paul, Amy and Mark; his sister, Nancy Krawczak of Mahtomedi, and 14 grandchildren.

A HUGE THANK YOU
To The Current
HENNEPIN COUNTY SHERIFF
RICH STANEK

For His Support In The Development Of This Website Designed
To Honor The Longest Serving Sheriff In Hennepin County
And The Current And Past Dedicated And Professional
Members Of The
HENNEPIN COUNTY
SHERIFF'S OFFICE
Sheriff Omodt Was Well Known For His Ever Present Smile And Positive Attitude Not Only To Those He Served, But Also To Those That Worked For/With Him.
THE 'PERSONAL SIDE' OF FORMER
HENNEPIN COUNTY SHERIFF
DON OMODT
Sheriff Omodt in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area trip with sons Chris, Mark and Tom
Sheriff Omodt with
granddaughter Rachel,
and dog  Alaska, at the
'Erickson Cabin'.
Sheriff Omodt  with
his good friend and
"fishing and tennis"
buddy, Mo Selim.
Sheriff Omodt with his loving wife, Helen Ann, and their granddaughter, Rachel,
taken in about 2006, after a high
school alpine ski race
at Buck Hill.
Boundary Waters Canoe trip taken in about 2007 with Sheriff Omodt and
sons, Chris, Mark, Paul and Steven.
Sheriff Omodt With His Grandchildren Rachel & Matt; Taken In Early January 1995  Just Days Before He Retired From The Sheriff's Office
Sheriff Omodt helping grandson
Matt sight in his deer rifle.
Sheriff Omodt with his son Steven and some of his family members along with Chris' son and daughter, Rachel
and Matt, taken at the 'Erickson Cabin.
Sheriff Omodt with granddaughter Rachel and her cousin Karin at the
'Erickson Cabin'.
LOYALTY

If you work for a man, in heavens name work for him! If he pays you wages that supply you your bread and butter, work for him, speak well of him, think well of him, stand by him and stand by the institution he represents. I think if I worked for a man I would work for him. I would not work for him a part of the time, and the rest of the time work against him. I would give an undivided service or none. If put to the pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.
                                    Elbert Hubbard
September 27, 1927 - March 17, 2017