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Eagan Fire Department then and nowSomething the department did to commemorate the closing of the old Fire Station 1 on Rahn Road. First crew and last crew.
Eagan's first mayor and council take office 1972Eagan Village had its first council meeting November 6 when Mayor Herbert Polzin and council Arthur Rahn, Ted Wachter, James Smith, and William Rydrych were sworn in...
First shops are opened in EaganEdward Neill's History of Dakota County, 1881 includes a chapter on the history of Eagan.
Sections from the book were published in the Minnesota Valley Review July 21, 1969.
Eagan Township The Dakota County Genealogical Society features Eagan Township in it March, 1998 Newsletter,
To some, growth has made Eagan just like a city. 1985July 4, 1985 Minneapolis Star Tribune features Agnes Polzin and Arthur Rahn long time Eagan residents.
Gleason's Gymnastics SchoolDecember 6, 1989 Countryside ad -

Tumbling, Trampoline, Gymnastics at the "barn" building 3960 Beau D'Rue Drive, Eagan - Gleason's Gymnastics School.
Eagan Half Way HouseThe Half Way House in Eagan, in 1930 the name was changed to the Dixie Inn.
Eagan Municipal Center2019 view of the Eagan Municipal Center.
The City of Eagan Highlights from our history and heritage mapPrepared by the Eagan Historical Society with the assistance of the Dakota County Historical Society providing a brief history of Eagan, a historic map and sketches of historic sites.
Eagan Historic Town Hall 2017Another view of the restored Historic Town Hall in Eagan.
The history of EaganLike Burnsville, the neighboring city of Eagan has published two histories of their community.
A brief History of EaganA brief history of Eagan published in a 2017 Community Guide and Business Directory by the Eagan Firefighters Relief Association.
LaFondaLa Fonda at 3665 Sibley Memorial Hwy, Eagan, MN 55122.
Westscott LibrarySketch of the Westscott Library, Eagan by Bill Wolston.
Eagan logo/flag retired 2017September 2017 this long used version of the Lone Oak Tree logo was changed.
Over 100 persons at Eagan meet 1960March 31, 1960 - Dakota County Tribune

More than 100 persons attended the annual Eagan Township meeting March 18, 1960...
Eagan Milk Depot todayHousing now stands on the site of the Eagan Milk Depot off Nicols Road. At one time it was a dance hall, a dairy store and finally a plumbing and heating company. It was located above CedarVale Mall on Beau D Rue Drive.
City of Eagan - Council, Mayor and other name plates 2017The Council room has name plates for council, mayor and other committees that meet there.
New City Logo for Eagan - Frequently asked questions 2017Fall 2017, City of Eagan updates its logo and produced the following questions and answers for residents.
Eagan Outhouse 2017A reminder of the original outhouse at the "Historic Town Hall of Eagan."
Eagan Parks and Recreation 2018A map showing Eagan parks and facilities in 2018.
Eagan Police 1975Eagan Police 1975.
Eagan Police Department celebrates 50 years - 2015St. Paul Pioneer Press, April 19, 2015 reports on the 50th anniversary of Eagan's Police Department.

When Eagan Township’s police department got a 1965 Ford station wagon 50 years ago, it was a big deal to then-Chief Martin DesLauriers.

The car was the township’s first police cruiser, and residents saw it as a sign of community growth and progress, DesLauriers, now 83, recently recalled.

“It was hard to imagine Eagan Township ever buying a car for police,” he said. “So it was nice to have, for sure. We only had one truck for snowplowing.”

Eagan Township’s police department was formed in June 1965, with DesLauriers serving as its first chief. Richard LeMay and Don Smith were the department’s part-time officers.

“I think I knew 95 percent of the people in town then and all their kids,” said DesLauriers, who grew up in the township and was a constable for a decade before becoming chief. Before the arrival of the Ford station wagon, he patrolled the township in his own car.

On May 14, the current city of Eagan will mark the police department’s first half-century with a celebration at City Hall. The event will include music, activities for kids, free refreshments and a presentation of a painting commemorating the milestone.

Two years ago, Eagan artist Larry Landis approached Police Chief Jim McDonald with the idea to create a police-themed painting for the city at no charge. The 68-year-old previously painted scenes commemorating the Eagan Fire Department’s 50th anniversary in 2013 and the 100th anniversary of the Eagan Town Hall last year.

“I would have been a fool to say no,” McDonald said. “He does great work for the city.”

The painting depicts a young DesLauriers stepping into the Ford station wagon cruiser, and current Sgt. Dan Tocko waving goodbye.

In the painting, Tocko and officer Alison Burstein stand at the entrance to O’Brien’s Halfway House, an old bar that got its name from Rosemount farmers because it was about halfway to St. Paul, McDonald said.

“There’s a connection with the old O’Brien’s and the police department,” McDonald said. “The dad of one of our former officers, Bob O’Brien, used to own it.”

Landis said he wanted to create a scene that gave a nod to the past and the present. So he researched the department’s history, sifted through old photos and reached out to current and former officers, including DesLauriers, who retired in 1983.

Landis included the city’s first city hall-police station in the painting, as well as a low-flying Northwest Airlines propeller-driven plane and a badge marking the 50th anniversary. Eagan’s 70 officers have been wearing commemorative badges since Jan. 1.

Eagan was incorporated as a village in 1972 and was designated a city on Jan. 1, 1974.

Nick Ferraro can be reached at 651-228-2173.

Follow him at twitter.com/NFerraroPiPress.


What: Eagan Police Department’s 50th anniversary celebration

When: 5-8 p.m. May 14

Where: City Hall, 3830 Pilot Knob Road
Eagan Police Department celebrates 50 years - 2015May 7, 2015 the Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News reports on the 50th anniversary of Eagan's Police Department.

When Martin DesLauriers was sworn in as Eagan’s first police chief in 1965, he and his officers didn’t have a squad car, a police station or dispatch. Calling for assistance in those days was a little like telephone tag. Residents of what was then Eagan Township called the Dakota County Sheriff’s Department which would then call DesLauriers at home who would then call one of his two part-time officers. They would race scene in their personal vehicles equipped with portable police lights.

“Everyone knew one another at that time. I think I knew 95 percent of the people in town and all their kids,” said DesLauriers, 83, who grew up in Eagan.

The department was established in June 1965 and was comprised of DesLauriers and two part-time officers: Donn Smith and Jay Berthe. Later that year, the department received a 1965 Ford station wagon — a sign to many, including DesLauriers, of community growth and progress.

On May 14, the city of Eagan will celebrate the police department’s 50th anniversary with an event at City Hall at 3830 Pilot Knob Road. The event will be from 5 to 8 p.m. and will include tours of the police department, demonstrations, free food and beverages and entertainment by The Percolators.

The department plans to unveil a commemorative painting by Eagan artist Larry Landis who previously painted scenes honoring the Eagan Fire Department’s 50th anniversary in 2013 and the 100th anniversary of Eagan Town Hall last year.

“When he approached me two years ago, I couldn’t say no,” Eagan Police Chief Jim McDonald said. “He does great work.”

Prior to the police department’s creation, DesLauriers served as the township’s constable. He was appointed constable in 1952 at age 20 after the previous constable was drafted into the U.S. Army.

Crime was very low at the time, and most calls involved loose dogs and livestock. Occasionally, DesLauriers responded to illegal target shooting, including a few times when people would use Eagan’s historic town hall as a target when the building was empty.

DesLauriers and his officers responded to a number of car crashes in those early days as traffic began to increase on Pilot Knob Road and Highway 13, both gravel roads at the time.

After working from their homes for three years, DesLauriers and his officers were able to work in a newly built police station in 1968.

Eagan was incorporated as a city in 1972 with a population around 10,000 people. By 1973, the Eagan Police Department received its own dispatch staff and no longer relied on the sheriff’s department. The county’s dispatches were combined in 2007 when the Dakota Communications Center was created.

Improvements to highways 77, 55 and 13 drew people to the area in the 1980s causing the city’s population to explode. The police department grew right along with the city to include 71 officers.

By 1980, the Eagan Police Department swore in its first female police officer, Lori Tripp. And 14 years later, the department hired its first officers of color.

The Eagan Police Department has also evolved into a highly skilled force that uses the latest technology to crack down on crime — both on the ground and in cyberspace. When the department was created officers only needed a high school diploma to apply. Today, requires a bachelor’s degree and many Eagan officers have master’s degrees.

Fifty years ago, forensic evidence was collected with a fingerprinting kit that was kept in a tackle box. Today many of Eagan’s 68 police officers are trained in processing computer forensic evidence.

“We’re doing things today that we used to rely on the state, and in some cases, the FBI to do,” McDonald said.

In a time when police departments across the nation have come under tough scrutiny, the Eagan Police Department continues to be highly regarded by the community. Recent surveys have shown 98 percent of residents rate the department as good or excellent.

“We try to integrate the community as much as possible,” McDonald said. Each year, the department hosts a number of community events, including National Night Out and a Citizens Academy.
Eagan Police Celebrates 50 yearsMay 22, 2015 the Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News features photos of Eagan's 50th birthday of the Police Department.
Martin DesLauries, Eagan's first full time chief 1966May 26, 1966 - Martin DesLauries, Eagan's part time police chief will go full time September 1....
After three decades with Eagan police force, chief McDonald retires 2018April 20, 2018 St. Paul Pioneer Press reports:

Eagan Police Chief Jim McDonald is retiring effective June 30 after three decades with the department.

“Mac,” as he’s known, was hired by Eagan’s second chief, Jay Berthe, in 1988 and has spent his entire career with the city.

With other police retirements coming up and a major remodel of the police building on tap, the time just seemed right to walk away, McDonald, 55, said Friday.

“I’ve done my time, 30 years, and I don’t know that I have the energy to see all of that through, honestly,” he said. “It would be a disservice to my department and the community to halfheartedly stay.”

McDonald was hired as an overnight police officer in March 1988 after working just three weeks as a community service officer.

“In those days, the city was growing by leaps and bounds and they were hiring a lot of cops,” he said. “They needed them to keep pace with the population.”

McDonald was an overnight patrol sergeant from 1992 to 1994, then moved over to investigations. He was appointed captain in 1999 and deputy chief in 2004.

Before the Dakota County dispatch center opened in 2007, former Police Chief Kent Therkelsen agreed to be its director. That opened the door for a new Eagan chief. McDonald was sworn in on Sept. 5, 2006.

With 30 years of policing now behind him, McDonald said he looks forward to spending more time with his wife and their 14-year-old son.

“It’s been a 24-hour job, with the phone always ringing,” he said. “And after 30 years, that takes a toll on you.”

The Eagan City Council will hold a special meeting May 22 to interview Deputy Chief Roger New for the position. McDonald is recommending New for the job.

“He’s been my wingman for a long time, and he’s really solid,” McDonald said. “The department is running in good shape, and I’d like to see him carry on what we’ve accomplished.”
Eagan's six chief of police 2018 photoIn recognition of Chief McDonald's retirement, the City of Eagan was able to get a photo of all of the police chief's that served before him as well as the incoming Chief of Police, Roger New. From left to right, in order of when they served as Police Chief are Martin DesLauriers, Jay Berthe, Pat Geagan, Kent Therkelsen, James McDonald and Roger New. Photo compliments of the City of Eagan.
Becoming Eagan, the Making of a Community 1972 - 2010City of Eagan produces a new history book published in 2018.
Eagan profile September 27, 2009 - A look at Eagan (paid ad) in Minneapolis Star Tribune..
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