26 January 2022
HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) — An important piece of Dakota County history is back home.
Hastings Police Officer Albert Jacobson’s badge was found and returned to the department this month, 127 years after Jacobson was shot and killed in 1894.
Jacobson is the only Hastings officer ever to be killed in the line of duty, and the first in Dakota County.
He was 33 when he and his partner were tracking a couple of burglary suspects.
“They got one person in custody and they had encountered the second one,” Hastings Chief Bryan Schafer said. “A foot pursuit ensued, and the suspect turned around and fired some gunshots at Albert and his partner.”
Shot in the stomach, Jacobson’s death made headline news. But other than the basic story, not much survived the passage of time.
In 2017, Schafer, who proudly stewards his department’s history, met Gloria Hagestuen — Jacobson’s great-granddaughter. She lives in North St. Paul and happens to be into genealogy.
“I can go back to Albert being born in Norway and all his brothers and sisters that ended up living in Hastings,” Hagestuen said.
She gave Schafer a picture of Jacobson, the department’s first. A few weeks ago, Hagestuen gave the badge.
“I was flabbergasted,” Schafer said.
A second cousin of Hagestuen’s in Two Harbors found it in a chest in her attic.
“What can you say? This is a piece of history 130 years old,” Schafer said. “It’s got a lot more sentimental value and means a lot more than anything we could produce today.”
When asked why she wanted to give the badge to the department, Hagestuen said, “It would sit in a drawer here and nobody here would care.”
Schafer’s in the process of setting up a museum of the department’s history and memorabilia. Jacobson’s picture and badge will feature prominently.
Hagestuen’s been interested in her great-grandfather for many years. In the 1990s, she learned the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association had no record of his murder.
Her family ended up getting Jacobson’s name added to the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C.