The Posse originated on October 14, 1968, when a group of volunteers on horseback helped to locate a lost child in the rugged terrain northwest of Parkers Prairie.
Within the month, 16 charter members of the Posse attended their first organizational meeting in the Otter Tail Power Company's Community Room. At that meeting there were twenty-five applicants for membership.
Hank Christopherson was elected the first President with the rank of Captain of the Posse; Don Eisenhuth was chosen as the Treasurer with the rank of Lieutenant; Jim Molter, Vice President as a Sergeant; and Vincent Stavaas, Secretary, also with the rank of Sergeant.
The first draft of the Posse's Bylaws was written and dated October 22, 1968, but it was not adopted until 1975 when the final version was written. The Posse's Constitution and Bylaws are reproduced and available for review from current Posse Officers.
First Aid Certification
In 1969 the 25 member Posse passed and received their first certification of the Red Cross Multi-Media First Aid Program. First aid certification is still a requirement of membership existing within the Posse today and each member is required to pass recertification every 3 years.
Minnesota State Posse Convention
In 1969 the Posse attended the first Minnesota State Posse Convention held at LeCenter and hosted by the LeSuere County Posse. There were 177 Posse members from throughout the State attending. Of the 87 Counties in the State, the greatest concentration of membership of mounted Posses was in the southern portion.
Bettering The Community
The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Posse has assisted at the Otter Tail County Fair and the Dalton Threshermen's Reunion. The Posse has also worked in water safety patrol, helping in the search for drowning victims, and has handled the policing, safety, security, and general crowd and traffic control at events where large numbers of people might gather.
The Posse has also been called upon to help locate missing persons and to round up stray cattle. It has also appeared in numerous parades throughout the county.
Today's Posse consists of 24 active members and 3 senior members. Posse members are recognized as unpaid volunteers who work under the direct supervision of the Sheriff or one of his representatives. Although the original intent for use of the posse was to utilize a horse-mounted unit to assist in locating lost persons and crowd and traffic control, the service has grown to incorporate the use of foot patrol and motorized units in other policing and security involvements.
Posse members may be deployed night or day in times of manpower shortage, civil emergency or disaster situations to perform certain tasks. While these tasks may seem simple or routine, they are nevertheless vital at the time and more than likely uncomfortable and not under the best circumstances. Posse members also provide scheduled event traffic direction, parking control and security services, as well as horse, foot, and ATV search and rescue options to all areas of Otter Tail County.
Meetings & Training
In order for Posse members to learn and acquire certain skills, they are expected to attend monthly meetings held the second Tuesday of each month. At these meetings, members normally receive training on a variety of topics including; Search and Rescue, CPR, First Aid, Self Defense, Traffic Direction, Map and Compass Reading, and Radio Procedures. Members are also expected to sign up for shifts at each of several annual area events such as Phelps Mill Art Festival, West Otter Tail and East Otter Tail County Fairs, and the Dalton Threshermen's Reunion. It is also expected that members will volunteer for shifts at occasional parades or other events that have been pre-approved by the Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff's Posse gives individuals an opportunity to provide a valuable service to their community. If you are interested in joining the Sheriff's Posse, you must be a resident of Otter Tail County, at least 21 years of age, and capable of performing tasks normal to non-hazardous law enforcement duties.
For more information, please contact the Sheriff's Office during normal business hours (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) at 218-998-8555.