DNR Officer Killed in Line of Duty Finally Recognized

May 15, 2018 10:47 PM

Hundreds of officers and their families gathered Tuesday night for a candle-light vigil at the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial on the State Capitol grounds.

May 15t mark National Law Enforcement Day, a time to honor the 280 Minnesota officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.  But one name had been missing for more than 80 years. 


Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Olaf P. Lofquist was killed in a crash in Aitkin in 1936.  Lofquist was on his way to court to testify in a poaching case when the vehicle he was in was hit by a train.

RELATED: Minnesota Honors Fallen Officers on National Law Enforcement Day

But his death in the line of duty fell through the cracks until recently. DNR Lt. Pat Znajda was digging through a file cabinet and discovered the record of Lofquist's death.  He became curious and found the officer's family members.

Znajda is thrilled he could help make sure Lofquist was recognized at the Minnesota Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

"It was sad, but it's also very gratifying that finally the officer is being able to be recognized and also give that recognition to the family," Znajda said. "It's well deserved."

Lofquist's grandchildren never met him, but many attending the tribute on Tuesday with other family members.

"It's part of his legacy," said Obie Holmen, his grandson. "It's part of who we are, even though we didn't know him. So it's an important part of our lives too."

The candlelight vigil was the conclusion of a 24-hour tribute at the memorial which began Monday night. 


Kevin Doran

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