Life Story: Mary Alberg

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A longtime St. Paul police officer was laid to rest last week after a battle with cancer. She’s remembered as a woman who helped to redefine the image of female officers.

Mary Alberg joined the St. Paul Police Department 20 years ago after serving 13 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 2008 she was named the department’s Officer of the Year for helping to save the life of another officer.

In this week’s Life Story, we learned how Mary’s legacy of leadership is remembered.

When Mary Alberg joined the St. Paul Police Department in the late 1990s, she hit the ground running. St. Paul Police Commander Sheila Lambie vividly recalls her first days.

“She was a very eager person, physically fit, wanted to get out, take the calls, be involved. She loved working the street,” she said.

And she loved trying new things like working in the Canine unit, the Gang unit, and serving as a SWAT officer.

Some of Mary’s most memorable work took place while she was in the Vice unit, working undercover to shut down a spike in prostitution.

“Just getting honked and hollered at, making propositions with them — that’s how you got them. She was good at it,” said Officer Sandy Kennedy, who worked closely with Mary for many years.

Kennedy says Mary was committed to making neighborhoods safer.

“Daughters and moms weren’t being harassed anymore just walking home, so we did a lot of that. That was the first time I met Mary,” she said.

Kennedy says Mary liked to reminisce about her days in the Marines and stayed in contact with the friends she made in the service, but her true loves were her two sons.

“While I think she was an incredible police officer, she was an amazing mom. Her boys meant the world to her,” Commander Lambie said.

Mary supported her female colleagues and spent time training them in self-defense tactics.

“She held women accountable but said ‘Be who you are,’ because that sometimes gets the job done better,” Officer Kennedy said.

During hospital stays she asked her visitors not to cry, but instead show strength and love, like she did.

Officer Mary Alberg also trained police recruits, taught at the gun range, and volunteered with the Cops and Kids program in which she visited sick children in the hospital.

She was 50 years old when she died on March 29.

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