The proud family of Russell O’Fallon surrounded him, Tuesday, April 9, after he spoke his oath of office and officially took on his new title, Officer Russell O’Fallon, of the West Hennepin Public Safety department — badge number 110.
His mother, Gretchen O’Fallon, pinned on his badge and then gave him a tender hug, as his father Jim O’Fallon watched.
The ceremony took place at Independence City Hall at a joint meeting of the Independence and Maple Plain City Councils — called specifically for the purpose of a celebration that does not happen every day. Russell O’Fallon now is serving both cities, along with his fellow WHPS officers.
Boy Scout Elliot Anderson, of Troop 273, began the official part of the celebration by leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Then WHPS Director Ray McCoy described the painstaking screening process that resulted in the selection of the new WHPS officer. Russell O’Fallon was one of 139 applicants, 57 of whom met WHPS requirements. The selection committee narrowed the list to 15 semifinalists and three finalists.
“We did a lot of digging and homework on the applicants,” McCoy said. He said WHPS has “a core value” that it looks for in its officers. They are expected to protect and serve Independence and Maple Plain residents in a “professional and compassionate manner.”
WHPS was looking for a strong officer with a solid foundation and moral background, he said. The department found someone who comes from a law enforcement family. Russell O’Fallon’s brother Robert is a trooper with the Minnesota State Patrol and his brother-in-law Dan McClure is a St. Cloud Police officer. Russell O’Fallon graduated fifth in his class from Paynesville High School and is a 2012 graduate of St. Cloud State University.
McCoy administered Russell O’Fallon’s oath of office, which says, in part, “I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions.”
Russell O’Fallon had made his first felony stop alongside his chief earlier in the day. He and McCoy had just left a Day of Prayer observance. They made their stop in front of Christ Lutheran Church in Maple Plain.