Rosemount Police officer aims to shine light,
gain community trust
On a recent disturbance call, new Rosemount Police Officer Andrew Graff received feedback from a resident who said he and a fellow officer calmed down the disturbance situation and made them feel safe and reassured.
Graff took his oath to serve the community with Rosemount Mayor Bill Droste conducting the ceremony at the Aug. 17 regular city council meeting.
Rosemount Police Chief Mikael Dahlstrom officially welcomed Graff during the public ceremony while more than 20 family and friends gathered to cheer on Graff as he hit this career milestone. Afterward, all gathered to celebrate in a private reception at The Steeple Center.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the public ceremony was delayed since Graff joined the police department in January 2021.
Graff’s wife Stacy pinned on his police badge and offered a big hug as his two young children watched and his family took videos and photographs.
Dahlstrom commended Graff’s work ethic, saying he brings 10 years of active and reserve duty service with the U.S. Navy as a uniformed technician, first class. He comes to the city of Rosemount having worked as a reserve police and licensed police officer with the City of Big Lake.
“To go along with his passion for nature, he volunteers his time with Hometown Heroes, a 501C organization,” Dahlstrom said. The mission of this nonprofit aims to promote the spiritual and emotional benefits of exploring the great outdoors to veterans and activity duty police officers. The program is now spreading its reach across the U.S.
“It is pretty cool, and it has openings of all kinds of opportunities for all kinds of veterans all across the Midwest,” Dahlstrom said. The group gives camaraderie to men who take part in hunting and fishing trips. This nonprofit will pay for an upcoming all-expense-paid trip to Alaska for the young Waseca Police Officer Arik Matson who survived a shot to the head.
In an interview, Graff, 32, shared his journey that landed him in Rosemount.
Deciding to pursue a career in law enforcement was an easy and natural choice for him because he saw his father live out a noble 33-year career. Today his father is a medical retired Minnesota police officer and his maternal grandfather worked in law enforcement.
“I care for people and want to make a difference,” Graff said.
As a St. Paul native, he graduated from Dassel-Cokato High School and studied criminal justice and graduated magna cum laude from St. Cloud State University. He attended Alexandria Technical Police Academy and served in the U.S. Navy from 2008-18 in the reserves and active duty.
When asked about working in a profession that today has received such high scrutiny at the national and state level by many Americans, Graff shared how he wants to become an effective police officer who works continually to gain trust from the public.
“I think there are three groups, those who love law enforcement, those who hate law enforcement and those who are on the fence, and I want to make a difference and do it with dignity and respect and shine a light in a dark area,” Graff said.
Making a home in Big Lake with his wife Stacy and their two children who are 7 and 5 years old, Graff said this long commute is okay for now, but his family will look to move closer, as they have close family who live in Rosemount.
As one founder of Hometown Heroes, an outreach program for veterans and police officers, Graff said he finds reward as the event coordinator in planning outdoor adventures.
“We want to show them a good time in basic outdoor recreation,” he said. These fishing and ATV trips can become like a Mother Nature therapy time, especially during this tough year in Minnesota for everyone, including law enforcement.
Introducing his father to Hometown Heroes events has been therapeutic for him. As a son, his father’s experience with the group has also given him a sense of peace because his father is challenged with post traumatic stress disorder. .
Fellowship with other veterans works, Graff said. Even though wives can offer emotional support for their husbands, Graff said sometimes men just need to hang out with other men who are veterans, who experienced the same deployments, emotions and had sand in their boots.
Dahlstrom said, “He (Graff) believes officers who are treated well will be better able to maintain a positive attitude, and the attitude he brings to our department is a special one, always very respectful and positive, easy to engage with and we get several compliments when he goes out on calls with residents.”
Contact Kara Hildreth at firstname.lastname@example.org.