ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Former Pequot Lakes police chief truly did serve and protect

Mark Forsberg was respected for the work he did

Mark Forsberg.jpeg
Mark Forsberg's family said he loved fishing. The former Pequot Lakes police chief died April 13, 2023, in Baudette.
Contributed / John Forsberg

BAUDETTE โ€” Once upon a time a police chief in Pequot Lakes took to the street when a tornado loomed to make sure everyone in the neighborhood had time to get to safety while he continued on.

John Forsberg is that man's son.

"And my dad actually put me in the basement, got in his patrol car and actually left me in the basement to go make sure that he could alert the community if something was to happen, because there's the trailer park right next door that was kind of in the path of the storm," John Forsberg said.

Mark Forsberg.jpg
Mark Forsberg was Pequot Lakes police chief from 1988 to 2005. He died April 13, 2023, in Baudette.
Contributed / Tim Leagjeld

On April 13, that same man died, leaving behind family and peers who held him in high regard.

Mark Forsberg worked for the Pequot Lakes Police Department from 1985-2005, serving as police chief starting in 1988. During that time he worked with and trained many police officers.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Almost every officer that he hired and brought up in the ranks somehow became police chief somewhere else," said his wife, Lynn Forsberg.

Among those are former St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell, Deerwood Police Chief Terry Gottsch, Crosslake Police Chief Erik Lee and Lake Shore Police Chief Steve Sundstrom.

Mark Forsberg 3.jpg
Mark Forsberg, who died April 13, 2023, in Baudette, was Pequot Lakes police chief from 1988-2005.
Contributed / Tim Leagjeld

"He pretty much had hired them all as beginning officers and they've all graduated to become police chiefs elsewhere," Lynn Forsberg said.

"He was always laughing and always making other people laugh," said Crow Wing County Sheriff Eric Klang, also a former Pequot Lakes police chief. "He had a great sense of humor. I think the first 15 years of my career, I just spent all my time laughing. Because it was those guys.

"He was chief of Pequot and Dan Gottsch and Steve Rudek, the chief in Breezy, and we had a good time working together. He had a really good demeanor with the public. He did a really good job at showing empathy to people that were troubled," Klang said.

"I learned a lot from him as far as the way he treated people in his community. Watching him operate within sometimes delicate situations, he did a really good job," he said.

Klang first met Forsberg around 1990 when he applied to work undercover with the local drug task force.

"He was on the interview panel," Klang said. "... then we started a friendship at that point."

ADVERTISEMENT

Mark Forsberg 2.jpg
Mark Forsberg was Pequot Lakes police chief from 1988-2005. He died April 13, 2023, in Baudette.
Contributed / Tim Leagjeld

Forsberg made a personal investment in the people in the community.

"I think one of the strongest qualities he had is he knew a lot of people and had a good memory for knowing people and relationships that they had, so he would not just know the person but he would know their families," Klang said. "That was a really big contributing factor to his success as the chief there."

Forsbert wasn't just in Pequot Lakes to help the community, but to be part of it as well.

"He just loved the act of watching over the community โ€” protect and serve," Lynn said. "He just loved that aspect of police work. He loved the personal contact with the community.

"He was never a behind-the-desk police chief. He wanted to be out in the community all the time," she said. "He didn't mind working in all shifts. He wasn't a 9-to-5 police chief either. He was out and about talking with people."

"He made personal connections with people," John said. "He made himself available at all times. Everybody seemed to know him. And from what I've seen โ€” I was really young back then โ€” but it seemed like he garnered a lot of respect."

Forsberg took his job seriously. He would take calls at all hours of the night and during personal time. Lynn said they were once on their way to a Valentine's Day dinner when they received a call of a suicidal man. Forsberg took a detour and they didn't go to dinner until the man was helped.

"Mark was a good guy. He'd give you the shirt off his back," Klang said. "He was a risk taker. And he wasn't afraid to try to do different things. But really, he had a great heart and a great family it was fun to watch him interact with and he'll be truly missed."

ADVERTISEMENT

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
What To Read Next
Get Local

ADVERTISEMENT

Must Reads
Exclusive