St. Louis County office buildings will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

History Timeline



Sheriff Gordon Ramsay

2023 - Present

Sheriff Gordon Ramsay has been a law enforcement officer for over 31 years, including sixteen years as a Police Chief for the Duluth Police Department and Wichita Police Department in Kansas. Sheriff Ramsay was appointed as a Commissioner on the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement in 2020, Chair of the Mid-Sized Agency Section of the IACP, President of the Minnesota Police Chiefs, Executive Board Member for the Major Cities Police Chiefs Association and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association.

Ramsay was elected Sheriff of St. Louis County in 2022, and was sworn in on January 10, 2023 by Chief Judge Leslie Beiers.



Sheriff Ross Litman


Sheriff Ross Litman has been a lifelong resident of St Louis County. His father as a judge in the Sixth Judicial District.


Sheriff Litman graduated from Duluth East High School in 1978.  He attended the University of Minnesota in Duluth and graduated with a B.A. in Criminology and Political Science in 1983.

Ross was hired as a Deputy Sheriff in 1992 and in 2000 was promoted to the rank of Investigator.

In the fall of 2002 Investigator Ross Litman decided to run for Sheriff. He did this after learning that Sheriff Rick Wahlberg would not be seeking re-election. 

Litman was elected Sheriff of St. Louis County in 2002, and was sworn in on January 6, 2003 by Judge Gerald Martin.




Sheriff Rick Wahlberg


Sheriff Rick Wahlberg served as Sheriff from 1999-2003. He began his career with the St Louis County Sheriff's Office in 1972 and worked his way through the ranks as a Deputy Sheriff, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Undersheriff.

Rick Wahlberg attended the FBI National Academy 173rd Session (1993), which included 257 law enforcement professionals from the United States, as well as military organizations, Federal Agencies and 20 foreign Police Officers. Officers attending the academy are offered, on a cost-free basis, a comprehensive and balanced 11-week program of advanced professional instruction. Throughout this training, particular emphasis is placed on leadership development.




Sheriff Gary Waller


Gary Waller served as St Louis County Sheriff from 1986-1999.

Gary was a Duluth Police officer for 21 years and was one of the lead investigators on the scene of the famous Congdon double-murder at Glensheen Mansion and is a co-author of WILL TO MURDER, a book about the Congdon murders.

In 1995, Sheriff Gary L. Waller, St Louis County, Minnesota, received the FBI Director's Community Leadership Award. Sheriff Waller was very instrumental in implementing D.A.R.E. program in St Louis County schools. This award is reserved for those individuals or organizations that have made an outstanding contribution within the community towards crime prevention and community awareness.




Sheriff Charles Bergquist

On September 30, 1986, the St Louis County Board of Commissioners appointed Supervising St Louis County Deputy Sheriff Charles Berquist to complete the term of Sheriff Ernie Grams, who died in a car accident. Berquist served until January 5, 1987, when Gary Waller was elected Sheriff.




Sheriff Ernie Grams

Sheriff Ernie Grams served from 1983-1986.

He began his career in law enforcement when he was appointed to the Duluth Police Department in December 1948 as a patrolman. He resigned from the police department. In December 1982 to assume the position of Sheriff of St Louis County.

Sheriff Ernie Grams died on Monday, September 22, 1986 when his car crashed into a tree on East Superior Street in Duluth. Grams had been sheriff since 1982 when he tallied 62 percent of the county vote, unseating four-term incumbent Greg Sertich.



Sheriff Greg Sertich

Sheriff Greg Sertich served from 1967 to 1983.

Duluth-Cotton Patrol Established in 1968
The St Louis County Sheriff's Department inaugurated around-the-clock patrol service between Duluth and Cotton. Sheriff Greg Sertich, Duluth, said shifts were juggled to free a crew to work daily from midnight to 8am. Prior to this there were no crews on patrol between Duluth and Cotton from 3-7am. Calls were handled by deputies off duty but on call at their homes.




Sheriff Samuel Owens

Sheriff Samuel Owens was the county's fourth sheriff in 1931 when he was appointed on 12/19/1931. Sheriff Owens took the oath of office before Walter H. Borgen, county auditor. Owens was the youngest sheriff to hold the office since 1904, when Walter Butchart, aged 21, was appointed to succeed his father, who died. Samuel Owens was a former chief deputy sheriff under Magie.

Sheriff Owens appointed Edward Hanson as chief deputy of the Duluth Office. Hanson served as a deputy for former Sheriff Magie for the last few months of Magie's stay in office. Jeff Cusson was chief deputy in Virginia.






Sheriff Charles F. McComb

Dr. Charles F. McComb was the county coroner and was named sheriff to administer the affairs of the sheriff's office pursuant to state law governing vacancies in that office when Emil Erickson resigned. Dr. McComb was appointed as sheriff on 12/11/31.




Sheriff Emil M. Erickson


Sheriff-Elect Emil M. Erickson left office 12/9/31 after a court decision that he was not an American citizen at time of election.

In November 1930, Sheriff Frank L. Magie contested Emil M. Erickson's right to the office of sheriff on the ground he was not a citizen and contends that Erickson was born in 1886 and his father was naturalized in 1908, when Erickson was more than 21 years old.

In December 1931, Judge Albert H. Enerson decided after hearing evidence that Emil M. Erickson was not a citizen at the time of his election as sheriff and never has been a citizen. With Erickson declared an alien, Frank L. Magie had a legal right to attempt his reinstatement as sheriff.




Sheriff Frank L. Magie

Frank L. Magie served as sheriff from 1918 to 1931.

In November 1930, Sheriff Frank L. Magie contested Emil M. Erickson's right to the office of sheriff on the ground he was not a citizen and contended that Erickson was born in 1886 and his father was naturalized in 1908, when Erickson was more than 21 years old.


Sheriff John R. Meining

Meining served as sheriff of St Louis County from 1911 to 1918, and was active in civic affairs. He ran for re-election in 1918 but lost the primary election which was on June 17, 1918.


Sheriff Edward McKinnon



Sheriff John R. Meining

Meining served as sheriff of St Louis County from 1911 to 1918, and was active in civic affairs. He ran for re-election in 1918 but lost the primary election which was on June 17, 1918.



1910 Sherif W. J. Bates

Sheriff William Jones Bates


Sheriff William Jones Bates first took office in 1905 and served until 1911.

He was born at Waitsfield, Vermont on April 18, 1859 and educated in the public schools of Chippewa County, WI. He began an active career in the lumber business at Chippewa Falls, MN. He re-located to Duluth in 1884 and continued in the lumber business, looking up timber lands in Northern Minnesota. He became a Deputy Sheriff of St Louis County in 1889 and continued until 1905 when he was elected Sheriff and assumed office on January 1, 1905.




Sheriff Walter B. Butchart


Walter B. Butchart, aged 21, was appointed to fill out the unexpired term of his father, William B. Butchart, also known as "Old W. W.", when the later died in his sleep August 8, 1904. The following day, Walter pinned on the gold star and became the youngest sheriff on record in St Louis County and one of the youngest in the nation.


Sheriff W.W. Butchart


Sheriff William W. Butchart served two terms in office. The first from 1895-1897 and the second from 1903-1904.


Sheriff William C. Sargent


William C. Sargent, one of the earliest residents of Duluth and a public office holder for many years, was born in Boston, MA in 1859. He came to Duluth at the age of 10, arriving at the Head of the Lakes on the steamer Meteor, Captain Thor Nelson.

William C. Sargent turned to politics and gained recognition in his nomination for sheriff in 1896. He was elected by a handsome majority, and was re-elected in 1898 and 1900.


Sheriff W.W. Butchart




Sheriff Paul Sharvey



Sheriff Paul Sharvey was nominated to run for Sheriff by the Republican Party in 1888. He retired from his elevator position in January of 1889 and assumed the duties of Sheriff the same month. He retired from the Sheriff's office in January 1896 after serving for 6 years.

Sheriff Henry Truelsen


Casper Henry Truelsen was born in Schleswig, Germany on October 20, 1844 and came to the United States in 1866. Three years later he settled In Duluth; engaged in the grocery and general merchandise business until 1855; was Sheriff of St Louis County from 1887-88 and mayor of Duluth in 1896. 


Sheriff Samuel McQuade


In 1877 Mr. McQuade was elected Sheriff of St Louis County and was re-elected five times, serving ten years in all in that incumbency, where his services proved most satisfactory to all concerned. In 1891-1892 he was chief of police in Duluth and in that position also displayed executive ability and tact of high order.

Sheriff Paul Sharvey




Sheriff George Berkelmann






Sheriff E.H. Brown






Sheriff Michael Houle



Sheriff Jerome Merritt



Sheriff Michael Houle



Sheriff E.H. Johnson



Sheriff Michael Houle



Sheriff A.J. Ellis



Sheriff Zach J. Brown