After 33 years in law enforcement, Jackie Notch retires as Douglas County Jail administrator

She was the first female deputy hired with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

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On Friday, Dec. 18, Cpt. Jackie Notch, Douglas County Jail administrator, will be retiring. She has worked in for the sheriff's office for the past 33 years. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)

When Jackie Notch was hired to serve the community she grew up in, she said it was a dream come true.

An Alexandria graduate, Notch was the first female road deputy hired for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. She began her career on Sept. 1, 1988. And now, more than 32 years later – and several positions later – her career is coming to end.

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This is one of the very first photos of Jackie Notch after she was hired as a deputy with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office in 1988. (Contributed)

On Friday, Dec. 18, Notch will serve her last day as a captain for the sheriff’s office and as the Douglas County Jail administrator, a role she’s been in since Oct. 1, 2007.


When she joined the staff of all men, Notch said the crew was very welcoming and over the years, became very protective of her, both professionally and personally.
“The guys really took me under the wings,” said Notch. “They were all like a bunch of brothers to me.”

When she started with the department, there were just six deputies and three sergeants. Nowadays, she said that number has grown close to 30 when you count both deputies and sergeants.

“We were all pretty close back then, both at work, where six of us shared one desk and outside of work, where we played softball together or just hung out,” said Notch.

Throughout her career, Notch said she never felt discriminated against because she was female. She was an officer of the law, just like everyone else she worked with.

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Douglas County Jail Administrator, Jackie Notch, who was known as Jackie Treischel when she was hired in 1988, was pictured in an Echo Press newspaper article shortly after she was hired. (Contributed)

Although she did recall a story when she showed up for a call for a man who needed a lift assist. She said the wife was quite mad because it was a female who showed up to lift her husband off the ground. But Notch prevailed and did the job.

“She thanked me later by sending me a thank you card,” said Notch. “In the card, she wrote that she was wrong and that she had obviously underestimated me as a female deputy.”


Making an impact

As Notch looked back at the last three decades, which included 19 years as a road deputy, there were so many other incidents that made an impact.

She said there were many big, and in some cases, very tragic, incidents she remembers, like officer-involved shootings, drownings and bad crashes like the Miltona bus/train crash.

She remembers her time spent on the SWAT team as a negotiator with now retired team member, Dave Ahlquist. She recalled incidents where suspects barricaded themselves and the two of them would negotiate, sometimes for hours.

But not all the incidents that made an impact on her career were tragic, like the lift assist or the time she was on the interstate and helped a group of men open their car door. She found out they were a group of 3M executives from Tokyo. They ended up visiting and even snapped a few pictures. Months later, she ended up receiving a letter from them when they got back to Japan.

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Jackie Notch, back when she was a road deputy for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, helped a group of men from Tokyo with car troubles on Interstate 94. They took a picture with her and later sent her a letter when they were back in Japan.

Notch also recalled one Christmas morning when she was summoned to a vehicle versus deer call.

“The couple obviously had never been in a crash before and were quite shaken up,” she said. “I had a little conversation with them, which made them feel much better and then they went on their way.”


Notch said sometimes it’s the little things like that that officers and deputies do every day for the public that is often overshadowed by all the “exciting calls,” but that they are such an important part of what law enforcement officers do.

“Anytime you can touch someone’s life even in a small way is very humbling,” she said.

She believes that is why she loved teaching D.A.R.E to area students.

“I saw how drugs and alcohol destroyed so many lives that I thought if I could make an impact on younger kids before they got involved in any of that, that I could make a difference in their lives,” said Notch, who taught Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education to area fifth-graders for 13 years.

Notch said teaching D.A.R.E was a highlight of her career and loved that the students were so curious about her profession and that she loved that they didn’t have any animosity toward law enforcement at that point.

“I appreciated their enthusiasm and their unfiltered questions,” she said. “It was a very rewarding part of my job.”

Little things, like just talking to people, carried over with Notch when she was promoted to jail administrator, she said.

There were times when just talking to someone who was just arrested or even talking to their family members may have made a difference, she said.


Being promoted to the jail administrator was just what Notch said she needed for that time in her life. After 19 years on the road, she was ready for a change. Being recently divorced, she felt this position would give her more time to be at home with her girls, Murphy and Carley. It was a good move for all of them and her girls have always been very supportive of her career and loved growing up with a big extended family watching over them.

Giving her the chance

In looking at her career, Notch said she is forever grateful to those who gave her the chance and opportunities to become a member of the team.

Terry Eilers, who recently passed away , was the sheriff who hired Notch and was the first to give her a chance. She said she couldn’t thank him enough for hiring her.

The next sheriff, Bill Ingebrigtsen, who is now a state senator, was like a father figure to her and always encouraged her to expand her career, she said.

“He was so supportive and pushed me to be better,” she said.

Then there is Troy Wolbersen, the current sheriff.

Notch said she and Wolbersen were actually hired at the exact same time and that he was always a friend.

“He has always shown a lot of pride and faith in everything I do,” she said. “He promoted me to the jail administrator and then let me run the jail. He never micromanaged me and I so appreciate him for that.”


She’ll miss her staff the most

One of the biggest eyeopeners in her career was after she became the jail administrator. As a deputy, she kind of thought there wasn’t much to running a jail. But she was sadly mistaken.

She said running the jail is very challenging, though isn’t about her, it is about the staff who work there. She said they do most of the work and deserve more credit.

Her staff of nearly 40 employees is who she will miss the most when she is gone, she said.

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Douglas County Jail Administrator Jackie Notch talks with some of her staff members inside the jail, including Dale Olson (left), Courtney Dunn (right) and Sgt. Kristie Reuss. (Celeste Edenoff / Echo Press)

“People who work in jails are definitely the behind-the-scenes type employees,” she said. “But they are so important to the success of law enforcement and they can’t be forgotten.”

She also talked about her assistant jail administrator, Lee Johnson, who she has worked with for nearly six years. She said they shared a common vision of what they wanted for the jail, the inmates and the staff.

“He was a great sounding board and being younger than me, he really challenged me to incorporate new ideas and technology,” she said. “He has now been promoted to take my spot as the jail administrator and I couldn’t be happier for him and the jail.”


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Jackie Notch (middle), Douglas County Jail administrator, was named the Minnesota Sheriff's Association's Administrator of the Year in 2016. She is pictured after the ceremony with her daughters, Murphy (left) and Carley. (Contributed)

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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