Highway 36 in Maplewood named for Bergeron

Sgt. Joe Bergeron
Sgt. Joe Bergeron

On May 19, Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill into law designating Trunk Highway 36 in Maplewood to be named “Sergeant Joseph Bergeron Memorial Highway.”

The bill, authored in the Senate by Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL-Maplewood, and in the House by Rep. Leon Lillie, DFL-North St. Paul, will make the Maplewood portion of the highway a memorial to Bergeron, who was a veteran officer of the Maplewood Police Department, with 26 years of service when he was shot and killed on May 1, 2010 responding to a carjacking.

When Wiger presented the Senate version of the bill at the Capitol March 25, Bergeron’s widow Gail and two teenage daughters were looking on.

Gail said at the time that she and her girls prefer to grieve in private, but added that the highway memorial is a welcomed tribute.

“Joe was a real humble guy. He didn’t need to be recognized, and that’s kind of how we are as a family,” she said.

“Even though for us, as a family, it’s kind of like ripping that wound open again, if it helps people remember, then the girls and I will do what we can to keep it in the forefront of people’s minds.”

Seated next to Gail during the hearing, Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell spoke on the impact Bergeron’s death had on the community and the police force.

“We’ll never forget the sacrifice of Bergeron and his family,” he said, noting the highway memorial would serve “as an active reminder” to all who drive along it.

The legislation is entered into law as Chapter 46, SF 1854.

Marking the one-year anniversary of Bergeron’s death, a bronze statue memorial and plaque were unveiled outside City Hall. A couple months later, his name was added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial wall in Washington, D.C.

And, on May 1, marking the five-year anniversary of his death, the Maplewood Police Department officially retired Bergeron’s badge, number 357.

— Review staff

 

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