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Officer Overdahl

L. Ben Overdahl

End of Watch:
January 22, 1957

On January 22, 1957, Sergeant L. Ben Overdahl was having a cup of coffee at a restaurant at 1104 South "K" Street when Mrs. Alberta McClung, an employee of the business, requested his assistance.  McClung told Officer Overdahl that Harold Almquist was drunk and bothering other customers in the establishment and asked Sergeant Overdahl to speak to Almquist.


Sergeant Overdahl, who was off-duty and in plain clothes, was unable to quiet Almquist.  Overdahl arrested Almquist and led him outside to the call box at 11th and "K" Streets.  A minor struggle ensued with Almquist and Officer Overdahl collapsed from a heart attack.  A taxi driver aided the stricken Officer while Almquist fled.  Sergeant Overdahl was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Joseph’s Hospital.  Almquist was located a few minutes later in a nearby tavern and was arrested for being drunk and disorderly and resisting arrest.


Sergeant L. Ben Overdahl was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and worked as an engineer on a locomotive before coming to Tacoma in 1920.  Sergeant Overdahl was employed as a carpenter and a longshoreman before joining the Tacoma Police Department on May 8, 1930.  He served as a prowl car officer before his promotion to Sergeant on October 1, 1942 and was head of the Traffic Division for three years.  He was appointed City Jail Superintendent on March 25, 1952 and was serving in that capacity at the time of his death.


Sergeant Overdahl was survived by his wife Maude and son Norman Overdahl.


Gone But Not Forgotten