April 22nd, 2024

Retired police officer celebrates 100th birthday

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on March 15, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Retired Lethbridge police officer Glen Michelson visits with his great nephew LPS Sgt. Denton Michelson during his 100th birthday celebration on Thursday at the Nord-Bridge Seniors Centre.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Retired superintendent Glen Michelson, the oldest retired member of the Lethbridge Police Service, celebrated his 100th birthday Thursday at the Nord-Bridge Seniors Centre.

At the event – hosted by the Lethbridge Police Veterans Association – Michelson had an opportunity to be surrounded by family, friends and fellow officers, both current and retired alike.

Michelson, who started his policing career with the RCMP in 1947 and was with LPS from 1950 to 1984, shared some of his best memories during his birthday celebration and said he has been looking forward to reaching the big milestone for a while.

“I finally made it, I feel great and I’m happy to see so many friends and people here that I’ve known for years and years,” said Michelson.

He said he enjoyed his life as a policeman because that career was something he had always wanted to do.

Michelson shared his early policing memories beginning with his training in Regina in 1947 when he first joined the RCMP, and shortly after being sent to Rockcliffe, Ont. where he created very fond memories with a horse.

“We started the 1948 Musical Ride and they gave me a horse, they knew I was from the farm and I could ride horses, and they gave me a horse that had never been ridden before and they wanted me to break it and trained it and he was a beautiful horse,” said Michelson.

He said he named the horse Rebel and he was one of the best horses in the Musical Ride, but shortly after that Michelson was transferred to Charlottetown, PEI with his entire squad.

A short time later Michelson volunteered for a tour of northern service and was posted to Cambridge Bay, NWT and he said he really enjoyed his time there, especially with the sled dogs.

“I have so many things to be thankful for, I stayed up north for a full year. I enjoyed the dog teams driving, we had 14 dogs that we could hook up on the sleigh and you drive it,” said Michelson.

 He said in the winter time he wore heavy parkas made out of deer skin or Caribou skin, as he recalled sometimes the temperature reached -55 C.

Michelson said he purchased his discharge from the RCMP on July 31, 1950 in order to get married because in those days RCMP officers were required to be single.

“When you purchase your discharge, you have to pay so much money when you haven’t served the full time of five years,” said Michelson.

 He said it was hard for him to give back his uniform, but the most difficult thing was to return his spurs.

 “I rode that horse back in Rockcliffe with them and I hated handing them back, but I had to. And yesterday at the other party my brother got me a pair of spurs and presented them to me after about 38 years,” said Michelson.

After returning to Lethbridge, Michelson joined the Lethbridge City Police Force on Aug. 29, 1950. At the time, the force consisted of 14 officers and had two patrol cars. During his first seven years with Lethbridge police, he served in patrols as a uniformed constable and was then transferred to plain clothes duty in criminal investigations in 1957.

In 1961 he completed a course in identification methods and practices and was one of the first members of the Forensic Identification Unit. In 1974 the Lethbridge Police Special Weapons, Tactics and Sniper Team was created with Michelson as the first commander.

 After a 37-year career in policing, with three of those years spent with the RCMP, Michelson retired on July 30, 1984.

“My family, we’ve been policemen for a long time and we’ve all enjoyed it… they’re all here today,” said Michelson.

 His late brother Ralph also served with Lethbridge police and retired as the Chief of Police in 1984 after 36 years with the organization. His younger brother Bruce retired from the RCMP after 40 years of service.

Michelson also has family members currently serving with LPS – his great-nephew Denton Michelson is currently the sergeant in charge of the LPS tactical team and Michelson also has a great-niece who is a civilian employee at LPS.

“I’m 100 years old now and I’m going to be here a few more years,” said Michelson.

Those in attendance sang the Happy Birthday song to Michelson shortly after he cut a big piece of cake.

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