Sharon Lubinski, first out LGBTQ+ U.S. marshal and Minneapolis police officer, has died at 71

Author: Trudy Ring

Sharon Lubinski, the first out LGBTQ+ police officer in Minneapolis and first out U.S. marshal, has died at 71.

Lubinski died April 19, according to an obituary posted by the Washburn-McCreavy funeral home. No cause of death was given.

Lubinski, a native of Green Bay, Wis., began her law enforcement career with as a deputy for the Dane County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin, the Star Tribune reports. She joined the Minneapolis Police Department in 1987. She rose through the ranks, becoming precinct commander, deputy chief of patrol, and assistant police chief.

She came out as a lesbian to the department and the public in 1993. “She told the Star Tribune at the time her decision was partly informed by the recent murders of gay men in Minneapolis and seeing how police and the gay community struggled to work together,” the paper notes.

“If I’m going to be a real person and if I’m ever going to make real change as a cop, I have to do it as a lesbian cop,” she told the Star Tribune in 1993. “I can no longer justify keeping this to myself.”

Lubinski had a stellar reputation within the department. “Everywhere she went she was well regarded by the troops,” colleague Greg Hestness told the paper. “When you’re in a position where you are setting the tone and challenging stereotypes, to still be respected by the troops is a sign of a lot of leadership.”

She also “worked on issues of community concern with Indigenous, Somali, Hmong and African American communities,” her obituary states.

In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated her to be a U.S. marshal on the recommendation of Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. The U.S. Marshals Service’s duties include providing security for federal courts, transporting federal prisoners, apprehending criminals, and seizing stolen assets.

“During my years as Hennepin County Attorney, I worked with Sharon Lubinski on an almost daily basis,” said a statement from Klobuchar. “I observed firsthand the strength of her character and the respect she commanded from people at every level of law enforcement and across our state. Because of this, I recommended Sharon be nominated to serve as the U.S. Marshal for the District of Minnesota. … As U.S. Marshal, Sharon led a successful effort in the state to reduce violent crime and was instrumental in the manhunt to capture the murderer of Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick. Minnesota is a safer place because of Sharon.”

“Sharon was also a trailblazer,” Klobuchar continued. “She was Minnesota’s first female and our country’s first openly gay U.S. Marshal. She is an inspiration whose story and actions have encouraged more people from all backgrounds to serve.”

U.S. District Judge John Tunheim, who was chief judge when Lubinski was marshal, told the Star Tribune she was “the most effective law enforcement partner with whom I have ever worked.”

“She was the definition of outstanding leadership: encouraging, courageous, selfless, and a remarkable decision-maker, greatly respected by judges and deputy marshals alike,” he said. “Not only was she the best female law enforcement leader in America, she was simply one of the best law enforcement leaders in America, period.”

Lubinski retired in 2016. She was an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers and opera, and her hobbies included astronomy, birdwatching, and running. Her family recommends memorial donations to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wis.

Survivors include her spouse of 38 years, Fran, and a brother and sister. A service will be held May 19 in Edina, Minn.

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring

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