A family tradition: Longtime New Salem constable hands reins to grandson

  • Having been sworn as New Salem constable on June 6, Andrew Ohlson, 19, right, learns the ropes from his grandfather, longtime Constable Alfred Ohlson during last Tuesday’s annual Town Meeting in the basement of Town Hall. The elder Ohlson, 83, said it was time to step down after nearly 40 years on the job. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer
Published: 6/14/2022 3:13:36 PM
Modified: 6/14/2022 3:11:19 PM

NEW SALEM – Moving forward, any voters who attend an annual or special Town Meeting in New Salem will still have to check in with Constable Ohlson, albeit a different one.

Andrew Ohlson, 19, was sworn in to the role on June 6, replacing his grandfather, Alfred Ohlson, who had held the elected position for nearly 40 years. The two sat side by side at the information table off to the side in the basement of Town Hall for the annual Town Meeting on June 7 as the elder Ohlson, 83, showed his grandson the ropes.

“He’s doing great,” Alfred said, wearing his constable uniform.

“It’s a good experience,” Andrew said in a York Beach, Maine, sweatshirt. He said his grandfather has a lot of experience and knowledge to impart to him.

The Ohlsons explained a constable is responsible for checking in voters at town meetings and ensuring there is a quorum before a meeting begins. They also post meeting notices to five designated spots in town and keep the peace at public meetings, during repossessions and in the event a residence is visited by a municipal board or committee for town business. The town has budgeted $259 for the constable in the upcoming fiscal year.

Andrew Ohlson won a write-in campaign for constable in May and was unopposed. He said he wants to try the job because he is considering a law enforcement career.

“A lot of it was carrying on the family tradition and getting involved with the town and town government,” he said late last week. The younger Ohlson also works for the New Salem Fire Department.

The elder Ohlson said last week his grandson is adapting to the position and performed well at annual Town Meeting.

“My God, it was perfect. He did a great job,” he said. “He did real good.”

Alfred Ohlson spent 40 years with the New Salem Police Department, followed by eight in Wendell. He annually ran for reelection as constable until deciding four decades was enough.

“I’ll be in 84 in December,” he said. “Time to hang it up.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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