Power Pair: Identical twins and Minnesota state troopers

two women in Minnesota State Trooper uniforms
Identical twin sisters Jamie Gilchrist (left) and Jessica Liimatainen (right) are both Minnesota State Troopers working out of adjacent counties near Duluth, among the 8 percent of State Patrol sworn officers who are women.
Courtesy Minnesota State Patrol

Updated: 4 p.m.

Jamie Gilchrist and Jessica Liimatainen did almost everything together growing up together as identical twins in Barnum.

They went to the same schools and took the same classes. They both started hockey together when they were three years old and both played for their high school team.

“Our parents told us that we had our own language growing up,” Gilchrist said.

“They would come into the room and we’d be talking like gibberish and they had no idea what we were saying, but we would be laughing,” Liimatainen said. “Obviously we don’t have that anymore, but if we look at each other …” 

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“…We know exactly what we’re thinking,” Gilchrist said, finishing her sister’s sentence. “She’s my best friend. She’s my go to. Only a twin would know what kind of bond we have, and I would say in particular identical twins have that connection.”

When the time came to think about a career, they both thought they’d become nurses until they got interested in law enforcement.

Today, the 25-year-old twins work for the Minnesota State Patrol in adjacent counties near Duluth, among the 8 percent of State Patrol sworn officers who are women.

“Sometimes people will ask me, ‘Are you really old enough to be in this job?’ And then I always ask, ‘Well how old do you think I am?’ And they’re usually like ‘16, 17 at most.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, I wouldn't be here then if I was that young,’” Liimatainen said. “I get asked a lot of questions about being a female [officer] too, like what I like about it and …”

“... Especially like, ‘Why do you do it?’ Like, ‘You’re so small’” Gilchrist said. “They say, ‘You’re … here by yourself.’ Well, I know I’m small, but I have my training,” Gilchrist said.

MPR News host Angela Davis talks with Jessica Liimatainen and Jamie Gilchrist about being twins and young women in law enforcement.

The conversation is part of our Power Pair series, focused on Minnesotans who play important roles in their community and who also have a close relationship with each other.


  • Jessica Liimatainen is a Minnesota state trooper working out of Carlton County.

  • Jamie Gilchrist is a Minnesota state trooper working out of St. Louis County.

three women pose to get their photo taken
MPR News host Angela Davis (center) with Minnesota State Trooper Jessica Liimatainen (left) and her twin sister Minnesota State Trooper Jamie Gilchrist (right) at the Kling Public Media Center in St. Paul on Tuesday.
Nikhil Kumaran | MPR News

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