Voices of Minnesota

St. Paul Police Oral History Project


DATE: 1979, 2004-2008

INTERVIEWERS: Kate Cavett and Fred Kaphingst

In the 1850s, the city of St. Paul began to develop a more comprehensive police force when it became clear that the population of the city was growing. It began with Marshall Miller appointing four patrolmen in 1856, and since then has grown to nearly 600, as of 2000. For this project, by Hand in Hands Productions, members of the St. Paul Police Department were interviewed representing a wide range of experiences reflected by their personal tribulations and successes.

The subjects discussed by the interviewees include: initial interest in the St. Paul Police Department [SSPD]; police culture; being a rookie; standards of SPPD; dynamics between officers of varying rank; drug enforcement; situations involving death and response to such situations; influence of war experiences on police work; police training and learning to use weapons; role of religion and faith; changing dynamics of SPPD when more ethnic integration occurs within; gender and racial discrimination and barriers; civil unrest in the 1960s; being promoted and moving up the ladder; expectations of citizens by SPPD; occupational stress and fear; performance evaluations; death of fellow officers; life outside the SPPD; major challenges faced by SPPD through the years; retirement.

TRANSCRIPTS: 922 pages