A Book of the Saint Paul Police 1838 - 1912
This is taken from A Book of the Saint Paul Police 1838 - 1912, a 1912 publication of the Saint Paul Police Department.
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History of the Saint Paul
Published for the Benefit of the
Saint Paul Police Benevolent Association
Maurice E. Doran
The history of the Saint Paul Police Department is a history of achievement. For a city of its size, none more than Saint Paul can testify to the value of having a well equipped and a strongly centralized police guardianship. Saint Paul has always been a difficult city to police. Its geographical situation is such that it is very hard to patrol. Bound in hills and valleys, crooked streets, narrow lanes, it affords but little opportunity for the average police officer to cover a large amount of ground in a short space of time. To properly police Saint Paul it would ordinarily take twice as many men as for the same size city having a flat area. This has made a new problem for chiefs of the local department, and may it be said, to the credit of the local officials, that they have grasped the situation with firm hands, and since the earliest days have given the citizens of Saint Paul wonderful protection considering the difficulty of the problem confronting them. It has certainly been an awful task at times. The very foundation of the city was laid by a lawless element. In the earliest days the lawless element predominated, the early settlers of the city being, as a rule, adventurous traders with the Indians, a business somewhat attended by illegal traits. The majority of the settlers who came here in early days had no intention of remaining. They came to make a large amount of money with the expenditure of the least amount of effort, and in the least time possible. The only authority they recognized was that of might. To deal with them, early chiefs of police had to use a bludgeon, rather than a badge of authority, yet so strong in character and so true to the trust confided in them were the early officials of the Saint Paul police department, that despite all these handicaps, they were able to maintain peace and harmony to an unusual degree. As the city grew and men became permanent residents of the little village, the duties of the police chief and his men developed into a mere patrol, yet this was attended by the most difficult of problems, as previously stated, the unevenness of the local area.