Albert John Cunnien
Appointed December 16, 1913
Shortly before midnight on Friday, July 3, 1925, Motorcycle Patrolman Albert John Cunnien1, Badge No. 21 & 520, was killed when a motorist he was pursuing ran his motorcycle off the old park service drive, crushing him against the steel railing on a bridge near County Road “B”, a part of Phalen Park located in New Canada Township (now Maplewood), Minnesota. Cunnien had been ordered to stop people from driving through the park because of Fourth of July preparations then taking place.
At the time in question, officer Cunnien had been stationed in Phalen Park just north of the boat docks on traffic control when he saw a large touring car travelling southbound at a high rate of speed. He yelled at the driver to slow down but the driver ignored him, and the officer pursued him on his motorcycle. Cunnien caught up to the car and pulled alongside it at the second bridge north of the boat docks before the junction of the old park service drive with County Road “B”. He again ordered the driver to stop. The driver then swerved over against the officer’s motorcycle crushing it against the steel railing on the bridge, pinning Cunnien underneath the mangled mess.
Witnesses were unable to give a description of the suspect vehicle that fled the scene, but reported that the front wheel of the motorcycle appeared to wobble prior to the accident and that may have been a contributing factor in the incident. Cunnien was unconscious at the scene and died on his way to Ancker Hospital.
Born on June 11, 1889, and raised in New Canada Township (now the Cities of Little Canada and Maplewood), Ramsey County, thirty-six year old Albert John Cunnien had served with the Bureau of Police for a total of six years on two different occasions. His original hire date was December 16, 1913, and he resigned five years later. He rejoined the bureau on August 11, 1924 was currently assigned to the Saint Paul Park Board. Less than a month prior to his death, he had distinguished himself by the capture single handed of an armed “highwayman”. For this achievement, Cunnien was to receive a promotion in just a few weeks. He was survived by his wife, Mary M. and five children, William, Lois, Catherine, Robert and Mary. Patrolman Cunnien’s funeral was held on Tuesday, July 7, 1925, at Saint Andrew’s Church, and he is buried at Calvary Cemetery, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
1 Albert John Cunnien was appointed Motorcycle Patrolman December 16, 1913; he resigned some time in 1918; was reappointed Motorcycle Patrolman August 11, 1924, assigned to the Saint Paul Park Board; and was fatally injured on a motorcycle after being forced from the roadway while in pursuit of a motor vehicle Friday, July 3, 1925.