SAINT PAUL SCHOOL POLICE - A TRADITION OF SAFETY AND SERVICE
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In the period just prior to 1920, the City of Saint Paul saw a significant increase in motor vehicle traffic as more and more consumers were able to afford the convenience of the developing automobile.  This increase in motorized traffic, coupled with a lack of a formal driver training program, resulted in a high number of accidents involving children walking to and from school, including a number of fatalities.


In 1920 the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Education of the City of Saint Paul became very alarmed over the number of accidents which were occurring to children walking to and from school. The agencies convened a series of meetings to discuss possible solutions to the problem and conceived a School Police Patrol system to safe guard the lives of Saint Paul school children. 

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Inspector Frank Hetznecker, Saint Paul Police, who Supervised the School Police Program from 1920 until 1950.
The Saint Paul City Council passed an ordinance approving the plan.
The School Police Force, as it was called at the time, was first organized under the direction of Public Safety Director A.J. Smith.  Michael Gebhart was Chief of Police and Inspector Gus Barfuss was assigned to organize and supervise the new program.


One hundred boys were appointed as school captains and 650 as patrolmen.  For three months the program remained largely inactive, then Sergeant Frank Hetznecker and motorcycle patrolman George Pepin were assigned to assist Inspector Barfus with the new program.


Sergeant, and later Inspector, Hetznecker was responsible for creating the successful School Police Program.  He expanded the program from its initial concept and organizational efforts in the fall
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Sister M. Carmella Hanggi, the Principal of Cathedrel School, who organized the first School Police Crossing at Summit Avenue and Kellogg Boulevard on February 21, 1921
of 1920 into the extensive program that existed by the end of the 1920-21 school year.  He organized the structure of the School Police, developed training standards, and established operating procedures.  Sergeant Hetznecker was subsequently assigned as Superintendent of the School Police, a position he held for over 30 years until his retirement in 1950.


Officials from the Saint Paul Police Department and Department of Education approached Father Byrne, the Superintendent of the Archdiocese School system, and outlined the plan.  Father Byrne indicated that the Archdiocese schools would participate in the program.


After much planning and organization the program became a reality when on February 21,1921, the first School Police Crossing was made at Summit Avenue and Kellogg Boulevard.
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Inspector Gus Barfuss, Saint Paul Police, who was assigned with Sgt. Hetznecker to organize the School Police Program
This crossing was made by the School Police of the Cathedral School, organized by Sister M. Carmella Hanggi, the Principal of the school and a strong proponent of the program.  This is believed to have been the first School Patrol crossing in the world.

Initially each Saint Paul Public School and Archdiocese School was allowed one School Patrol Officer for every 100 students enrolled. By the end of the 1920-21 school year there were 1,275 School Patrol officers safely escorting students to and from school.

The School Police officers were issued badges which were almost identical to the Saint Paul Police Badges in use at that time. The current Saint Paul School Patrol Badges follow that original design.

Yellow hand held signs imprinted with STOP-SCHOOL POLICE were made at the old Vocational High
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Inspector Hetznecker and School Patrol Boy 1937
School. In 1924 Sgt. Hetznecker began to assemble Sam Browne Belts form surplus Saint Paul Police materials. Soon after a harness maker near the Union Depot in the old Lowertown area of downtown Saint Paul made and donated Sam Browne belts for the School Police.

In 1921 the first annual meeting of the Captains of the School Police was assembled at the old Saint Paul Auditorium to elect a Chief of the School Police. This practice continued into the early 1970s. The first annual School Police Parade also occurred in the spring of 1921, with school police units marching from the State Capitol into and through downtown Saint Paul. The first annual School Police Patrol Picnic was presented by the citizens of Saint Paul at Harriet Island Park in 1926 following the Annual School Police Parade and Picnic.