Summer reading suggestion:
Do you enjoy reading about law enforcement and crime fighting?
Would you like to get to know some of the people behind the badge?
Are you interested in the history St. Paul, Minnesota?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then I recommend that you check out the Saint Paul Police Oral Histories Project.
The Saint Paul Police Oral History Project was made possible by funding from the Minnesota Legacy Amendment. There are currently 26 oral histories (interviews) available to read at no cost from:
This project was created by a Twin Cities based nonprofit called:
Taken together these oral histories provide many unique, historically significant, and interesting insights into the lives and experiences of the men and women who have served on the St. Paul Police Department.
Readers can explore the early history of the department from some of the people who lived it. At times, these early stories read like fiction or may remind you of a bygone Hollywood crime thriller. More recent oral histories include interviews from a number of the SPPD’s first female officers, first African American officers and an interview with the first Hmong-American to serve on a police force anywhere in the U.S.
Each of the 26 interviews contain at least a few exciting tales of police work in action and these alone would make for interesting reading. However, of equal or greater interest to me was to hear the interviewees talk about who they were when they were not at work and what it was like for them to deal with the common ups and downs that most people face both personally and professionally.
Many of them talk at length about themes that I could readily identify with such as: striving to find meaning in the world, living up to their values, figuring out a sane work-life balance, and trying to be a good family member, friend, colleague, and community member. The men and women who share their stories through this project express a wide range of views, beliefs, and experiences; I think readers will appreciate the diversity of opinions and backgrounds represented here. Some of what I came across in the interviews was hilarious and some of it was heartbreaking, all of it was very engaging.
I strongly recommend that readers start with:
Additional interviews from the Saint Paul Police Oral History Project are located in hard copy at the Minnesota Historical Society Library.
For more information please visit: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/oh132.xml