On This Date In Twin Cities History - February 17, 1921


School Police patrol parade in St. Paul circa 1931 (MHS)
School Police patrol parade in St. Paul circa 1931 (MHS)

On this date in 1921, Sister Carmela Hanggi, principal of Cathedral School in St. Paul and a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, establishes the School Safety Patrol program in Minnesota.

This program would become an international model for parochial and public institutions and was the first of its kind in the nation. The program was unique in that the students themselves were the “police.”

The program initially began as a school-police program for boys serving as guards to help students cross busy streets.  Over time, however, Sister Carmela’s efforts would inspire the organization of numerous programs nationwide that now include girl guards and bus patrols.

On June 6, 1975, a small monument was dedicated to Sister Carmela and the School Safety Patrol program at the site of the first school guard crossing in the world.  Situated across Summit Avenue from the St. Paul Cathedral on a knoll overlooking Kellogg Boulevard, the monument includes a commemorative plaque mounted on a large cement base holding a United States flag.

School Patrol Monument - St. Paul
School Patrol Monument in St. Paul