Police Chief John J. O’Connor – Cleaning up St. Paul’s Streets
St. Paul lies along the Mississippi River making it a perfect rail and river transportation hub, shipping goods to and from major markets like Chicago to New Orleans. It was a bustling city of over 160,000 people in the early 1900s, with its share of criminal activity. John J. O’Connor was named St. Paul’s Chief of Police in 1900. A headline touted him as “Desirable change for the city.” He upheld his duty to reduce crime and make St. Paul safe- and did his job well. O’Connor was hailed for significantly reducing crime in St. Paul during his tenure. Despite his reputation as a solid, upstanding law enforcement officer, O’Connor’s method of crime prevention was unorthodox. When O’Connor took office, he discreetly passed the word around the criminal world that St. Paul would offer them safe haven, as long as they didn’t commit any crimes within St. Paul itself.