In the spring of 1923, St. Paul Police Officers Bernard Munkholm, Robert Hubenette, and Frank Mondike decided that the Bureau of Police should be represented by a band. Officer Munkholm asked Mr. Dittenhoffer, president of the Golden Rule Department Store, if he would donate the discarded instruments from the stores Winter Carnival Band of 1917. A fund raiser was then held to allow the band to purchase uniforms, music, and other equipment.
The St. Paul Police Band was formally organized on June 1, 1924. Professor Alfred Damm, an associate of the John Philip Sousa Band, was appointed as the first director. The first rehearsal took place on June 17 at the central police station. The Police bands first public appearance was at Rice Park on August 8. In 1925, the Police Band met Mr. Sousa and his band at the St. Paul Union Depot, and marched them up to the Auditorium. In appreciation, Mr. Sousa presented an American flag to the Police band. This flag can be seen today at the Sousa Memorial in the Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis.
On December 7, 1926, the Police Band performed a concert for the Policemans Ball, held at the Coliseum in St. Paul. The concert was broadcast over the newly formed radio station WCCO. This was one of the first live concerts to be broadcast in America, and was heard up and down the eastern seaboard from New York to Florida.
Officer Munkholm was active with the Police Band right up to his death in 1982. The Munkholm name was not to be uncommon on the Police Band roster. Bernards brother Owen joined the Police Band in 1944. Owen Munkholm in turn had his sons, Gary and Thomas, join the Police Band. Gary Munkholm was the Bands conductor in the seventies. Thomas was an active member of the band right up to his death. Gary continues to be an active member playing clarinet for concerts and being the Drum Major for parades.
Today, the St. Paul Police Band is part of the St. Paul Police Community Services Unit, under the command of Sgt. Anthony Nikula. There are 70+ members, consisting of police officers, retired officers, and civilians. The association is operated by a board of directors, who are elected annually by the membership.
The St. Paul Police Band performs in approximately fifteen parades each year throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. The St. Paul Police Band also performs approximately fifteen concerts each year at local parks and area senior residences. In addition, the Police Band performs at St. Paul Police Recruit Academy graduations and the annual Police Memorial Service. In 1995, the Police Band performed at the dedication ceremony for the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial. The concert band is conducted by our musical director, Chad Green.