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Minnesota House votes to name South St. Paul Post Office in memory of Officer Leo Pavlak

Thursday, May 19, 2022

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution requesting to name the South St. Paul Post Office in memory of Officer Leo Pavlak. Officer Pavlak was killed outside the building in 1933.  

“Officer Leo Pavlak deserves to be recognized for his heroism and service to our community,” said Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL – South St. Paul), the author of the resolution. “It’s an honor to champion legislation to name the South St. Paul Post Office in his memory.” 

Officer Pavlak was killed in the line of duty five months after he joined the South St. Paul Police Department. On August 30, 1933, he escorted two messengers from Stockyards National Bank to the South St. Paul Railway Station. The group picked up payroll money to deliver to Swift and Company employees and returned to the South St. Paul Post Office to bag it. When Officer Pavlak and the messengers left the post office, members of the infamous Barker-Karpis gang robbed them. One of the bandits shot Officer Pavlak during the robbery, killing him instantly.  

Officer Pavlak was just 38 years old. He was survived by his wife, Pauline, and two children, Eleanor and Robert. Several of his descendants worked in law enforcement, including his son and some of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In a letter sent to lawmakers earlier this year, Officer Pavlak’s grandchildren called the plan to name the post office in his honor “a true and fitting memorial” that “has great meaning for all law enforcement officers but particularly for those who are his descendants.” 

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