The Florida Highway Patrol is celebrating its 75th anniversary of patrolling and protecting the streets of the state of Florida. Today, the FHP consists of approximately 90 percent male and 10 percent female officers with 75 percent white and 25 percent Afro-American, Indian and Asian. In 1939, when FHP was created, there were a total of 60 uniformed officers.
Florida Highway Patrol to WW2
The term highway patrol was created for the purpose of enforcing and monitoring traffic as well as assisting other police agencies. In January, 1934, the Attorney General created the force to monitor motor vehicle laws, and the original uniform was forest green to represent a military uniform.
The population was growing, so in 1939 the Florida Legislature created the State Department of Public Safety, with two separate divisions: the Florida Highway Patrol and the State Motor Vehicle Driver’s License.
This legislation hired 60 officers to patrol the streets and highways, to regulate traffic and enforce state laws. Hold on to your hats! The salary for these 60 officers was $1,500 a year! The income for these salaries came from the Bureau of Drivers Licenses, and soon after, a training school in Bradenton was started with 40 recruits in the first class.
By 1941, they were recording all the details and activities. Simultaneously, the number of officers rose to 190, and their pay rose to $150 a month. Then in 1943, technology hit the FHP and radio communication went into operation, and there were 13 stations across Florida.
The FHP of the Present
The FHP endured through WW2 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the result was that in 1971, Joe DeCoursey became the first African American on the FHP. The patrol began to grow and special task forces were created like the 225 troopers that were sent to Miami for the Republican and Democratic Conventions.
By now it was 1998, and Florida was the fourth largest state in the country. In 2001, controversy arose concerning the agency, but FHP moved ahead and placed red and blue lights on the patrol cars because they are seen better in the night hours.
Today, the Florida Highway Patrol is a major safety corporation developed for law enforcement. There are agencies that fall under FHP such as the FHP Auxiliary and Drug Interdiction teams, which add direction and growth of this agency, so the people of Florida lead a safer lifestyle.