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Post WWII Events until 1959

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American flag2 flying at half-mastIn Honor of those who died in the line-of-duty

Colonel H. Neil Kirkman
1945-1970


Post World War II Events

In 1947, the first Patrol station was built in Tallahassee. In 1949, for the first time, revenue to operate the Department of Public Safety was appropriated from the General Revenue Fund. At the close of 1950, the FHP had 171 Patrolmen on the road. The 1951 Legislature authorized a pay increase to $275 per month and increased the authorized strength to 300 patrolmen; however, the lack of funds kept the Department from employing them.

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Public Information and Education

In 1950, Captain C. E. "Red" Taylor was brought to Tallahassee to head up the public information and accident records section which was newly established during his tenure. Red Taylor served as the patrol's representative of public safety in the legislature. He was instrumental in working with the police and other law enforcement agencies in following the guidelines of the National Traffic Safety inventory concerning the uniformity of reporting accidents and providing for funding for enforcement personnel. His work provided local agencies and the state tremendous leverage with the legislature in getting the personnel to enforce traffic laws, which ultimately helped the Highway Patrol.

With the creation of the Florida Highway Patrol in 1939, safety education duties became an integral part of each trooper's responsibilities. At the request of the local citizenry, troopers conducted local educational activities. As the State grew, so did the responsibilities of the Florida Highway Patrol.

In January, 1951, the Safety Education Section was formed with its main office located in General Headquarters in Tallahassee. During subsequent years, the section grew to its current strength. Along with this growth came increased responsibilities. Recognizing the need to provide the citizens and visitors of the State with current information regarding Florida Highway Patrol and highway safety activities and the traffic laws of Florida.

Captain Karl Adams took over the Public Information and Accident Record Section in 1952. In 1957, Legislature passed a bill to provide safety officers and driver license supervisors with the rank of Sergeant. He served as legislative liaison for the Patrol. He became the Patrol's first administrative assistant with the Rank of Major when he took over the Budget Section.

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History of the Patch

first uniform worn by Patrolman Reid CliftonIn the spring of 1951, Lieutenant Clay W. Keith's idea of a single shoulder patch on the right shoulder impressed Colonel Neil Kirkman so much, in the fall meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Washington, D.C., he presented the concept. Within a short time, every Highway Patrol and State Police organization in the United States adopted the idea. The patch appeared in a magazine published by the Florida Peace Officers Association and soon all of Florida's law enforcement agencies adopted the idea.

While the patch gave the Florida Highway Patrol national publicity, Lieutenant Keith's ideas gave Major J. Wallace Smith (Budget Officer) nightmares. The Patrol did not have the funding in the budget to cover the patches. Colonel Kirkman could not wait until the next year's session to ask for funding, so he informed Major Smith to locate the necessary funds. Shoulder patches at that time cost approximately 22 cents each, so with 255 Patrolmen, each with 6 shirts, the conversion cost was $337. History does not record how Major Smith obtained the necessary funding.

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Investigation Section

The Investigation Section of the Patrol was created in 1952. As a result of the problems created by civilian driver license examiners accepting bribes from applicants receiving driver licenses, Lieutenant C. W. Keith and Sergeant C. C. Reynolds were appointed to run investigations to solve this problem. As a result, a number of examiners were sent to Raiford Prison. During the investigation, the Attorney General appointed his assistant, George Owens, to guide and direct the Florida Highway Patrol in its investigation. When completed, the Attorney General recommended to Colonel Kirkman that an investigation section be established with the department. Sergeant A. E. Reddick was appointed the first Chief Investigator.

When the Kirkman Building was built, three rooms in the north wing on the fourth floor were set aside for the Chief Investigator and special rooms for interrogation. The Section has the overall responsibility of investigations involving organized motor vehicles theft organizations, stolen and counterfeit drivers licenses, and stolen or counterfeit motor vehicle documents.

The Section also has the responsibility of investigating all Worker's Compensation claims, the security of all DHSMV revenue documents and the security of all Department facilities. The Section has the responsibility of polygraph pre-employment screening and internal affairs investigations as assigned by the Director.

Each of the investigators are "specialists" trained in all ramifications of investigations and offer to the Troopers and other Divisions expert assistance in those matters over which the Department has jurisdiction.

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The Era of the Troop Arrived

In late 1952, the Patrol realigned the divisions. Boundaries were changed and divisions became Troops and were designated as A, B, C, D, E and Headquarters Troop.

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Troop A

Bordered by Alabama on the north and by the Gulf of Mexico on the south, Troop A consists of 10 northwest Florida counties: Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Washington. Troop A Headquarters is located in Panama City, Bay County, Florida. District stations are located in Marianna, Crestview, and Pensacola.

Having been a part of the northern district and later the western district, Troop A was formed on December 23, 1952. Previous commanders were Captains Tobe Bass, R. L. Robinson, Johnnie Jourdan, K. D. Sconiers, and Joe R. Henderson.

The Pensacola Station is dedicated to retired Captain Owen T. "Casey" Cason.

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Troop B

In the early 40s, Troop B was known as the Northern Division of the Florida Highway Patrol and was comprised of seventeen counties. Captain Fitzhugh Lee was Commander of the Northern Division and in July 1946, Lieutenant Reid Clifton was appointed to that position. Previous commanders were Captain Olin Hill. In 1955, Captain C. E. Taylor took over the reins.

In July, 1957, Troop B was reduced to 11 counties. Captain C. W. Hancock was the Acting Troop Commander for a short time. His successor were Captains J. W. Hagans. K. D. Sconiers, J. E. Beach, B. J. Barnett, G. E. Jordan, B. H. Spears, T. C. Hodges, J. E. Love, T. F. Sigman, and Major Alvin P. Edlin and Major Billy R. Lee.

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Troop C

In 1939, Troop C was part of the Central Division of the Florida Highway Patrol. Headquarters was located in the State Road Department building in Bartow. In 1951, Headquarters was relocated in Lakeland at the Lodwick Airport.

Captain H. C. "Red" Martin was the first commander of the Central Division. He was replaced by Captain Mack Britt. In July 1950, the divisions were organized into Troops and the Central Division, which consisted of the 3rd and 5th Districts, was split to form Troop C and Troop D. Hardee and Highlands Counties were later cut from the Troop C and placed in newly formed Troop F. Captain Mack Britt was made Troop Commander of Troop F and Captain I. Olin Hill became Troop Commander of Troop C.

Following Captain Hill, the troop commanders were Captains S. L. Clements, W. R. Intyre, John M. Russi, Major Lester W. Smith, and Major Morris Leggett. Troop Headquarters is located at Brooksville, Lakeland, Pinellas Park and Tampa. Troop C is presently comprised of the following counties: Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Pinellas, and Sumter.

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Troop D

Troop D was first formed in 1950 under the supervision of Captain Clyde Carlan. Troop D encompasses Orange, Lake, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, Flagler, and Volusia Counties with headquarters in Orlando This area was formerly designated the Fourth District of the Central Division.

The first station in Troop D was opened in the early part of 1949 in Melbourne. In November 1956, a new Patrol Station became operational in Deland under the command of Lieutenant H. A. Weaver. In February 1958, Lieutenant Weaver was promoted to Captain and took command of Troop D. He provided competent and distinguished leadership in that capacity until his retirement in February 1980. He was replaced by Captain Jack W. King, followed by Majors Walter E. Sundberg, Jr., James M. Lee and Major Ricky S. Gregory.

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Troop E

Troop is located in the metropolitan lower east coast of the State, had its roots as the headquarters of the Southern Division of the Florida Highway Patrol. Originally located within the Broward County courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, the headquarters was moved to Miami in early 1947.

The first troop commander for the Southern Division was Captain Stuart Senneff. He took command in 1941, when the Patrol divided the State into three geographical / operational areas. Previous Troop Commanders were Captains Tobe Bass, Reid Clifton, J. G. Gallop, J. W. Hagans, H. L. Simmons, J. W. Jourdan, E. D. Duggar, W. A. Stevens, J. E. Hicks, R. B. Garris, Majors John W. Carmody, Paul E. Gracey, and Rebecca P. Tharpe.

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Troop F

In January 1955, Troop F was formed and Bradenton was designated Troop F Headquarters. The first FHP training school was held in Bradenton on November 5, 1939. Troop F formed the first FHP Auxiliary Unit in the State.

The first troop commander was Captain M. G. Britt and followed by Captains J. W. Jourdan, F. M. Thomas, J. T. Prater, Jake Raulerson, A. E. Hambacher, L. D. Brady, Gregory G. Dodson, Majors Paul B. Taylor, and Ronald D. Getman

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Troop G

On January 1, 1957, Troop G began operations with 34 uniformed men. Captain C. W. Hancock commanded the troop which was headquartered in Palatka. Troop G has had seven Troop Commanders. Listed in order, they are: Captains Kenneth D. Sconiers, James T. Prater, Jimmy Hill, Thomas C. Hodges, Alvin P. Edlin, Jr., Majors Thomas A. Sigman, and Grady T. Carrick.

Troop G encompasses the Ocala National Forest, a large segment of the St. Johns River, and Florida's first coast from St. Johns-Flagler County line north to the Florida-Georgia State line.

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Troop H

In March 1957, what had been known as Headquarters Section was officially designated Troop H. Headquarters for Troop H is located in Tallahassee and is headquarters for an eight county area known as "Big Bend." Troop H is comprised of Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla Counties.

The Troop Headquarters building is located at 2100 Mahan Drive and was completed in 1966. The first troop commander was Captain A. D. Cosson, followed by Captains J. P. Cook, Charles W. Saunders, J. M. Roddenberry, James S. McKinnon, Majors Robert L. Bull and David Kelly.

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Troop I

Troop I, the Weights Troop of the Florida Highway Patrol, has its beginning when a group of men were employed by the State Road Department as weight inspectors. In 1934 they were also assigned traffic duties. In 1937 traffic enforcement was abolished, however, a group of these men continued to function as weight inspectors. In 1946, this operation was placed under the Florida Highway Patrol.

In 1957, the Patrol got additional manpower, a pay raise, with starting salaries increasing from $275 a month to $325 a month, and additional rank. On January 1, 1981 the weights division was disband and the officers were given the opportunity to stay or go home. In either case they were assigned to the uniformed division of the Patrol.

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Troop K

Since the Turnpike traveled through several troops, it was decided the cost for patrolling the Turnpike could not be easily established. Moneys reimbursed to the various Troops and their Districts by the Turnpike Authority to handle this function would require tight control. It was decided to logistically patrol the Turnpike there needed to be a separate entity to respond solely to the needs of the Turnpike. In 1956, the Legislature mandated the Turnpike would be patrolled by the Florida Highway Patrol. Those services would be reimbursed through revenue generated by tolls and a new troop was formed, Troop K was designated to Patrol the Sunshine State Parkway.

In October 1956, Captain Clinton E. Taylor became the first troop commander, followed by Captains William R. Kaufman, Ralph Hays, James S. McKinnon, Winthrop A. Vincent, Majors Harvey C. Shoaff, James A. Howell, and Silvester Dawson.

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Troop L

In December 1960, Troop L was formed and headquartered in Palm Beach County. The first commander was Captain J. W. Hagans, succeeded by Captains W. B. Oliver, B. R. Burkett, B. J. Barnett, E. R. Peterson, Majors W. Driggers, and Richard D. Carpenter. The Lantana Station was dedicated in March 1978, to Trooper Herman L. Morris who lost his life in the line of Duty on March 6, 1972.

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Troop M

In 1967, Legislature passed a law requiring mandatory automobile inspections. The Department of Public Safety was designated as the agency to supervise the program. Captain C. C. Reynolds was the first commander of Motor Vehicle Inspection. The Department assigned forty men to Captain Reynolds and on June 1, 1968, the program began. The first motor vehicle inspected was Colonel H. N. Kirkman's, FHP 1 in Tallahassee. It was Troop M's responsibility to supervise the operation of all inspection stations throughout the state. This includes both county operated stations and private stations.

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The Era of the Trooper

In the beginning, while on probation, all members were classified as Patrolmen. When they completed their probation, they were classified as Patrol Officers. That changed in 1952, when the new classification for members on the Patrol was Trooper. Florida's "Finest" was 201 strong.

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Teletype Network

In 1953, a statewide private teletype network was installed by the Florida Highway Patrol, which consisted of two circuits with seven machines on each circuit, providing fourteen terminals throughout the State. This network permitted the sending and receiving of messages between the troops and general headquarters.

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Commercial Driving School

Also in 1953, Colonel Kirkman sent Lieutenant Keith to the State of New York to get all the facts about a commercial driving school administered by the New York State Police. Then Lieutenant Keith worked with Mr. Ralph Odum of the Attorney General's Office and they drafted the legislation for Florida's Commercial Driving School Laws. Florida was the third state to pass such legislation.

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Genial Floridian

Cecil Webb, president of the Dixie Lily Milling Company and former chairman of the State Road Board, knew first-hand what the United States was giving to Europe in post-war aid and recognized that the number of people being killed on our highways each year could be reduced. He presented his idea, that building safer and better public highways for our traveling public, highways which in time of emergencies could be used as military highways, to President Dwight Eisenhower and convinced him that an expenditure of $30,000,000,000 made sense.

Webb's name was not mentioned during congressional debate on the bill which called for $32,900,000,000 over the next 13 years for the construction of 41,000 miles of interstate roads throughout the United States. During Vice-President Richard Nixon's speech no credit was given to Cecil Webb; however, it encompassed Webb's basic plan. The plan called for four-laning and six-laning every primary road set up by the Road Department in each state, an integration of all turnpikes and expressways, an equalization of state and federal contributions in interstate highway construction, better engineered roads, the employment of 1-1/2 to 2 million people, and thousands of miles of top priority highways for the American public in 48 states. These roads, during a military emergency, would provide the armed services and civilian evacuees with the adequate highway facilities they would desperately need.

When the largest federal road-building program in history was passed by the 84th Congress and signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower on June 26, both political parties began claiming credit for the idea. In reality, it was Cecil Webb who set the ball rolling with a personal presentation of his proposal to President Eisenhower. Mr. Webb was a genial Floridian more interested in grits and flour than politics. There is a famous motto which says: 'There is no limit to what a man can accomplish if he doesn't care who gets the credit for it.'

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FHP Auxiliary

In 1954, a meeting was held in Tampa to discuss plans for the formation of the Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary. An act authorizing the Director of the Florida Highway Patrol to establish an Auxiliary composed of volunteers was passed in the 1957 Legislature and signed by Governor Leroy Collins on May 14, 1957. The American Legion was helpful in getting this legislation passed.

The Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary (FHPA) was formed in 1955 in cooperation with the Florida American Legion. An Act authorizing the Auxiliary was approved by Governor Leroy Collins on May 14, 1957.

FHPA is authorized by Chapter 321.24, Florida Statutes. Statewide there are 29 units, within ten field troops, consisting of 396 total members. During the Calendar Year 1997, 416 Members contributed 216,697 volunteer hours assisting the Florida Highway Patrol. Colonel Charles Hall presented awards to 52 members who donated in excess of 1,000 hours and to 5 members who donated in excess of 2,000 hours.

Auxiliary members serve under the direction and supervision of a member of FHP. The primary duties of the Auxiliary are to assist the Florida Highway Patrol in the performance of their regularly constituted duties. This includes the following:

  1. Assisting members of the Florida Highway Patrol in their regularly constituted duties by riding with troopers on patrol.
  2. Assisting communication center duty officer's in their duties.
  3. Operating chemical test equipment to assist troopers in the detection of impaired drivers
  4. Assist in traffic details
  5. Assist in aircraft surveillance operations.
  6. Assist in emergency situations when such action is appropriate. This includes emergency situations such as hurricanes, fires, or other natural disasters.

Applicants for FHPA must meet the same basic standards as applicants for full-time trooper positions. This includes background investigation, physical examination (paid for by the applicant), polygraph and drug screen.

Members of the Auxiliary serve without compensation and provide their own uniforms and firearms.

New Auxiliary members must complete a Basic Training Course which includes firearms, self-defense, a driving course and first aid. This is in accordance with the requirements of the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission. Additionally, members receive on-going field training, within their unit.

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Administrative Uniforms

In 1955, Colonel Kirkman wanted to "show the flag" by providing uniforms to the female dispatchers, clerks and secretaries who also served so well in the Florida Highway Patrol. The complete uniform consisted of a London Fog trench coat, Life Stride low heeled black pumps, and a black shoulder bag. Uniforms were issued until budget restraints caused a phase-out of the uniform in the 1970s.

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Seals on Patrol Vehicles

On January 31, 1956, Governor LeRoy Collins presented to the Cabinet a seal with the Florida flags on it to be adopted by the Cabinet and to be used on all state-owned vehicles. Colonel Kirkman asked for and received permission to reformat the seal for use on the Florida Highway Patrol cars in order to provide a more distinctive appearance. Colonel Kirkman gave the responsibility to Lt. C. W. Keith and he prepared mock-up to Colonel Kirkman. Colonel Kirkman presented it to the Governor and the Cabinet and they approved it on February 7, 1956. This seal is still being used on the FHP vehicles. These seals along with all other seals used on the Patrol's vehicles are on display at the FHP Academy. This information was retrieved from the minutes of the Governor and Cabinet meeting.

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Neil Kirkman Building

After nearly twenty years of cramped quarters, sharing the old Martin Building with the Motor Vehicle Commission, the Department of Public Safety held open house in its new headquarters building in Tallahassee on July 8, 1958. The new headquarters was named the Neil Kirkman Building after the Director of the Department of Public Safety. This building became headquarters for the department with two divisions; Division of Driver Licenses and Florida Highway Patrol.

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The Patrol Marches On

In 1959, the Patrol celebrated its 20th Anniversary. The Patrol had grown from 32 men with very little equipment to a force of 461 well-trained and equipped Troopers.

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Flight Section

In 1959, Colonel H. N. Kirkman, authorized by the State Cabinet, purchased a Cessna 310, a six passenger twin engine aircraft. This aircraft was used for transportation of command personnel of general headquarters staff.

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