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1982 to 1992

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Colonel Bobby R. Burkett

Lt. Colonel Paul B. Taylor
Interim Director
February 1-March 1, 1993

FHP Director Colonel Bobby R. Burkett

On December 14, 1982, Colonel Bobby R. Burkett was appointed Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. Colonel Burkett is a graduate of the 13th recruit class of the Florida Highway Patrol Academy which was conducted January - March 1956.

He served as a Trooper in Bay and Leon Counties and was promoted to Corporal and assigned to Dade County in 1969. Later in that same year he was transferred to the Investigations Section and promoted to the rank of Sergeant Investigator in February 1972.

In 1976, Colonel Burkett was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned as a District Commander in Dade and Monroe Counties. After a tour as an assistant Chief Investigator in GHQ commencing in 1978, he was reassigned as a District Commander for Manatee County, in Bradenton in 1979.

In December 1980, Lieutenant Burkett was promoted to Captain and assigned as Troop Commander for Troop L, Palm Beach County, and from that position in May of 1982, was promoted to Major, Deputy Inspector, and reassigned to General Headquarters in Tallahassee.

He holds a BS Degree in Criminal Justice from the Florida International University and is also a graduate of the FBI Academy. Colonel Burkett is past President of the State Law Enforcement Chiefs Association, Inc., and served as Chairman of the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission. He is also a member of the Florid Police Chiefs Association, the Florida Sheriff's Association, Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of the Chiefs of Police, and serves as a member of the Vehicles Theft Committee. Further, he is a member of the American Association of Motor Vehicles Administrators and serves on the Standing Committee on Police Traffic Services.

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Mustang Patrol Cars

In 1983, the Patrol purchased its first Mustang Patrol Cars. The Mustang's handling was one of its greatest assets. Patrol cars of the past were as fast but did not have the high speed handling capabilities of the Mustang. The vehicle responded well to high speed and low speed curves.

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Drug Interdiction Teams

In December of 1983, the Patrol established the Canine Section. Each trooper and his canine are trained in all aspects of canine work which includes obedience, attack, tracking, and drugs. The primary use of these units is the detection of illegal drugs.

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PR-24 Baton

The Patrol added a new, more versatile baton to its official equipment list; which can be issued to qualified personnel. The PR-24 baton, made of hard, black plastic is an l-shaped swing baton with a handle on the bottom that allows troopers to use a number of pain compliance techniques that the standard, wooden batons are not capable of.

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Computer - Aided Dispatch

Early in the Florida Highway Patrol's history, records were obtained and stored in a very timely and personnel intensive manner. Hand-written radio logs were kept by FHP dispatchers on every radio transmission going through the Patrol's radio room, teletypes sometimes took several hours over mechanical Western Union terminals, and license tag information was hand-searched in volumes of books provided by the local tag offices.

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800 Mega Hertz Radio System

The state's 800 Mega Hertz Radio System was installed in phases. The Pilot System of Phase I, was in Monroe, Dade, and Broward Counties. The first real test occurred during Hurricane Andrew in August 1992. Hurricane Andrew destroyed all telephone service south of Miami and throughout the keys.

Then came the 1994 Presidential Summit of the Americas in Miami and the system provided critical security for hemisphere leaders attending the conference. The system provided additional communications after the Valu-Jet crash in the Everglades and during the Belle Glade prison escapes, Cuban refugee crisis, the money laundering task force, and the recent wild fires in Flagler, Volusia, Brevard and Orange Counties.

The deadly brush fires that swept all 67 counties during the summer of 1998. Followed by Hurricane Georges, the latest unplanned test of the state's 800 Mhz digital communications system.

This system is working in 15 Florida counties along the Atlantic Coast, from Key West in the south to Flagler County in the north and Lake County to the northwest. This represents two of five installation phases that eventually will extend the system to all 67 counties. Those dispatch centers installed as part of Phase II are equipped with Motorola CENTRACOM consoles and currently covers Troops D, E, L and K.

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New Aircraft

On September 1985, Troop K took delivery of a 1985 Cessna 182 retractable gear aircraft to replace a ten (10) year old aircraft. The Cessna 182 was reassigned to Troop H. This is the first single engine retractable gear aircraft every used by the Department for traffic enforcement.

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Chaplaincy Program

The Chaplaincy Program began in early 1985 when Colonel Bobby R. Burkett approved guidelines for selection and responsibility in the Chaplaincy Program.

The goal of the Florida Highway Patrol Chaplaincy Program is to provide a trusted individual in whom all Florida Highway Patrol personnel may confide when seeking guidance in a problem area.

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Motorcycles Return

Motorcycles were once a staple of the Highway Patrol enforcement program and became extinct for a period of time. They are now back and hopefully, here to stay.

The Patrol's new motorcycle section was re-instituted in Miami for traffic enforcement in the latter part of 1985. Their return was brought about largely due to an outbreak of highway robberies occurring on I-95 in Dade County.

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The Comeback Trail

It was before dawn on July 13, 1980, when Simpson stopped on Interstate 4 near the Orange Blossom Trail to help a woman with a disabled car. He parked his cruiser in the emergency lane about 70 feet in front of hers. He got out to help. Another vehicle slammed into him and knocked him more than half the length of a football field. When the first officer arrived on the scene the police advised their supervisors Trooper Carl Simpson was dead and the rest is history. He fought the brave fight to live and after a long battle of endless surgery, he returned to the road. He was also one of the first twenty Troopers to be assigned to the elite motorcycle squad. In 1999, Trooper Carl Simpson is still going strong. He's an avid runner and has the medals and trophies to prove it. Not that any one is counting, but so far, he's received 35 Gold, 34 Silver, 22 Bronze in State Regional, National and International Competition.

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Physical Conditioning Program

The physical fitness program at the FHP Academy took huge strides in 1986 with the acquisition of a new Body Composition Analyzer. This system allows a computer to make individualized physical fitness assessments of a trooper based on a brief fitness tests. Statistics from the fitness test are entered into the computer and a printout is made showing percent of body fat, ideal weight range, lean muscle content, water content, and aerobic capacity. If the individual trooper exceeds the weight and percent of body fat range as recommended an exercise and weight loss program is set up. The Body Composition Analyzer has been of great value for individual troopers to make a personal assessment of their physical condition.

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Pope Paul Visits Miami

In 1987, Pope Paul made a visit to Miami and many of our troopers were assigned to the detail.

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Felony Officer Program

In 1987, under the direction of Colonel Bobby R. Burkett, the Florida Highway Patrol Contraband Interdiction Program, formerly known as "The Felony Officer Program," was established. In the early stage, this program consisted of six felony teams of two troopers each (a felony officer and a canine handler).

The felony teams were assigned to the FHP Investigation Section and were detached from their respective troops. The teams utilized their expertise in the detection and apprehension of motor vehicle drug couriers who utilized Florida roadways to import and export illicit drugs. In 1990 the Felony Officer Program was expanded to a total of 35 teams.

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Project Graduation

In 1988, the Florida Highway Patrol participated in Project Graduation. Lieutenant Jim Lee was actively searching for graduates who are interested in a career in law enforcement.

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Public Information and Education Programs

The Florida Highway Patrol has had several successful public information and education campaigns dealing with major traffic enforcement initiatives since 1989. Almost all of these programs are still ongoing and will be continued indefinitely because of their popularity and because the programs work. Under the direction of Chief Robert M. (Mike) Kirby, several programs were initiated. They are: "Looking Ahead" was started in 1989 with a grant awarded from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to focus traffic safety programs toward elderly drivers and pedestrians. A training video and brochures were developed for both drivers and pedestrians to point out alternatives in the driving habits of the elderly. In 1990, "Speeding Can Wreck Your Day" was launched to address speeding issues. We developed PSAs for television and radio. A training video was also produced to supplement safety presentations to various groups. "DUI . . . Decide Before You Drive" dealt with the problem of changing attitudes about drinking and driving. It was developed in 1991 and had a different approach: "Choices." We developed a common sense series of television and radio PSAs and an instructional video outlining the problems the drinking driver causes and the sanctions involved in DUI convictions. People have "choices." They do not have to drink and drive. In 1992, our third initiative dealt with occupant restraints and was called "Safety Belts, Smart from the Start." This campaign won national recognition for its unique approach to the occupant restraint issue. A series of successful television PSAs, with the premise of being able to "stop action" just before a crash and having the luxury of buckling up, became popular. As we all know in real life, you never know when it's going to happen. If people really knew what the future held . . . they would buckle up.

Chief Public Information Officer

During Colonel Bobby R. Burkett's tenure he retitled the section "Public Information and Recruitment Office" and placed it under the supervision Major Charles C. Hall, followed by Majors Robert M. Kirby, Michael L. Boles and Kenneth C. Howes, Ernesto Duarte, and Captain Mark Welch, Captain Mark Brown and Captain Nancy Rasmussen.

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First Mother and Daughter Team

Theresa E. Allen went to the FHP Academy in 1982 and was assigned to Troop B. Two years later, her daughter Angel L. Allen joined FHP and they became the first mother/daughter team in FHP history. Theresa continued her career with FHP, while daughter Angel eventually became an investigator for another law enforcement agency. Then in 1990, daughter Ann L. (Allen) Hall joined the Patrol.

Trooper Steven C. Compton joined the Patrol in 1978. His first station was Ft. Lauderdale. During his 20 years on the Patrol he has served on the FHP Special Response Teams and was the first assigned helicopter observer.

In 1995, Theresa and Steven were married. In 1997, both Steve and Theresa were promoted to Sergeant and moved to South Florida. Steve was in Troop E and Theresa went to Troop K, Broward County. Not to be left behind, in 1998, daughter Ann was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to Troop E. Steve transferred to Troop K and is at West Palm Beach.

Sergeant Ann Hall has two children, son Michael 18-years old and daughter, Lindsay 16-years. In December, 1998 Angel Allen had a son, James. Perhaps this is the future generation of Troopers in the family.

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Hurricane Andrew Devastates Florida

The Florida Highway Patrol has the responsibility to mobilize 50% of the state law enforcement resources to declared disasters. The FHP enjoys a state, national, and international reputation of being a highly mobile, professional, diverse, and disciplined law enforcement agency that can be mobilized in short notice and provide assistance anywhere in Florida. This was again evidenced during 1998 with floods, wilfires, tornados, and hurricanes.

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Colonel Bobby R. Burkett

In December 1992, Florida Highway Patrol Director Colonel Bobby R. Burkett retired after providing more than thirty years of distinguished service to the Patrol and the citizens of Florida. A nationwide search was instituted for a replacement to guide this agency into 21st century law enforcement.

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Lieutenant Colonel Paul B. Taylor

Lieutenant Colonel Paul B. Taylor was named Interim Director of the Florida Highway Patrol until Director Colonel Ronald H. Grimming was selected to lead the largest state law enforcement agency.

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