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Florida Highway Patrol

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Florida Highway Patrol
Abbreviation FHP
Florida Highway Patrol.png
Patch of the Florida Highway Patrol
Florida Highway Patrol logo (emblem).jpg
Logo of the Florida Highway Patrol
Florida Highway Patrol badge Major 240 Color.jpg
Badge of the Florida Highway Patrol
Motto Courtesy, Service, Protection
Agency overview
Formed 1939
Preceding agency State Road Department
Employees 2,280[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of Florida, USA
Map of Florida Highway Patrol's jurisdiction.
Size 65,795 square miles (170,410 km2)
Population 19,317,568 (2012 est.)[2]
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction Highways, roads, and-or traffic.
Operational structure
Headquarters Tallahassee, Florida
State Troopers 1,779 (as of 2007)
Civilians 501 (as of 2007)
Agency executive Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director
Parent agency Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is a division of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the law enforcement agency charged with ensuring the safety of the highways and roads of the state.


The Department of Public Safety was created in 1939 and later in 1970 was reorganized and renamed the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. On November 21, 1930, at the request of the Chairman of the State Road Department (Florida Attorney General Cary D. Landis) to Governor Doyle E. Carlton, ruled it shall be the duty of the State Road Department to maintain the state roads and enforce the laws enacted to preserve its physical structure. The road department hired 12 weight inspectors who were placed under the supervision of the division engineers because of the ruling. This was the beginning of state law enforcement in Florida.

In January 1934, a Division of Traffic Enforcement was created as a result of an Attorney General's opinion indicating the division could enforce the motor vehicles laws. As a result, E. A. Shurman was appointed Traffic Inspector. The division was given a distinctive military style uniform, forest green in color.

In July 1936, Chairman C. B. Treadway appointed retired Army Major H. Neil Kirkman, Chief of the State Road Department's Traffic Division due to his experience in the Armed Forces associated with traffic and his background in engineering. Army Major Kirkman was the engineer supervising the construction of the Palatka Memorial Bridge over the St. Johns River.

When Fred P. Cone was elected Governor in 1937, as an economic move, he abolished the traffic enforcement division of the State Road Department.

The American Legion and the Jaycees strongly supported the idea of establishing a highway patrol to serve the needs of the motoring public. Richard (Dick) W. Ervin was the attorney for the State Road Department and his supervisor was Arthur B. Hale, Governor Cone's Chairman of the State Road Department.

In 1939, the Florida Legislature created the State Department of Public Safety with two divisions; the Florida Highway Patrol and the Division of State Motor Vehicle Drivers Licenses, under the control of Governor Fred P. Cone and Chairman of the State Road Department, Arthur B. Hale.

The legislation authorized 60 officers to patrol the public highways and to enforce all State laws in effect, or hereinafter enacted, regulating and governing traffic, travel and public safety upon the public highways, and providing penalties for violations thereof, including the operation, regulation and licensing of motor vehicles and drivers thereof, and other vehicles thereon, with full police power to bear arms and to arrest persons violating said laws. The beginning salary was $1,500 per year for a highway patrolmen and each year thereafter the salary would be increased $120 a year until a maximum of $2,000 a year was reached.

Funds for the operation of the Department were to come from the sale of driver licenses.

Director of the Department of Public Safety[edit]

In September 1939, W. F. Reid was appointed Director of the Department of Public Safety by Governor Fred Cone and the Chairman of the State Road Department.

On October 1, 1939, H. Neil Kirkman was appointed as the first Commander of the Florida Highway Patrol. Colonel Kirkman was originally from Greensboro, North Carolina but considered Palatka, Florida his home. He entered the United States Army as a Private in 1917 and was discharged as a First Lieutenant. He was a charter member of the American Legion and served as State Commander of the American Legion during 1922–1923. He worked in the construction business for many years, particularly in building bridges such as the Memorial Bridge at Palatka and the Clearwater Causeway Bridge. Colonel Kirkman laid the groundwork for what has become the motto of the Florida Highway Patrol: "Service, Courtesy, Protection".

The first uniform[edit]

In 1939, the uniform color for the Florida Highway Patrol was forest green. The forest green whipcord blouse had orange piping around the epaulets and shirt pockets with silver buttons carrying the State seal. There was an orange and blue shoulder patch on the left shoulder, with silver collar ornaments - FHP on the left lapel and a wheel with wings attached to each side on the right lapel signifying traffic. There was a badge, chain and whistle. The shirt was forest green with orange piping around the epaulets and shirt pockets. Trousers were forest green with 1½" black stripe. Shoes were black. In addition, each trooper was issued two pair of riding britches with 1½" black stripe and a pair of black boots for winter dress.

The collar ornament design is a wing and wheel similar to the insignia that appears on the Ohio State Highway Patrol cars today. The original insignias had a broken spoke in the wheel which is the origin of the Broken Spoke Club.

A black Sam Browne belt, 3" wide, with handcuff case, cartridge clip, and a swivel or swing holster carrying a .38 caliber Colt revolver on the right side, with a shoulder strap to support the revolver and other equipment, completed the body uniform.

The first beige Stetson, or "Campaign", hats purchased for the Patrol in 1939, were $12.50 each. The hat, was the Stetson 3X Beaver, with a 1½" orange hat band and a thin, 32" long, tan leather head strap to hold the hat in place. Before the turn of the century the Stetson 3X Beaver, as its name implies, was made from genuine beaver pelt; however, it is not known what type of fur, if any, our original Stetsons were made from.

The uniform of the FHP and its ornaments originated with the military. The Patrol's Stetson hat had first appeared during the civil war, was beige in color, rounded on top instead of creased down the middle, and was worn by the officers of the Union Forces. Confederate Forces also wore the same hat but gray in color.

First training school[edit]

In November, 1939, the first training school was held in Bradenton, Florida, with 40 recruits. The school was directed by Captain George Mingle of the Ohio Highway Patrol, a personal friend of Colonel Kirkman. Thirty-two recruits graduated and became troopers. Twenty troopers were issued specially equipped Ford motor vehicles and twelve were assigned Model 84 Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

On December 12, 1939, "Fourteen Special Autos" arrived in Bradenton for patrol use. The black and cream, two-door Ford Coaches were equipped with sirens and bulletproof windshields.

At this time the Patrol had no radio communication. Troopers would make regular stops at service stations or grocery stores along their routes to call in for assignments, reports of wrecks, and messages.

By the end of 1940, the first full year of operation, the Florida Highway Patrol had 59 officers. The State was divided into three divisions: Northern, Central and Southern. The commanding officer of each division was a Lieutenant. Since there were no district offices, all the records were kept in Tallahassee and each trooper was responsible for mailing his daily reports to Tallahassee.

The first year of activity included: 154,829 hours of patrol time, 1,000 accidents investigated, 29,860 hours at the station, 127 motorists killed, 1,938,564 miles (3,119,816 km) patrolled, 1,132 persons injured and 4,836 motorists arrested.

The 1941 legislature increased the authorized strength of the Patrol to 190 officers and the pay increased to $150 per month. In the fall, the State Road Department supplied the Division Commanders an office in their district; the Northern District was Lake City, the Central District was Bartow and the Southern District was Ft. Lauderdale.

In 1948, Florida received national recognition for its driver license program from the National Safety Council.

Patrol uniform[edit]

During Director Gilliam's administration, World War II was in progress and textile mills were using all green wool for military uniforms. Mr. Gilliam selected the army officers' purple material for the uniform trousers and britches. In 1943, the Patrol's uniform blouse was olive drab whipcord with silver buttons bearing the state seal, a patch on the left shoulder (the orange emblem with the word "Florida" spelled out), silver collar ornament "F.H.P." on the left lapel and the "Winged Wheel" ornament on the right, signifying traffic. A badge, chain, whistle, army pink trousers with a 1-inch (25 mm) black stripe from waist to hem, black riding britches, and one pair of black plain-toed riding boots completed the uniform. Instructions were to wear riding britches and boots on each Friday, Saturday and Sunday until the forest green uniforms were phased out. Also, part of the uniform was the graphite blue Stetson hat, Sam Browne 3" gun belt, plus handcuff and cartridge cases.

Radio communication system[edit]

The Florida Highway Patrol radio communications system began operating in 1943. Mr. Earl Burchard installed the communication system from Motorola. Beginning in Bartow, headquarters for the Central Division.[citation needed]

By the end of 1944, there were 13 stations statewide in operation with mobile units in all the patrol cars. Monitoring services with the larger police departments were provided. Communication was established with Georgia and Alabama by placing receivers in stations along the borders, which proved very beneficial for all three states.[citation needed]

War and the Patrol[edit]

When World War II erupted in Europe, many troopers enlisted. Other troopers were called up for defense work. Because of the war, it was hard to get and keep patrol officers. The patrol's sworn officers were down to 100 and were kept busy escorting military convoys, including gasoline tankers filled with fuel for military installations, and patrolling Florida's 1,197 statute miles of coastline looking for illegal aliens trying to slip ashore. The patrol, working closely with the army's and the marine corps' military police and the navy's shore patrol, was spread thin during these war years.[citation needed]

In April 1942, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, aided by the Florida Highway Patrol, launched a series of raids on Florida's east coast. They entered 67 homes of German and Italian nationals, seized guns, ammunition, dynamite, caps, fuses, and radio receivers. Some of the persons captured were classified by the FBI as dangerous. Throughout the war, patrolmen aided in the search and apprehension of escaped prisoners of war.[citation needed]

Post war[edit]

In the spring of 1951, the Patrol's use of a single shoulder patch on the right shoulder was adopted by every highway patrol and state police organization in the United States. 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.

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.

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.

Teletype network and into the modern era[edit]

In 1953, a statewide private Teletype network was installed by the 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.[citation needed]

The Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary (FHPA) was formed in 1955 in cooperation with the Florida American Legion. An act authorizing the auxiliary was approved on May 14, 1957.[citation needed]

In 1962, the FHP initiated the use of aircraft for traffic law enforcement with two Piper aircraft.[citation needed]

In 1964, civil rights demonstrations began in St. Augustine. The patrol was sent by the Governor to assist local law enforcement. Mobs were meeting in open conflict and shots were being fired into homes and automobiles. During 15 days of rioting, 306 persons were arrested and a large number of weapons were confiscated.[citation needed]

On July 1, 1965, Florida became one of the first states to use blue emergency lights on its official patrol cars. The use of blue lights was restricted to the Florida Highway Patrol and other police vehicles.[citation needed]

Florida's voters revised the Florida Constitution in the November election and governmental reorganization took place on July 1, 1969. Florida had 125 state agencies. At the end of reorganization, Florida had 25. Many agencies were merged, including the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Public Safety which formed the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The new department consisted of four divisions; Florida Highway Patrol, Driver License, Motor Vehicles and Administrative Services.[citation needed]

On July 1, 1971, Joe Willie DeCoursey was the first African-American member of the Florida Highway Patrol. He reported to the FHP Training Academy on July 4, 1971.[citation needed]

In 1972, a special task force of 225 troopers was trained and equipped for crowd control and sent to Miami Beach for both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. State forces arrested approximately 1,000 demonstrators and during the last day of the convention activity, approximately 25 FHP personnel required medical attention.[citation needed]

Patricia Phillips was the first female FHP trooper. She started on October 17, 1977.[citation needed]

An FHP B4C Camaro.

In 1983, the patrol purchased its first Ford Mustang patrol cars. 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. In 2002 the patrol purchased 200 Chevrolet Camaro patrol cars with new low profile Whelen light bars, each trooper issued the high performance patrol car must complete a five-hour familiarization class on the handling, braking and acceleration of the 310 horsepower (230 kW) vehicle.[citation needed]

In 1998, Florida ranked fourth in population with an estimated 14,720,385 people. An influx of approximately 450 people per day or 160,200 people per year migrates to Florida according to the University of Florida's report on sustaining Florida's resources.[citation needed]

In 2001, the FHP was heavily criticized by a St. Petersburg Times article ("The Lost Patrol") that depicted the agency as understaffed and poorly managed. The report has led to changes at the agency.[3]

In 2006, the decision was made to transition from the trademark blue and white light bars to red and blue LED lightbars in order to improve both day and night visibility.[citation needed]

The Office of Motor Carrier Compliance officially transitioned from the Florida Department of Transportation to the Florida Highway Patrol division of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles on July 1, 2011.[4] The consolidation is a result of Senate Bill 2160, passed by lawmakers during the 2011 Legislative Session, and places the commercial vehicle licensing, registrations, fuel permits, and enforcement all under the purview of DHSMV.[citation needed]

Prior and Recent Directors[edit]

After serving four years as the FHP Director, Colonel David H. Brierton retired from a long career with FHP in May 2015.

In August 2015, DHSMV Executive Director Terry Rhodes appointed then Troop Commander Gene Spaulding to the position of Director and 14th Colonel of FHP. At the time of appointment, Colonel Spaulding brought more than 22 years of FHP knowledge and experience to the position. Colonel Spaulding graduated from the 87th Basic Recruit Class in May 1993. Since then, he served in five Troops throughout the state beginning in Troop K (Florida's Turnpike) before transferring to Troop G. He promoted to Sergeant in 1997, moving to Troop D in 2000. In 2001, he was promoted to Lieutenant in Troop Q, Bureau of Investigations before transferring back to Troop G as a District Lieutenant. In 2005, Colonel Spaulding was promoted to Captain. He was promoted to Troop Commander in 2010 serving in Troop B. Most recently, he has served as Troop G’s Commander since 2014.


The Florida Highway Patrol enforces motor vehicle and commercial vehicle laws and is charged with investigating motor vehicle accidents that occur on the state's Interstate highways and on all roadways within unincorporated areas of the state.[5]

In practice, the FHP's responsibility to investigate accidents in unincorporated areas of the state varies based on the policies and procedures of each county's Sheriff's office; most county sheriff's offices will investigate certain crashes in lieu of the Patrol, with some (like Broward), investigating the majority of crashes within its unincorporated area.[6] Other sheriff's offices, such as Orange, Escambia and those in rural counties leave unincorporated area crash investigations entirely to the FHP.[7]


The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is a state government agency which reports to the governor of Florida and the Florida Cabinet. The DHSMV is headquartered at the Neil Kirkman Building in Tallahassee, the state capital. Terry Rhodes is the executive director of DHSMV. Diana Vaughn is deputy executive director.

The director of the Florida Highway Patrol holds the rank of colonel. The organization has six bureaus:

  • Bureau of Field Operations North and West (troops A, B, C, F, and H)
  • Bureau of Field Operations South and East (troops D, E, G, K and L);
  • Bureau of Special Operations (training and leadership, program planning, fleet and property, accreditation and policy, aviation, employee selection, recruitment, background investigation, polygraph, and budget)
  • Bureau of Law Enforcement Support Services (EOC/domestic security, communications, lieutenant governor aide-de-camp, inspections, Auxiliary and Reserve, technology and communications, contraband interdiction, and traffic homicide)
  • Bureau of Motor Carrier Compliance (commercial vehicle safety inspections)
  • Bureau of Investigations.

The Bureau of Investigations is commanded by a major, while the other four bureaus are each commanded by a deputy director, a lieutenant colonel. Nine field troops are commanded by personnel with the rank of major, which are divided by regions geographically located across the state. A tenth troop handles the Florida Turnpike operations.

Troops are subdivided into 30 district headquarters, each commanded by a captain. Florida Highway Patrol officers are called State Troopers (not Highway Patrolmen, as in some states).

The FHP and its troopers are state law enforcement officers (LEOs), and as such are considered police officers. They have the power to enforce Florida state law and make arrests. Still, they are not state police: the Florida Constitution stipulates that the chief law enforcement officer of a Florida county is that county's sheriff.

The function of the FHP is to the safety of State Roads, U.S. Highways, and Interstate Highways in Florida. Florida has an investigative department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, analogous to the FBI.

In addition to the FHP, Florida's highways were patrolled by the Florida Department of Transportation's Office of Motor Carrier Compliance (MCCO), a state law enforcement agency responsible for commercial vehicle laws in the state. As of July 1, 2011, the Office of Motor Carrier Compliance officially transitioned from the Florida Department of Transportation to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Division of the Florida Highway Patrol as a bureau. The consolidation is a result of Senate Bill 2160, passed by lawmakers during the 2011 Legislative Session, and places the commercial vehicle licensing, registrations, fuel permits, and enforcement all under the purview of DHSMV.

The FHP was created in 1939 with 60 uniformed officers.

There have been 41 state troopers killed in the line of duty since its founding: 19 died by gunshot, 17 in automobile crashes, five in aircraft crashes, and one in an explosion. The authorized strength of the FHP is 2360: 1813 sworn, 547 non-sworn.

The FHP Reserve consists of 110 volunteer members who have the authority to bear arms and make arrests but receive no compensation.

The FHP Auxiliary consists of 500 volunteer members who are armed and wear similar but distinctive uniforms. They assist troopers throughout the state. They have the authority to bear arms and the power to arrest violators while under the direct supervision of, or are in radio or telephone contact with a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper. They receive no compensation for their duties assisting the patrol.

Ranks and insignia[edit]

Rank Insignia
Colonel Gold.png
Lieutenant Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
Captain insignia gold.svg
US-O1 insignia.svg
FL - Highway Patrol Sergeant.png
Corporal/Traffic Homicide Investigator
FL - Highway Patrol Corporal.png
Trooper/Auxiliary Trooper



  • Investigations:
    • One Chief of Investigations
    • Four Captains (three Captains are regional commanders over the Northern, Central and Southern Regions)
    • Twenty-seven Lieutenants
    • Ten Sergeants
    • Three Corporals
    • Nine Troopers.
Details: There are 54 sworn and 11 non-sworn personnel assigned to the Bureau of Investigations. These officers conduct investigations on auto theft, driver license theft and fraud, title fraud, odometer fraud, and other criminal activities statewide. During fiscal year 2000/2001, 153 stolen vehicles, valued at $2,414,664, were recovered; 13 vehicles valued at $94,500 were seized; 289 warrants were issued; and 174 arrests for criminal activity were made. The Bureau also conducted 63 professional compliance cases, 954 criminal Investigations, 26 division cases and 19 internal review cases for other divisions within the department.
  • Public Information/Safety Education:
    • One Major
    • Twelve Lieutenants
  • Recruitment:
    • One Captain (assigned as Chief Recruitment Officer and responsible for coordinating the recruitment program)
    • Six Regional Recruitment Officers (stationed throughout the state)
  • Background/Selection:
    • One Lieutenant (Chief Background Investigator)
    • One Sergeant (Assistant Chief Background Investigator)
Details: Thirteen full-time background investigators are assigned throughout the state assisted by FHP personnel in their local troop as needed. This section is responsible for all pre-employment testing and screening of all applicants for the positions of state trooper and community service officer. This screening consists of pre-employment written testing, physical abilities testing, polygraph, eye examination, physical examination, psychological screening, background investigation and drug screening. This section is also charged with the responsibility of handling requests for assistance from other law enforcement agencies throughout the country in conducting background investigations on applicants with their agency.
  • Inspections:
    • One Chief (incl. a staff assistant)
    • Three Inspectors (with rank of Captain)
    • One Captain and one Lieutenant (responsible for the Grants, Accreditation, and Policy (GAP) Section)
Details: The Office of Inspections, established in 1995, is responsible to the Director and represents his office while conducting staff inspections throughout the Patrol. GAP is responsible for the Division's Policy development and management, is the Accreditation Manager for the Florida (CFA) and National (CALEA) Accreditation programs and manages the Division's financial grant acquisitions. Additionally, a total of seventeen Inspectors-in-Place (IIP) representing all ten Troops and GHQ, formally trained, assist the permanent Inspectors on a need basis during the staff inspection of field and GHQ units.
  • Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary
    • The FHP currently has about 500 volunteer auxiliary troopers. They are state-certified to augment regular trooper duties. They also provide security to public events, can be called upon for assistance in times of emergency or natural disaster, and take part in most FHP functions.
  • Motor Carrier Compliance

Formerly Florida Department of Transportation-Office of Motor Carrier Compliance (MCCO)-Commercial Vehicle Enforcement:

Otherwise known as Florida’s commercial vehicle enforcement agency, headed by its director, Colonel David Dees, MCCO mainly comprises sworn law enforcement officers and civilian weight inspectors. Similar to state troopers, MCCO officers are certified (e.g. police academy trained), armed and have full statewide law enforcement authority including powers of arrest. Primary duties include but are not limited to:

Issuing traffic citations pursuant to state motor vehicle laws Reviewing operator logbooks and inspecting their vehicles to ensure they are in compliance with FDOT and US DOT regulations Verifying operator possesses valid CDL and hazardous materials permit (if applicable) Providing supplemental support to local law enforcement agencies during emergency situations Although their primary focus is on commercial vehicles, MCCO officers can (and will) stop non-commercial drivers when serious infractions are observed.

The Office of Motor Carrier Compliance officially transitioned from the Florida Department of Transportation to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Division of the Florida Highway Patrol on July 1, 2011. The consolidation is a result of Senate Bill 2160, passed by lawmakers during the 2011 Legislative Session, and places the commercial vehicle licensing, registrations, fuel permits, and enforcement all under the purview of DHSMV.

Motor Carrier Compliance officers will be “troopers”. Motor Carrier Compliance troopers’ uniforms will include the FHP patch beginning July 1. MCC troopers also will wear a Florida Highway Patrol badge. They will continue to perform commercial vehicle safety inspections and to weigh commercial vehicles with portable scales at various locations around the state, in addition to FDOT weigh stations on Florida’s highways. Motor Carrier Compliance vehicles will replace the FDOT seal with the FHP seal on door panels. The vehicles will bear the FHP license plates, too. Through attrition, motorists will eventually see more FHP black and tan vehicles patrolling Florida roadways.

Special units[edit]

A state trooper supervising the cleanup of a traffic accident in Troop C.
  • The Traffic Homicide Investigations Unit was created in 1967 to meet the Florida Highway Patrol's need for comprehensive investigation into the circumstances resulting in all traffic-related deaths in Florida. The unit consists of 168 full-time investigators, divided into 23 squads statewide. According to the FHP during the period of July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2001, the Patrol investigated 1,728 fatal traffic crashes.
  • The Drug Interdiction Program includes advanced training of all sworn personnel in drug identification and use detection as well as search and seizure laws, use of FHP Aircraft for observation of marijuana fields during routine flight duties; drug detection canines; drug interdiction teams; and utilization of fiber optic scopes to locate concealed compartments.
  • The Drug Interdiction Teams are 20 felony teams, with 50 specially trained troopers designated as felony officers and canine handlers. Each felony team consists of two troopers and one canine, and is assigned to patrol the Interstate Highway System and other major highways throughout the state in order to interdict drug trafficking. Currently, the interdiction program has 31 dogs, 11 fiber optic scopes, and 22 BUSTER drug detection devices.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol Flight Section pilots flew 3481.8 total flight hours during FY 00/001 (July 2000 to June 2001). Of these total flight hours, 1721.9 were flown over speed check zones producing 30,967 arrests. This is an average of 18.0 arrests per hour. The total cost to operate these aircraft during FY 00/01 was $212,472.14, with an average of $61.02 per hour. The total revenue generated by the aircraft was $3,870,875.00, an average of $125.00 per citation.
  • The Armored Personnel Carriers are three armored personnel carriers that were acquired by the Florida Highway Patrol from the Department of Management Services, Bureau of Federal Property Assistance in November 1998. The fully functional units were acquired for a total of $1500. These military surplus V-150 carriers have been re-painted courtesy of the Apalachee Correctional Institution at an average cost of $260.34 per unit, and now display the Florida Highway Patrol colors and seal. The units are strategically placed throughout the state—one each in Troop D (Orlando), Troop E (Miami), and Troop G (Jacksonville)—as a means of providing support in the case of high-risk emergency situations.
  • The patrol's three Mobile Command Units are stationed in Jacksonville (Troop G), Orlando (Troop D), and Miami (Troop E). On February 3, 1999, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority leased a 1986 surplus bus to the FHP for $1 a year. This vehicle was painted by the JTA in FHP's color scheme, complete with decals and lettering, and is used as a mobile command center for natural disasters and other emergencies in north Florida. The Patrol was responsible for outfitting the bus interior with appropriate communications and other support systems. The Broward County Transit Authority entered into a similar partnership with Dade County FHP. Troop E's Mobile Command Center came into service in 1997. The bus was donated by the Broward County Transit Department. The equipment used in the conversion was mostly donated. Bell South donated the wiring and phone system, and South Florida I.M.P.A.C.T. donated the money to purchase the many other items such as computers and printers needed to equip this mobile command center. The total cost was approximately $60,000.00 dollars. In 2000, Troop D's command center was ready to help with special details and emergencies that arise in the central region of the state. The 1990 VanHool Bus was confiscated in the panhandle after it was found to have been used to transport drugs such as pot, heroin and crack. This command post is utilized in coordinating special details such as Black College Reunion, Bike Week, and Race Week.
  • Civilian Community Service Officers are stationed in the Tampa Bay area and the Orlando area, with 14 in Hillsborough County, 14 in Pinellas County and four in Orange County. These non-sworn officer positions are responsible for responding to, and investigating minor crashes where there are no criminal charges involved, and providing assistance to stranded motorists. Community Service Officers are not armed, nor do they have any arrest authority. They wear a distinctive colored uniform, which consists of a white shirt with FHP patches and black trousers. As of Feb. 23rd 2010 they were all brought into Troop C headquarters and told they would be out of a job in September, the program is officially over.
  • Reaction Force teams provide rapid assistance to areas of the state affected by hurricanes or other natural disasters, the Patrol has Reaction Force Teams. These teams are deployed to disaster areas. There are eight teams, each consisting of one lieutenant, three sergeants and 21 troopers or corporals for a total of 25.
  • Motorcycle squads include 47 motorcycles for traffic enforcement and crash investigations. Ten motorcycles are assigned to Troop C (Tampa) and 11 each are assigned to Dade, Duval, Orange,and Palm Beach counties.
  • The five Tactical Response Teams (TRT), similar to SWAT, consisting of members specially trained in crowd control, weapons, tactical maneuvers, building searches, service of arrest warrants, and other special techniques.

Aggressive Driving Enforcement[edit]

In response to the growing problem of "Aggressive Driving", the Florida Highway Patrol launched a selective traffic enforcement campaign in South Florida called "Eye on 95". The program was piloted in Miami-Dade (Miami metro) and Broward (Ft. Lauderdale) counties using two confiscated Jeep Grand Cherokees equipped with grant-funded in-car video equipment, radar, laser, and other speed measuring devices. The Jeeps are designated as observation vehicles, and work with second vehicles that are standard issue marked or unmarked Florida Highway Patrol cars. These vehicles are designated as the enforcement vehicles, and are utilized to overtake the violator upon receiving information from the observation vehicle. The enforcement vehicle conducts the traffic stop of the violator and takes enforcement action for the team. As a result of this successful pilot project, similar aggressive driving enforcement programs have been developed in all other areas of the state.


As of 2000, the FHP's demographics were:


  • Male: 90%
  • Female: 10%


  • White: 75%
  • African American/Black: 14%
  • Hispanic: 10%
  • Asian: 1%


FHP vehicle paint scheme[edit]

The paint scheme of black and tan (cream) has no correlation with the road color or the grass color. The traditional paint scheme is unique to the FHP and has been the color of the cars as long as the FHP has utilized patrol vehicles. The paint adds $657 to the purchase of each vehicle. Prior to sale, the patrol defaces the cars so that they cannot be misconstrued as official law enforcement vehicles. The defaced, two-tone paint deflates each car's resale value by approximately $400.

It is a misdemeanor in Florida to operate a car in the colors of the FHP.

Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary[edit]

The Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary is a group of volunteers, who serve the Highway Patrol and assist Florida State Troopers in performing the duties and responsibilities of law enforcement. The Auxiliary is authorized by Florida State Statute Chapter 321.24. It is overseen by a Lieutenant Colonel of the Florida Highway Patrol that acts as auxiliary coordinator. Each unit of the auxiliary is supervised by a state trooper who comes under the purview of the troop commander of each troop. Auxiliary members are Florida certified auxiliary law enforcement officers and have the authority to bear arms and the power to arrest violators while under the direct supervision of or are in radio/telephone contact with a Florida Highway Patrol trooper.

Auxiliary duties include: patrolling the streets and highways of the state, participating in vehicle equipment and license checkpoints, operating the Florida Highway Patrol Breath Alcohol Testing Unit (BAT mobile), and participating in specialized details relevant to traffic related matter.

Slain officers[edit]

Name Date Notes
Luther Paul Daniel 5 December 1941 Gunshot
Leroy Bender 25 October 1947 Vehicular assault
Haley Strickland 8 January 1954 Car pursuit
Eugene Gasque 26 October 1961 Gunshot
Sherman Scott 3 January 1965 Gunshot
Owen Bender 9 September 1965 Automobile accident
Joseph Sawtell 22 September 1967 Automobile accident
Joseph Bertrand 22 December 1967 Gunshot
John Hagerty 18 March 1970 Airplane accident
Herman Morris 16 March 1972 Automobile accident
Charles Parks 6 February 1973 Gunshot
Claude Baker 17 November 1973 Gunshot
Ronald Smith 23 December 1973 Gunshot
Wilburn Kelly 23 March 1974 Automobile accident
Charles Campbell 16 November 1974 Gunshot
Kenneth Flynt 1 January 1976 Gunshot
Phillip Black 20 February 1976 Gunshot
Richard Howell 2 August 1976 Car Pursuit
Bradley Glascock 4 August 1977 Gunshot
Elmer Barnett 14 February 1978 Automobile accident
Alvin Kohler 19 September 1978 Gunshot
Robert McDermon 11 April 1981 Gunshot
Merle Cook 13 July 1981 Aircraft accident
Cleo Tomlinson 13 July 1981 Aircraft accident
Frederick Groves 18 September 1984 Gunshot
Lindell Gibbons 23 March 1985 Car pursuit
John Baxter 2 October 1985 Aircraft accident
Stephen Rouse 28 March 1987 Automobile accident
Jeffrey Young 18 August 1987 Gunshot
Milan Hendrix 1 JUne 1989 Automobile accident
Benedict Thomas 9 June 1989 Automobile accident
James Fulford 1 February 1992 Bomb
Kimberly Hurd 16 June 1992 Vehicular assault
Saxton Jones 1 May 1995 Accidental gunshot
Donald Jennings 30 June 1995 Automobile accident
Robert Smith 26 June 1997 Vehicular assault
James Bradford-Jean Crooks 19 May 1998 Gunshot
George "Andy" Brown III 27 April 2004 Vehicular assault
Darryl Haywood 2 October 2004 Car Pursuit
Nicholas Sottile 12 January 2007 Gunshot
Patrick Ambrose 15 May 2010 Automobile accident
William Dyer III 15 May 2010 Automobile accident
Chelsea Richard 3 May 2014 Automobile accident


See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2004 Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies
  2. ^ 2012 U. S. Census Bureau Population Estimate, Florida
  3. ^ State: The Lost Patrol
  4. ^ "Motor Carrier Compliance officers become 'troopers' July 1" (PDF) (Press release). Florida Highway Patrol. June 29, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  5. ^ Jurisdiction of the Florida Highway Patrol
  6. ^ Jurisdiction of the Florida Highway Patrol, pages 8 and 28.
  7. ^ Jurisdiction of the Florida Highway Patrol, pages 8 and 28.
  8. ^ Rank Structure
  9. ^ Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics, 2000: Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers
  10. ^ Officer Down Memorial Page accessed 2 July 2014

External links[edit]