picture of Norm Ratcliffe

Norm Ratcliffe

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Bio & Collection

picture of Raquel Ratcliffe

Raquel Ratcliffe

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Bio & Portfolio

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This website showcases the history of license plate issuance for all the State Police and Highway Patrol agencies in the United States of America from the earliest days of motoring to the current century. Created by hobbyists Norm Ratcliffe and Allan Cooper in March of 2006, this website has grown from an informal idea to the world's largest single repository of police motor vehicle registration plate information.

The formation of many of America's state law enforcement agencies took place at the same time as the formation of America's car culture. Police patrol went from horseback to horseless carriage in a very short time at the beginning of the 20th Century where many agencies were getting started out of the gate with tackling new motor laws.

State police and highway patrol agencies began to obtain motorcycles and patrol cars and found ways to make them stand apart from the burgeoning number of civilian motor vehicles on the road. To ensure that their vehicles appeared to evoke the same air of authority as their officers, many agencies equipped them with the "uniform" of livery and the "badge" of the license plate. This website delves as far back as records go and examples exist of these "badges" worn on the bumpers and fenders which carried state troopers in their duties from coast to coast and decade to decade.

While many of the badges and patches of those earliest enforcers of state law have been preserved and showcased, the license plates of their "mechanical partners" were rarely retained or preserved.
This makes this segment of law enforcement collectibles so deeply challenging and interesting. It is a segment of law enforcement collectibles that has been in "low light" for a long time, but has seen a surge of interest lately as many of these agencies celebrate their milestone anniversaries with special and distinctive license plates for their marked patrol vehicles.

We welcome you to browse the information of the agencies that interest you the most and explore those you may not have considered. The page of each agency is formatted from oldest to newest and where possible, features a period photo of the patrol vehicle of the time. This website has only been successful as a result of YOU! You the visitor who becomes a contributor of photos and information for which we are missing. We always make sure to provide proper credit to those who have contributed, and if any credit is missing, please notify either one of us to give our contributors their due. ~ Come on in and Enjoy !