Alaska State Troopers


In 1941 the Alaska Territorial Legislature established the Territory of Alaska Highway Patrol for the purpose of enforcing the traffic code - but did not provide the new organization with police authority. In 1945, the members of the Alaska Highway Patrol were deputized as Special Deputy U.S. Marshals. In 1948 the Highway Patrol was given the full authority of peace officers to enforce the laws of the Territory.

In 1953, the Territorial Legislature established the Alaska Territorial Police to provide law enforcement services for the entire Territory. In 1959, the name of Alaska's law enforcement agency was changed to the Alaska State Police and the organization became a division of the Department of Public Safety. The new State Police added 13 former U.S. Marshals and 10 new recruits to their ranks, increasing their number to 78 commissioned officers.

In 1967, the name was changed to the Alaska State Troopers. Today, the Alaska State Troopers number approximately 240 commissioned and 190 civilian personnel. The Troopers' major components are five Detachments and a Criminal Investigation Bureau (founded in 1971). The detachments are headquartered in Ketchikan, Palmer, Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Soldotna.

State Flag

Alaska adopted the flag for official state use in 1959.
The blue field represents the sky, the sea, and mountain lakes,
as well as Alaska's wildflowers. Emblazoned on the flag are
eight gold stars: seven from the constellation Ursa Major,
or the Big Dipper. The eighth being the North Star,
representing the northern most state. Alaska's flag
was designed in 1926 by a 13-year-old Native American boy,
Bennie Benson, from the village of Chignik. Bennie received
a 1,000-dollar scholarship and a watch for his winning
entry in the flag design contest.

LICENSE PLATES OF THE ALASKA HIGHWAY PATROL/STATE POLICE/STATE TROOPERS

Back in the early days, The Alaska Highway Patrol never really required license plates to be run on their patrol vehicles, but as early as 1946, they began using "All Zeros" sample plates on the front and rear of AHP cars. The 1946 and 1947 plates measured 8 5/8"x 5.5" and were made of compressed soybeans, These soybean plates were made in Illinois as part of the continued efforts to conserve metal during and shortly after World War II. These plates were flat-painted and were not made with durability or longevity in mind. In 1948, Alaska resumed local production of embossed license plates, albeit aluminum as opposed to the Pre-war steel plates.

The AHP continued with sample plates on their patrol vehicles for the next few years. These "5 Zeros" plates measured 12"x 5.5" and had the territorial flag of Alaska embossed on the left side of the plate ahead of the zeroes. The 1950, 1951 and 1952 plates were made of embossed steel, and aluminum was chosen again from 1953 until now. These "5 Zeros" sample plates were used annually on AHP and later Alaska Territorial Police (ATP) patrol cars until 1955. The 1954 and 1955 issues had validation tabs affixed into the slots of the 1953 base plate. The 1954 tab was red over white, and the 1955 tab was white over black. In 1956, the ATP began using blue over white passenger car license plates in the mandatory 6"x 12" format with a number in the 17100 number bloc. A white on red validation tab was used in 1957.


Sample plate used by Alaska Highway Patrol
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Sample plate used by Alaska Highway Patrol
Plate courtesy of the Dirk Starck Collection
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Sample plate used by Alaska Highway Patrol
Plate courtesy of the Dirk Starck Collection
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Sample plate used by Alaska Highway Patrol
Plate courtesy of the Dirk Starck Collection

Photo Courtesy of Alaska State Troopers Museum

Sample plate used by Alaska Highway Patrol

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Sample plate used by Alaska Highway Patrol



Photo Courtesy of Alaska State Troopers Museum


Sample plate used by Alaska Highway Patrol

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Sample plate used by Alaska Territorial Police
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1954 issue year Tab

Tab courtesy of Dirk Starck



1955 year Tab

Tab and picture courtesy of Dirk Starck
 

1956-1957 issue: Alaska Territorial Police used regular passenger license plates,
this one in the 30000 bloc. Another period photo indicates one in the
17100 bloc also being used. 1957 year Tab
.
Tab and pictures courtesy of Dirk Starck



1959 issue and year Tab

Tab and picture courtesy of Dirk Starck

In 1958, the ATP continued with blue over yellow passenger
plates with a number in the 1000 bloc and validated them
with a red on white tab in 1959 when Alaska became a
state and was the agency was renamed the Alaska State
Police. This plate pictured above is in the 1200 bloc,
however is an example of what was used at the time.

Courtesy of Dirk Starck

Photo Courtesy of Alaska State Troopers Museum
In 1960 the AST used blue on white passenger plates in the 9000 number bloc and validated them with a white on reflective blue tab for 1961

Passenger 9000 number bloc used
by Alaska State Police


1961 year tab
Tab courtesy of Dirk Starck

Courtesy of Dirk Starck
In 1962 a new OFFICIAL USE ONLY license plate was introduced and used until 1975. The plate was dark blue over reflective yellow and made of embossed aluminum (Painted raised border) OFFICIAL USE ONLY embossed along the top and under the upper bolt-holes. The embossed state flag on the left of the plate followed by a 4-digit number in the 1-800 number bloc. ALASKA embossed between the lower bolt-holes.

1962-1975 issue. OFFICIAL USE ONLY base plate. Alaska State Police plates were issued in the "1-800" bloc of numbers as per the photo shown to the right .
Plate courtesy of the Dirk Starck Collection

Picture courtesy of Alaska Digital Archives

1968/1969 plate from the Service Section Patrol car of Captain D. McQueen (Anchorage) used primarily for court services
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In 1976, Alaska began issuing attractive graphic license plates for the U.S. Bicentennial. The plates had ALASKA embossed in red along the top between the upper bolt-holes over embossed registration number that commenced with an AST prefix and up to 3 numbers. The word TROOPERS was embossed in small dies on the bottom of the plate. The graphics on the plate feature a standing brown bear in the center and mountain scene in the background. A blue square with 76 surrounded by a circle of 5-point stars is in the upper right corner of the plate. Step border used on this base. These plates were sometimes validated with annual stickers in upper left corner. These plates were used until 1982.

1976- 1982 Bicentennial base Alaska State Troopers
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1976-1982 Bicentennial base with validation
decals for 1977 and 1978.

 

In 1982, new blue over reflective yellow plates were issued to Alaska State Troopers. The state name was silk-screened between the upper bolt-holes above an embossed registration number that commenced with an AST prefix and up to 3 numbers. The letters and numbers were separated by a silk-screened graphic of the state flag. The word TROOPERS was embossed in small dies on the bottom of the plate. Most AST plates had one white over blue sticker with the words STATE over VEHICLE and a similar sticker with the letter P indicating that the plate was a Permanent issue. These stickers were placed in each top corner and varied from left or right.

Around 1991, the same plate was used, but the AST went to the suffix position.

Around 2001, a graphic design front plate began gracing the "business end" of AST patrol cars. The plates had similar colors to the rear plates but were all silk-screened with the exception of TROOPERS embossed in small dies along the bottom of the plate. The center of the plate reads: ".08 It's the Law" indicating Alaska's maximum allowable blood alcohol content for driving a motor vehicle.

Around 2005, an all-embossed version of the yellow and blue flag plate was unveiled. In February of 2006, a new graphic version of the AST plate was introduced. The plate still used dark blue characters over reflective yellow. A full color graphic of the Alaska DPS badge is to the left of the plate with a banner over top of the badge with the motto: "Loyalty-Integrity-Courage". The bottom of the plate has the word TROOPER silk-screened in dark blue.


1982- early 1990's issue. The earlier versions used regular
expiry decals (January) before the "Permanent"
and STATE VEHICLE decals were used

Picture courtesy of Dirk Starck
 

1982-early1990's with AST in prefix position

1982-early 1990's Sample plate- No decals were affixed

Picture courtesy of Dirk Starck
 

1990's-2004 with AST in suffix position
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2005 fully embossed issue- Error as AST should
be in suffix position
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2001 Front plate. Indicated Alaska's maximum
blood/alcohol tolerance for drivers

Circa 2006 issue with the legend TROOPERS silkscreened.
This type has been observed with number bloc ranging
from 549 AST to 683AST

Picture courtesy of Dirk Starck and Royce Williams

Picture courtesy of Dirk Starck


2006-Current issue with Alaska DPS badge design.
Appears to have started in the 700 AST bloc.
Picture courtesy of Bill Ceravola




Picture courtesy of Dirk Starck


Motorcycle Plate - current issue
Picture courtesy of
American Association of State Troopers Magazine
The Alaska State Police now
have a Motor Unit! A pilot program
brought 4 Harley-Davidson
Road King's to the Juneau HQ.
They will be used during the
summer months for security
escort and traffic enforcement
in high density areas.

1998 Prototype issue. Several of these Alaska Centennial plates were made up with Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner numbers on them (AST 1 and AST 2 respectively). It has been stated that the Commissioner rejected this design, as from a distance, the prospectors depicted looked like a line of ants coming down a hill.
 

National Troopers Coalition Plate

Picture courtesy of Bill Ceravola
 
ALASKA FISH AND WILDLIFE PROTECTION PLATES

The Alaska Fish And Wildlife Protection Trooper's primary mission is the protection of Alaska's fish and wildlife resources through enforcement of laws and regulations governing use of natural resources within Alaska and its adjacent waters, as well as through increasing the knowledge of, and respect for, fish and wildlife laws and regulations.

The Alaska Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement also participates in the overall mission of the Department of Public Safety through enforcement of criminal laws and participation in Search and Rescue operations. The State of Alaska has 586,412 square miles or approximately 365,000,000 acres and 47,300 miles of coastline. All this area is covered by approximately 89 Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement State Troopers. This means there is only one trooper for every 6,588 square miles. Some folks argue that these FWP Troopers are even tougher and more stringent than "regular' AST Troopers, but I guess it decides which side of the law you're on when you make that decision!

Alaska Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement Trooper plates have mirrored the regular AST plate issuances with the exception of FWP prefixes and the word PROTECTION embossed in small dies at the bottom of the plate.


1976-1982 Bicentennial base
Fish and Wildlife Protection
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1982-1990's issue- This early version has expiry decals
in the upper corners.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1982-1990's version- Darker sheeting and use of STATE VEHICLE
and P (Permanent) decals in upper corners
Picture courtesy of Dirk Starck
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1990's prototype using Arizona dies.
Embossed aluminum- red-painted backside.

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection