North Carolina Highway Patrol

In 1929 alone, the Tarheel State saw 690 motor vehicle fatalities on the state's roadways and highways. Traffic control was of such concern that in 1929 the General Assembly passed an act authorizing the establishment of a State Highway Patrol.

The new organization was given statutory responsibility to patrol the highways of the state, enforce the motor vehicle laws, and assist the motoring public. The organization was designed as a division of the State Highway Commission. The Highway Commission initially sent ten men (later designated as a captain and nine lieutenants) to Pennsylvania to attend the training school of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Their mission was to study law, first aid, light adjustments, vehicle operation, and related subjects for use in North Carolina's first Patrol School. An office was established in Raleigh to serve as state headquarters, and a district office was established in each of the nine highway districts. A lieutenant and three patrolmen were assigned to each district. All patrolmen were issued Harley Davidson motorcycles and the lieutenants drove Model A Ford Coupes.The Patrol commander was issued a Buick automobile.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol's primary mission is to reduce collisions and make the highways of North Carolina as safe as possible. Since 1929 the mission of the Highway Patrol has not changed. From a handful of Highway Patrolmen in 1929 the Highway Patrol now employees 1,455 troopers and 365 Motor Carrier officers to cover more than 78,000 miles of North Carolina roadways.

In 2004, the State Highway Patrol arrested 26,005 people for driving while impaired, seized $10 million worth of drugs, and investigated 1,119 fatal collisions on North Carolina highways. The Motor Carrier unit fined thousands of truck drivers for various violations. Troopers and Motor Carrier Enforcement officers also guide traffic during hurricane evacuations or re-route traffic around hazardous chemical spills. The Patrol stands ready, should any act of terrorism occur, to carry out the directives of the Governor. The Highway Patrol has eight Troop locations throughout the state.

North Carolina State Flag

That the flag of North Carolina shall consist of a blue union,
containing in the center thereof a white star with the
letter N in gilt on the left and the letter C in gilt on
the right of said star, the circle containing the same to be
one-third the width of the union. The fly of the flag shall
consist of two equally proportioned bars; the upper bar to be red,
the lower bar to be white; that the length of the bars horizontally
shall be equal to the perpendicular length of the union,
and the total length of the flag shall be one-third more than its width.
That above the star in the center of the union there shall be
a gilt scroll in semi-circular form, containing in black letters this inscription
"May 20th, 1775," and that below the star there shall be a similar scroll
containing in black letters the inscription: "April 12th, 1776."


1936 issue- Dark blue over silver. Embossed aluminum.
This version was used throughout the 1940's and used
concurrent with the 1946 issue into the early 1950's .
These earlier versions were manufactured with "36"
embossed in the top right corner. As years went on, the
"36" had been flattened-out by NCHP garage personnel
to extend the usage of the plates into the later years.
This particular plate was used as a temporary tag into the
1950's, and was given to the current owner by a retired
mechanic supervisor who had retained it for several years.
Picture courtesy of Ted Cline

1935 SHP prefix
Picture courtesy of the
North Carolina Highway Patrol

1937
Use of regular issue passenger plate
 

1946 issue with matching number on
Sanford County tab. Yellow over black.
(If anyone knows where this license plate is now, please notify us)
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

Trp John T. Jenkins (eventually became NCHP Colonel)
shown with 1954 NC R-prefixed passenger license plate.

Photo Courtesy of North Carolina Highway Patrol
 

Retired NCHP Patrolman F. Coleman Simmons pictured
with the elusive "SP" (State Patrol) prefixed license plate
used on his patrol car in 1956.

Photo Courtesy of Jim Thomas
 

Career collection of license plates used by NCHP Patrolman
F. Coleman Simmons from 1956 to 1980. SP (State Patrol)
prefix used only in 1956. Random letter-number
combination passenger plates used from 1957 until
1977 when the first agency-wide issuance of
HP prefixed plates began.

Photo Courtesy of Jim Thomas Collection
 


1963- Confirmed NCHP Patrol Car plate used by Trooper Jack Ferrell Weatherly of Troop D on his 1962 Ford 4 Door. Weatherly's career with the NCHP ran from 1962 until July 31 1991. He served at several locations throughout the state, was an EVOC Instructor and had also served on Governor Jim Hunt's security detail prior to retirement.

1970- Confirmed NCHP Patrol car plate
used by Trooper John C "Charlie" Anderson.
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1975-1976 issue FAA-prefixed passenger license plate.
FAB prefixes were also used at that time.

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Highway Patrol

1975/1976 issue. Assigned to Line Sergeant Jack Ferrell Weatherly.
Weatherly's career with the NCHP ran from 1962 until July 31 1991.
He served at several locations throughout the state, was an EVOC
Instructor and had also served on Governor Jim Hunt's
security detail prior to retirement.
 

1977 issue- First year for confirmed HP prefixed
NCHP license plates

We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?


1978 issue-

Picture courtesy of the
North Carolina Highway Patrol

1979 issue- Larger dies used for NORTH CAROLINA


We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?


1980 issue- All NCHP plates began at "HP 100" which was assigned to the Commander. This plate was issued to the the Patrol Executive Officer, and second-in-command that year, Lieutenant Jack F. Cardwell who later went on to
assume full command of the NCHP.

This plate was assigned to Trp Brenda Price,
the NCHP's first ever female trooper who
successfully completed Basic Training School
and assigned for duty that year.
Photo Courtesy of North Carolina Highway Patrol

1981 issue- Assigned to Line Sergeant Jack Ferrell Weatherly.
Weatherly's career with the NCHP ran from 1962 until July 31 1991.
He served at several locations throughout the state, was an EVOC
Instructor and had also served on Governor Jim Hunt's
security detail prior to retirement.
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1982 issue-
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1983 NCHP is the only SP-HP agency that continues
to issue license plates annually.

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection

1983 issue- First year for graphic "First In Flight"
design, and the year that STATE TROOPER
replaced STATE PATROL as markings on the
rear of NCHP vehicles.
Photo Courtesy of North Carolina Highway Patrol

1984 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

Altered numbering format used on unmarked NCSHP Ford Mustangs.
It was found that this way of formatting the patrol car registration number
"disguised" the plate to more closely resemble a regular passenger plate
which assisted on catching violators coming-up from behind.
This was previously believed to be an error plate

Courtesy of Marco Tramelli
 

1985 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1986 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1987 issue. This plate was assigned to and
used by the Commander of the NCHP
at the time, Colonel Jack F. Cardwell.

Picture courtesy of
Jay Weinstein

1988 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1989 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1990 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1991 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1992 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1993 issue. Last year of the "HP" prefix.

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1994-Current issue- 1994 commenced the use of SHP as the prefix for NCHP license plates after a 48 year absence. Thinner dies and longer dash used as a separator.

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1995 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1996 issue.

Picture courtesy of
Jay Weinstein

Two 1997 issues- Shows different die types used. Slimmer/thinner dies on bottom.

Courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1998 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1999 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

2000 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

2001 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

2002 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

2003 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

2004 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

2005 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

2006 issue.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection

2007 issue.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection

2008 issue.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

2009 issue
.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

Unknown when the NCHP began using these
STATE OWNED flag plates on the front of their vehicles,
but this one is made of heavy gauge steel and
uses long slots, so best guessed at early to mid 1960's.
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

Unknown when the NCHP began using these STATE OWNED flag plates on the front of their vehicles, but this one with a duller green non- reflective background is
from the 1970's/80's

Picture courtesy of the
North Carolina Highway Patrol

Unknown when the NCHP began using these STATE OWNED flag plates on the front of their vehicles, but this one with a brighter and reflective green background is
from the 1990's.

Photo Courtesy of Monty McCord

1979 50th Anniversary booster plate- screened aluminum.
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1990's-early 2000's Optional Front plate
(yellow/ gold in color)
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1990's-early 2000's Optional Front plate
(silver in color)
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1937 Motorcycle Plate
Plate courtesy of the Ted Cline Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

Motorcycle Plate ~ Current isssue
HPMU = Highway Patrol Motorcycle Unit

1989 60th Anniversary Promotional "booster" plate.
Flat aluminum.

Courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
 

NCHP Troopers Association Promotional "booster" plate.
Flat aluminum.

Courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection

National Troopers Coalition issue.

Courtesy of the Bob Bruce Collection

2002-Current issue NCHP Retiree plate. Available to retired
NCHP troopers for their personal vehicles. Number is said to
be the Trooper's assignment number. This one bears the
2005 validation decal with matching number.