Oklahoma Highway Patrol

In 1937, 125 troopers graduated the first academy of the newly-formed Oklahoma Highway Patrol operating under the Department of Public Safety. That same year, the new state troopers met resistance from Oklahoma motorists who were not used to living within the bounds of traffic regulations when none had ever before existed.

But the troopers were prepared for this as they paved the way for all future officers by exerting good manners and service to all citizens. A total of 288,277 warnings compared with only 5,518 arrests and citations were written in the first nine months of patrol.

Even today, motorists will declare that troopers are well-mannered, friendly and hospitable while maintaining an unrivaled level of professionalism.

With almost 800 troopers statewide today spread across thirteen Field Troops, the division has grown into several areas of special services including Public Information, Capitol Patrol, Lake Patrol, Training, Bomb Squad, Motorcycle, Tactical Teams, Special Operations, Aircraft, Audits and Fraudulent Driver License. The department revived "The Flying Squadron", a motorcycle division that utilizes Harley Davidson motorcycles.

A bomb squad was organized who operate state-of-the-art equipment unparalleled in Oklahoma including two bomb trucks and robots. The east and west tactical teams continue to send their troopers through specialized training programs that elevate them to the best in the state.

Special Operations, formerly Criminal Interdiction, now has troopers who each have a well-trained drug canine. The OHP's primary goal is still to reduce the number of and severity of traffic collisions on the highways of the Sooner State through the promotion of traffic safety, vigorous enforcement of traffic regulations, and administering the operation and use of motor vehicles.

Oklahoma State Flag

The Oklahoma state flag honors more than 60 groups of
Native Americans and their ancestors. The blue field comes from a flag
carried by Choctaw soldiers during the civil war. The center
shield is the battle shield of an Osage warrior. It is made of buffalo
hide and decorated with eagle feathers. Two symbols of peace lie
across the shield. One is the calumet, or peace pipe. The other is an
olive branch. Crosses on the shield are Native American signs for
stars, representing high ideals.


Oklahoma used these "DOLLAR" plates because that's all exempt plate fees cost at the time! Even though it's 2 years before the actual OHP was founded, the "possibility" it could be the type used by state law enforcement is fairly good.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1936 State Government plate as was likely used by Oklahoma Highway Commission Enforcement one year prior to the formation of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Close up view of the seal from the above plate..

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1937 State Government plate as was used by the
newly-formed Oklahoma Highway Patrol

Courtesy of the Mike Heldman Collection

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection

Picture courtesy of Norman Rhoades

1944 issue- Tax Exempt plate. Small version(Approx. 5.5"x8.5"). Most photographs depicting OHP patrol cars in the 1940's indicate the use of passenger plates of no particular significance, however the tax exempt plate is featured as a probability of use on some OHP vehicles at that time.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1945 issue- Tax Exempt plate.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1947 issue- Tax Exempt plate.
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1949 issue- Tax Exempt plate.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1953 issue- Tax Exempt plate.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1954 issue- Tax Exempt plate.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1955 issue- Tax Exempt plate.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1956 issue- Tax Exempt plate.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1957 issue- Tax Exempt plate.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1958 issue- Tax Exempt plate.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1959 issue- Tax Exempt plate.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1960 issue- Although there is no confirmation of tax exempt plates being used on OHP cars until 1968 (except 1937 thru 1939) the tax exempt plate is featured as a probability of use on some OHP vehicles at that time.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1961 issue. Although there is no confirmation of tax exempt plates being used on OHP cars until 1968 (except 1937 thru 1939) the tax exempt plate is featured as a probability of use on some OHP vehicles at that time.

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1962 issue- Although there is no confirmation of tax exempt plates being used on OHP cars until 1968 (except 1937 thru 1939) the tax exempt plate is featured as a probability of use on some OHP vehicles at that time.
Picture source: e-Bay
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1963 issue. Although there is no confirmation of tax exempt plates being used on OHP cars until 1968 (except 1937 thru 1939) the tax exempt plate is featured as a probability of use on some OHP vehicles at that time.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection


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1964 issue. Although there is no confirmation of tax exempt plates being used on OHP cars until 1968 (except 1937 thru 1939) the tax exempt plate is featured as a probability of use on some OHP vehicles at that time.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1965 issue. Although there is no confirmation of tax exempt plates being used on OHP cars until 1968 (except 1937 thru 1939) the tax exempt plate is featured as a probability of use on some OHP vehicles at that time.
Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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this type plate on duty....
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1966 issue. Although there is no confirmation of tax exempt plates being used on OHP cars until 1968 (except 1937 thru 1939) the tax exempt plate is featured as a probability of use on some OHP vehicles at that time.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1967 issue. Although there is no confirmation of tax exempt plates being used on OHP cars until 1968 (except 1937 thru 1939) the tax exempt plate is featured as a probability of use on some OHP vehicles at that time.
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1968 issue- No reserved number blocs for OHP
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1969 issue- No reserved number blocs for OHP
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this type plate on duty....
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1970 issue- No reserved number blocs for OHP
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1971 issue- No reserved number blocs for OHP
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1972 issue- No reserved number blocs for OHP

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1973 issue made as with all previous issues at the Oklahoma
State Penitentiary. In late July of 1973, the prison was
ravaged by rioting inmates who among other actions of
destruction set fire to the facility causing upwards of 30
million dollars worth of damage. The record-breaking riot
also destroyed 1.5 million Oklahoma license plates set for
distribution for the 1974 issuance year. Hence the 1974
validation sticker at the bottom of this plate. Decal measures
1" x 5/8" with word EXEMPT reading vertically on left
margin followed by 74 above a 5 digit serial number
beginning with a TL prefix and OKLA vertically on
the right margin.
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Later 1973 issue manufactured by Metal Stamping
Corporation (later named Polyvend) of Conway Arkansas.
These plates were issued as a result of the prison fire in
Oklahoma that Summer to handle shortages of various types
of Oklahoma license plates that had been damaged in the fire.
Distinctively different dies, darker shade of yellow background
and a painted embossed border indicates the difference from
the original home-spun 1973 version from earlier in the year.
These plates would have also been validated for 1974
with a decal.

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1975 issue- Embossed painted border.
No reserved number blocs for OHP
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1976 issue- Bicentennial issue.
No reserved number blocs for OHP
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1977 issue- No reserved number blocs for OHP

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1978 issue- No reserved number blocs for OHP
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1979 issue- Version 1 with "79" embossed.
No reserved number blocs for OHP

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1979 issue
"79" debossed in a sticker navel

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1980 issue- First year exempt plates went to slogan.
No reserved number blocs for OHP

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1981 issue- No reserved number blocs for OHP
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1982 issue- No Diamond E emblem.
No reserved number blocs for OHP

Plate courtesy of the Paolo Valchi Collection
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1983 issue- No Diamond E emblem.
No reserved number blocs for OHP
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1984 issue- No Diamond E emblem.
No reserved number blocs for OHP

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1985 issue- No Diamond E emblem.
No reserved number blocs for OHP

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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Circa 1989-Current issue- Features Osage Indian battle shield as separator. Number is Trooper's badge/radio number.

Picture courtesy of
Jay Weinstein

Oklahoma Retired State Trooper personal vehicle plate SAMPLE
Picture source: e-Bay
 

Exempt Motorcycle Plate - 1969 issue
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Exempt Motorcycle Plate - 1970 issue
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Exempt Motorcycle Plate - 1973 issue

Plate courtesy of the G. William Whitworth Jr. Collection
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Exempt Motorcycle Plate - 1977 issue
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Exempt Motorcycle Plate - 1978 issue
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Exempt Motorcycle Plate - 1979 issue
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Current Issue
"OK" upper center over
OHP prefix followed by number over

screened "OKLAHOMA HIGHWAY PATROL"
Photo by Dana Woolf and provided by Al Gaines

If you can help Coop secure one of these
for his private collection, please use
our e-mail page to contact him.

Photo by Dana Woolf and provided by Al Gaines