Rhode Island State Police

The Rhode Island State Police was formed on April 2, 1925. For the first time the state would have a highly organized, uniformed statewide law enforcement agency. The legislative intent was to create a highly disciplined, mobile police organization.

The force was designed to deal with new and rapidly expanding enforcement problems, especially those compounded by the automobile. A special effort was made to use equipment manufactured in the state. The original badges, collar ornaments and other such items were produced by native jewelry makers.

Motorcycles would be an important factor in the mobility of the new troopers. Thus the famous Police Indian, manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts, became part of the early history of the Department. For firearms, the Colt 45 was selected. This choice was probably influenced by the military career of the first Superintendent as well as the strong Rhode Island ties to the Colt family.

Motor equipment would be critical to enforcement mobility. That was ensured by the acquisition of the following: one Marmon Touring Car, one Chrysler Roadster, one Buick Roadster, three Ford Touring Cars, and four Ford Runabouts. The trusty motorcycle remained the centerpiece of that first rolling stock.

Ten bikes completed the motor equipment as the statewide force began its first field operation in earnest. Currently the RISP is comprised of six patrol commands, referred to as barracks, located in Lincoln (RISP-Lincoln Woods), Richmond (RISP- Hope Valley), Exeter (RISP-Exeter Patrol), North Kingstown (RISP- Wickford), Portsmouth (RISP-Portsmouth), and Gloucester (RISP- Chepachet).

The department also maintains specialized units such as its Charitable Gaming Unit and Training Academy staff. A new departmental headquarters is slated to be constructed in 2007. A RISP Museum in North Scituate is also scheduled for construction.

Rhode Island State Flag

Placed on a white field is a circle of thirteen gold stars
representing the first thirteen states. The stars surround a
gold ship's anchor. The states motto " Hope" is on
a blue ribbon below the anchor.

1930 issue
Courtesy of Tom Denniston - RISP

1932 issue
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1951 issue 11" x 6 1/4".
Believed taken as souvenir by Captain (later Colonel) Harrie Gill.
Colonel Gill was a graduate of the RISP Class of 1933.
In the late 1940ís he was promoted to Captain at which time
he would have received a lower badge number.
Badge #78 was not issued again until it was issued to
Harry Miller in the mid 1960ís

Courtesy of Tom Denniston - RISP
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Circa 1953-1955 issue sample plate. 11" x 6 1/4".
This style, size, and color format was used on
Rhode Island passenger plates from 1948 to 1954.

Courtesy of Tom Denniston - RISP
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Early 1961 "Shields" issue. Black on reflective white with
state crests flanking badge number. "In the Service of The
State" inscribed along bottom of shield. No lower boltholes.

Courtesy of Tom Denniston - RISP
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1961-1962 issue. Black on reflective red aluminum.
These plates were run on black RISP patrol cars
with red door insignia.

Courtesy of Tom Denniston - RISP
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1963-1964 issue SAMPLE plate.
These plates (with badge number) were apparently
run on grey colored patrol cars at the time.
Embossed aluminum.
 

1963-1973 issue with motorcycle plate-sized die used
for number. Used by Colonel Walter E. Stone.
Colonel Stone was the Superintendent of the
Rhode Island State Police from 1959 to 1961
and from 1963 to 1990, the longest
serving Superintendent in the agency's history!

Courtesy of Tom Denniston - RISP
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1963-1973 issue. Embossed aluminum. Very rare!

Click picture for a larger image


1972-1982- RISP Major.
No anchor /No embossed year.
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1983-1985 issue- Sometimes renewed with validation decals into the 1990's


Picture courtesy of Jay Weinstein


1985-1990 issue- This one with December 1989 decal.
Sometimes renewed with validation decals into the 1990's
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1988 issue- Colonel's plate.
Courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1988 issue- This base plate with no embossed year but with an embossed anchor in the top left corner began in 1980.
Unstickered base
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1988 issue- This base plate with no embossed year but with an embossed anchor in the top left corner began in 1980. The embossed year in the top right corner came and went without much rhyme or reason. December 1990 decal. Sometimes renewed with validation decals into the 1990's


2000-2001 75th Anniversary issue for
Superintendent of RISP: Colonel Edmond S. Culhane Jr.

Courtesy of Tom Denniston
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2000-2001 50th Anniversary issue- Used only for one year then reverted back to white on black plates. Numbered 1-300


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50th Anniversary issue Sample in blue

 

Commemorative issue for opening of new
RISP Headquarters in North Scituate

1970's motorcycle
Shown here for archival purposes. It is a widely held
belief among collectors that the RISP never used
these style plates on their motorcycles.
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Motorcycle plate
1983 issue- Numbered up to 17 on the 1983 base plate. During this time, RISP motorcycle patrols were predominantly at the Atlantic beaches during the summer months only.
Validated by decal thru 1995.
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Current issue cycle plate with no embossed date.
Picture courtesy of Kirk Dyer

Picture courtesy of Kirk Dyer

National Troopers Coalition Conference issue.
Not DMV made.