Texas Highway Patrol

In the late 1920's Texas began to experience a deterioration of the state's bridges and highways from overweight and unregulated truck traffic and the state legislature knew it was time to form an organization dedicated to enforcing existing traffic legislation.

The Texas Highway Department was thus authorized to hire 18 license and weight inspectors and one chief inspector. After only 2 years, the License and Weight Section was increased to 50 men and renamed the State Highway Patrol.

By 1931, that number increased to 120 men. On August 10, 1935, the Texas Department of Public Safety was formed to properly organize law enforcement of all levels in the Lone Star State, and the Highway Patrol as well as the legendary and renowned Texas Rangers were incorporated into the new Texas DPS.

In 1957, a reorganization of the DPS took place. The state was divided into 6 regional commands, each headed by a senior officer with the rank of major and responsible to the director. Field personnel of the Highway Patrol, Motor Vehicle Inspection Service, Communications and Safety Education Service were placed under regional commanders.

The Texas Rangers also followed suit with a company following the same boundaries as the regional commands. Today, the Texas Highway Patrol falls under the Traffic Law Enforcement Division of the DPS. The Texas Highway Patrol Division is responsible for general police traffic supervision, traffic, and criminal law enforcement on the rural highways of Texas.

The Divisionís goal is to help maintain public safety through the efficient and effective administration of the division's various programs.

Texas State Flag

The flag was adopted as the state flag when Texas
became the 28th state in 1845. As with the flag of the
United States, the blue stands for loyalty, the white
represents strength, and the red is for bravery.


Texas Highway Patrol ~ 1938 using regular issue tags
Picture courtesy of Norman Rhoades
 

1941 State Exempt- Black over Yellow-Orange. 13 1/8" x 5 7/8" Embossed steel

1946 issue- State Exempt plates used an XS prefix.

Courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1957-1962 issue. State Exempt plate. Embossed aluminum. This one belonged to a 1960 Ford as seen etched along the right margin!
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1963-1968 issue- State Exempt plate. Small 5 point star separator. Later version had larger star separator. This issue extended past 1968 until cars were miled-out.

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1969-1974 issue. State Exempt plate. Large 5 point star separator. This issue extended past 1974
until cars were miled-out.
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1975-1988 issue. Earlier version with more horizontal
length on the EXEMPT dies and darker background sheeting.
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1975-1988 issue. Later version with shortened
horizontal length on the EXEMPT dies
and brighter background sheeting.

Picture courtesy of Joe Horvath

1989-2001 issue. State Exempt plate. This issue which commenced at the 556-000 number bloc is similar to the 1975-1988 issue but with deep blue, almost purple characters. Texas state shape separator. This issue extended past 2001 until cars were miled-out.



Circa 2001-2003 issue.
Picture courtesy of Paolo Valchi

Picture courtesy of Paolo Valchi

Circa 2003-2007 issue.
All-screened. Bar code in lower right side of plate

Picture courtesy of Paolo Valchi

2006-Current Issue
Picture courtesy of Plates Magazine


Circa 2008 issue 7 digit which came around the same time Texas
DPS plates were issued. Smaller and closer font for word EXEMPT-
Unknown what the significance the 14 in the circle is
.
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this type plate on duty....
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Circa 2008 with State graphic in top right corner
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this type plate on duty....
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National Troopers Coalition Conference issue
 

2000 Department of Public Safety Officers Association conference (San Antonio) souvenir plate. Flat reflective screened aluminum with step border.