Utah Highway Patrol

In 1923, The Utah State Legislature empowered the State Road Commission to patrol the highways of the State. The highways were patrolled on a part-time basis by two state employees, designated as "patrolmen."

The organization is known as the "State Road Police Patrol". In 1928, Three additional full-time patrolmen are hired. Uniforms and badges, are issued. The first uniform is forest green with a patch of a flying motorcycle wheel sewn on the left arm and on the hat. Smith & Wesson .44 caliber revolvers, with cross-draw holsters, were issued to patrolmen.

In 1933, the organization is redesignated as the "Utah Highway Patrol." The ranks of superintendent, captain, lieutenant, and sergeant are established. The first driver license law becomes effective and the UHP is given responsibility for testing applicants, and the UHP has 30 sworn officers as of July 1, 1934.

In 1941,The Utah Highway Patrol becomes a separate department under the direction of the Governor. The largest hiring to date raises the ranks of the UHP to 69 officers. In 1945, a few black and white patrol cars (instead of the all-black that were exclusively used up until World War II) were implemented for better visibility in an attempt to reduce traffic accidents. Motorcycles were phased out that year.

1947 saw the beehive become the official emblem of the UHP and is placed at UHP offices throughout the state. Beginning in 1950 the beehive is placed on the doors of patrol cars and single red rotator lights were in place on the rooftop of all UHP patrol cars. In 1951, the Department of Public Safety is created and the Utah Highway Patrol becomes a division of this new department. Unmarked cars were added to the patrol fleet in 1953. In 1973, Moving radar is used for the first time by UHP troopers.

In 1981, the UHP reintroduced the motorcycle to its fleet of patrol vehicles after an extended absence since 1945. In 1985, Senate Bill 253, sponsored by Senator Richard J. Carling, establishes special license plates for UHP vehicles, complete with UHP beehive and trooper’s badge number. That year, the Utah Highway Patrol celebrated 50 years as an agency with full police authority, and the Utah Highway Patrol purchased 25 Ford Mustang pursuit vehicles.

In 1992,The Utah Highway Patrol purchases 22 Chevrolet Camaro pursuit vehicles as part of a test program. The Mustangs were phased out in the 1990's as a body style change in 1994 increased the purchase price significantly. The Mission Statement of today's Utah Highway Patrol is to provide professional police and traffic services, and to protect the constitutional rights of all people in Utah.

Utah State Flag

On a blue field, appears the state seal. In the center of the seal is a
beehive, the state emblem, with a sego lily growing on either side.
The sego lily stands for peace. The state motto "Industry" means
steady effort. A national flag shows that Utah supports the United States.
The eagle stands for protection in peace and war. The date 1847
represents the year that Brigham Young led a group of people to the
Salt Lake Valley to reestablish in Utah, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
day Saints, also know as The Mormons. The date 1896 represents the year
that Utah gained admission to the Union of the United States.



1937 issue- Exempt vehicle plate. Embossed steel. Unknown if these standard exempt plates were used by UHP vehicles at the time, but considering most plates used by UHP vehicles prior to 1985 used exempt plates, it's a fair guess that they did.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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this type plate on duty....
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1950 issue- Exempt plate. Type used by UHP at that time.

Picture courtesy of the Utah Highway Patrol
 

1958 issue- Exempt plate. Type used by UHP at that time. Courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1962 issue- Embossed steel. Debossed border.

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1963 issue- Embossed steel. Debossed border.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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this type plate on duty....
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1964-1966 issue- Embossed steel. Used by state and local government. No reserved number blocs for UHP.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1966-1969 issue- First year for STATE VEHICLE exempt plates to differentiate from local exempt plates.
Numbering believed to have started at 50000.
This plate was a confirmed UHP issue.

1967-1969 issue- Run concurrent with 1966 issue, but this one with EX stacked on the left margin and the top and bottom legends use smaller dies. Confirmed UHP number.

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1969-1985 issue, but this one with EX stacked on the
left margin and the top and bottom
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection

Picture courtesy of the Utah Highway Patrol

Early 80's issue - Sparce useage
Stacked "EX" left followed by number
over screened "UTAH"


Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection

Photo courtesy of Dan Coviello

1985-Current issue- Issue commenced June 1, 1985.
Number is officer's badge number.

1985- Current issue- This plate shows validation decal use for rear plate. County sticker SL= Salt Lake, 6= June, 1997.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
 

1985- Current issue- This plate shows EXEMPT decal in lower left corner. Unknown why some UHP plates ran either "expiring" plates (validation sticker), Exempt stickers,
or no stickers at all.

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
 

2002 issue- Special Souvenir plate made to commemorate the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City.



Souvenir issues for 1996 and 2000.
Courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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this type plate on duty....
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1996-2006
Exempt Cycle plate
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this type plate on duty....
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2006-Current Issue
Flat, screened plate with patch to the left
and bike # on the right
Picture courtesy of
Trooper Christopher Cox - Utah Highway Patrol

Picture courtesy of
Trooper Christopher Cox - Utah Highway Patrol

UHP C.A.R.E. Plate
(Combined Accident Reduction Effort)
conference souvenir plate from the year that
Utah hosted the national conference.