Montana Highway Patrol

In 1933 and 1934, the state of Montana led the U.S. in traffic fatalities with a 74% increase over those two years. The call for a measure of effective traffic law enforcement from Big Sky Country's citizenry and law makers was clear and urgent.

The birth of the Montana Highway Patrol commenced the following year, 1935. The force saw its first 24 recruits extracted from a pool of 1500 candidates, and Ford Coupes and Harley Davidsons were the patrol vehicles of choice.

The MHP officers were only permitted to enforce 11 traffic laws at the time. Education of road safety was the emphasis. In the first year of the MHP's mandate, there was a 25% decrease in traffic fatalities.

In 1948, the Driver License Bureau was created within the Montana Highway Patrol to administer the written and driving tests necessary to get a driver's license. In 1961,Montana Highway Patrol officers assumed the enforcement of gross vehicle weight laws on the motor carrier industry.

In 1972,The Montana Highway Patrol was reorganized as a bureau within the Montana Department of Justice, resulting in the elimination of the Highway Patrol Board. The MHP saw another reorganization in 1979 with the Driver License Bureau moved from the Highway Patrol to the Motor Vehicle Division. Civilian employees assumed the testing duties previously performed by Highway Patrol officers.

A true honor was bestowed upon the MHP in 1988 when the agency became the first state highway patrol in the nation to become nationally accredited. The accreditation process took three years to complete and was considered a critical element in enhancing the professionalism of the Montana Highway Patrol.

Today, the 200+ officers of the MHP patrol 33,000 miles of roadways via eight patrol districts within the state and answer on over 70,000 calls for assistance every year.

Montana State Flag

Under the word "Montana", on a blue field, is the state seal.
The seal shows some of Montana's beautiful scenery and
tells what people were doing in pioneer times.
The pick, shovel and plow represent mining and farming.
In the background a sun rises over mountains, forests and
the Great Falls of the Missouri river. A ribbon contains the
state motto "Gold and Silver".

Patrolman Cecil Storm stands next to his
1936 Hudson Terraplane complete with
"PX" (Patrol Exempt) license plate

Picture courtesy of the Montana Highway Patrol
 

1951/1952 issue- Approx 13 1/2" x 6" embossed steel;
yellow/orange over medium blue. "THE TREASURE
STATE" top inside the state outline border;
"MONTANA - 51" on bottom; "PRISON MADE"
embossed into blue background below state outline border.
PX = (Patrol Exempt) long hyphen
followed by assignment number.

Norm is actively seeking this type for his collection-
Drop him a line if you can help
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?



1953/1954 issue- Approx 13 1/2" x 6" embossed steel;
white over black. STATE OWNED top inside the state
outline border; "MONTANA - " on bottom with two tab
slots on either side of where the "53" would ordinarily be
for non-exempt vehicles; "PRISON MADE" embossed into black background below state outline border.
PX = (Patrol Exempt) long hyphen followed by
assignment number. Norm is actively seeking this type for his collection- Drop him a line if you can help

Picture courtesy of the Montana Highway Patrol

1955-1956 issue- White over red with embossed white state
outline around plate. STATE OWNED number in the
100s MONTANA. Plate measures 13 1/2" X 6"

Photo Courtesy of Monty McCord and Earl Jenson
 

1959-1961 issue. Assigned to Sgt. Al Buck of Great Falls

Al Buck was a Sgt. with the patrol. He
later became a captain and commanded
a program that would pull several officers
from all over the state and have them
work a high death/violation rate area for
7 to 10 days. Al was an ex-marine and he
carried that dedication to the patrol.
Please note that the plate to the left
matches the one on his car!

1961-1966 issue- Used by Patrolman Chuck Whitson

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


1967 issue. First MHP-prefixed issue.
Assigned to Sgt. Al Rierson of Kalispell
(a famous cigar-smoker with the department!)
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1968-1969 issue- Used by Patrolman Dick Boettcher

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


1970-1971 issue- Used by Sergeant Dale Stinson

Picture courtesy of the Montana Highway Patrol

1973-1974 issue- Used by Patrolman Clark Carpenter (Became a Sergeant in 1991)

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


1975 issue- Used by Patrolman Bill Ware (who went on to become Chief of the Helena MT Police Department in the late 1980's/early 1990's)


1976-1986 issue- Told this plate was used on old restored MHP cruiser from the 1930's

Picture courtesy of the Montana Highway Patrol

1987-1991 issue- State Centennial (1989) version. Has holograms of cattle skulls and "87" running vertically down the center of the sheeting.


Picture courtesy of the Montana Highway Patrol


1990- 2000 issue- "Jagged Line" base.
No STATE OWNED along top right side.

Photo Courtesy of Monty McCord

1990- 2000 issue- "Jagged Line" base.
STATE OWNED along top right side. This plate has holograms of cattle skulls and "90" running vertically
down the center of the sheeting
.
Most MHP plates of this era did not have the
STATE OWNED legend inscribed, but some
like the one pictured did.
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

2000-2004 issue- Millenium base

2001-2006. Completely flat screened.

Courtesy of the Bob Bruce Collection


2006 - 2008. Completely flat screened

2008 issue
Completely flat screened on Montana Hope Project base

Current Issue 75th Anniversary Plate
Picture courtesy Tony Martin and Shari Woods
A CAREER'S WORTH OF MHP PLATES: RET. CAPT. DON SEYFERT

Although we have already listed similar MHP plates above as part of the
archival information, we found it truly worthy to show this marvelous group
of Montana Highway Patrol license plates assigned to and retained by
Retired Captain Don Seyfert over the course of his impressive 32 year
career with the Patrol.

Don commenced his career in 1966 and was issued badge #235. He began
as a traffic officer out of Havre where he remained until he was promoted
to Sergeant in 1979. With the promotion, he was issued badge 139 and
re-located to Custer. In April of 1984, Don was promoted to Lieutenant
and issued badge number 114. With that came the move from Custer to Glendive.

On January 1st, 1988, the badge numbering system for the MHP changed,
and Lt. Seyfert's badge number was changed to 25. In April of 1990, the MHP promoted Don to Captain
and assigned badge # 105, but this time, he didn't have to move and remained in Glendive.

In January of 1992, Captain Seyfert bid for the District Commander's position in Great Falls, where he
became badge #102. On December 1 1998, Captain Don Seyfert officially went 10-7 for his career with
the Montana Highway Patrol. Statetrooperplates.com thanks Retired Captain Don Seyfert for allowing us
to showcase his keepsakes and spotlight his career of distinction in one of the premier law enforcement
agencies on the continent.


The year Ptlm Don Seyfert commenced his rookie year
with the M.H.P. This plate was fastened to his 1965
Ford 235 (390 engine) as he patrolled the environs
of Havre Montana

Ptlm Seyfert's second year with the M.H.P. This plate
was also fastened to his 1965 Ford 235 (390 engine)
as he patrolled the environs of Havre Montana

This plate adorned Ptlm Seyfert's 1968 Plymouth

Also on Ptlm Seyfert's 1968 Plymouth until it was
replaced with a 1971 Dodge which caused some envy
for some of Ptlm Seyfert's colleagues as this was the
first year for air conditioning, and he was the first
one in his district to get it!

This plate was fastened to Ptlm Seyfert's 1973 Plymouth.

This plate was fastened to Ptlm Seyfert's 1975 Plymouth.

This 1976-issue plate bears the new badge number of
Sergeant Seyfert and seen attached to his 1975 Plymouth
on the highways and bi-ways of Custer Montana.

Don's 1978 Plymouth patrol car

This 1976-1986 issue plate bears the new badge
number of Lieutenant Seyfert and seen on his patrol
car in Glendive until the plate style change in 1987.

State Centennial base plate featuring Lieutenant
Seyfert's new badge number which was attached
to a 1989 Plymouth.

This plate was assigned to Captain Seyfert, the District
Commander in Great Falls on his 1992 Chevrolet.