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On June 23, 1923, the first Nevada State Highway Patrolman was hired by the Nevada Highway Department under the supervision of the Inspector of the Nevada State Police. This officer and the Inspector of the State Police would travel throughout the State collecting automobile registration fees and enforcing the laws of the highway.

Nevada was one of the first western states to have an organized highway patrol function. By 1934, the highway patrol force had grown to three officers still supervised by the Inspector of the State Police. They were given silver patrol cars with gold stars on the door; red lights and sirens, and told to patrol the roads. One officer was assigned to Reno, one to Carson City and one to Las Vegas.

The 1949 Nevada Legislature created the Nevada Highway Patrol by consolidating the Nevada State Police, Inspectors from the Nevada Public Service Commission and several Inspectors from the Nevada Department of Taxation. On July 1, 1949, the Nevada Highway Patrol Division was created within the Nevada Public Service Commission. These officers were directed to act as field agents and inspectors in the enforcement of the State laws as they pertained to Nevada highways.

In 1957, the Legislature created the Department of Motor Vehicles and transferred the Nevada Highway Patrol to this new department as a division. In 1985, the name of the Department was changed to the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety (DMV&PS) to reflect the many new law enforcement agencies that had been added.

In 2001, DMV&PS was split into separate departments and the Nevada Highway Patrol is now a division of the Nevada Department of Public Safety. Today the Nevada Highway Patrol serves the citizens and visitors of the Silver State with 356 commissioned officers and 177 civilians. The duties of the Patrol range from enforcing the laws on the highways to operating the State's criminal history repository. The headquarters office is located in Carson City with regional offices in Las Vegas, Reno and Elko.

The Nevada Highway Patrol is dedicated to ensuring safe, economical, and enjoyable use of the highways: protecting peaceful citizens against violence and disorder and assisting law enforcement agencies throughout our State and the nation.





License Plates of the Nevada Highway Patrol

1908 saw the formation of the Nevada State Police. Most of the patrol work in the early days was conducted on horseback, but gradually the automobile and motorcycle began to become the preferred method of duty travel for the NSP by the late teens into the 1920's. It is believed that license plates used by the NSP were Exempt plates that required no annual fee to the state. Exempt plates were introduced back in 1921 and were made of steel. They were painted flat in white over medium green with the word EXEMPT at the top of the plate over the word NEVADA in much larger font with a serial number running vertically along the right margin of the plate.

  • Nevada police car1921-1922 issue. Approx. 12" x 6". Flat steel.
    White over green. EXEMPT over NEVADA and number up to 3 digits painted vertically down right side.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1923 issue. Approx. 12" x 6". Debossed steel.
    Deep yellow over black. -EXEMPT- over NEVADA and number up to 3 digits debossed vertically down right side.
    Ornate border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1924 issue. Approx. 12" x 6". Debossed steel.
    White over green. EXEMPT over NEVADA and number up to 3 digits debossed vertically down right side.
    Ornate border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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The word "EXEMPT" in full remained on Nevada exempt plates until 1925 when the EX prefix was introduced to preserve space on the plate. On June 23, 1923, the first Nevada State Highway Patrolman was hired by the Nevada Highway Department under the supervision of the Inspector of the Nevada State Police. This officer and the Inspector of the State Police would travel throughout the State collecting automobile registration fees and enforcing the laws of the highway. Nevada was one of the first western states to have an organized highway patrol function.

  • Nevada police car1925 issue. Approx. 12" x 6". Debossed steel.
    White over blue. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1925.
    Ornate border.

    (Courtesy John Yeaw)
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  • Nevada police car1926 issue. Approx. 12" x 6". Debossed steel.
    Deep yellow over black. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1926.
    Ornate border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1927 issue. Approx. 12" x 6". Debossed steel.
    Light yellow over green. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1927.
    Ornate border.

    (Courtesy John Yeaw)
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  • Nevada police car1928 issue. Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    White over red. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1928.
    Embossed border.

    (Courtesy John Yeaw)
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  • Nevada police car1929 issue. Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Black over orange. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1929.
    Ornate embossed border.

    (Courtesy John Yeaw)
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In 1930, Nevada began issuing Highway Department Exempt license plates for vehicles assigned specifically to the Highway Department. As there is a likelihood of cross-usage between use of EX license plates for these officers and HD EX license plates as well, I have decided to feature both types from the earliest years until the NHP began to use agency-specific license plates in 1965.

  • Nevada police car1930 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Orange over black. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1930.
    Ornate embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1930 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Orange over black. Stacked H.D.EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1930.
    Ornate embossed border.
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  • Nevada police car1931 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Black over orange. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1931.
    Ornate embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1931 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Black over orange. Stacked H.D.EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1931.
    Ornate embossed border.
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  • Nevada police car1932 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Orange over black. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1932.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police license plate1932 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Orange over black. HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1932.
    # 2 was issued to the Chief of the Nevada State Police.
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  • Nevada police car1932 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Orange over black. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1932.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1933 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    White over green. EX prefix followed by no dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1933.
    Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1933 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    White over green. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by no dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1933.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1934 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Green over white. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1934.
    Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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nevada police car1934 Highway Department Exempt license plate used

nevada police car1934 Highway Department Exempt license plates used. Numbers 24, 86 and 89.
(Courtesy Mike Stapledon)
  • Nevada police car1934 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Green over white. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by no dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1934.
    Embossed border.
    (Note: You can see 1934 Nevada HD EX license plate # 24 affixed to the front of the NHP car seen above.)
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  • Nevada police car1935 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    White over green. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1935.
    Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1935 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    White over green. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1935.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1936 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1936.
    Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1936 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1936.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1937 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Blue over silver. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1937.
    Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1937 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Blue over silver. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1937.
    Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1938 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1938.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1938 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1938.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1939 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Blue over silver. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1939.
    Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1939 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Blue over silver. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1939.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1940 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1940.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1940 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1940.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1941 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Blue over silver. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1941.
    Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1942 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1942.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police carIn 1943, the state of Nevada issued an embossed metal tab measuring 2" x 3 1/4" and colored yellow over red. The tab was designed to affix to the bottom right hand corner of the 1942 license plate.
    This was done to conserve metal during the War effort at that time.
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  • Nevada police car1944 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    White over red. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1944.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1945 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Blue over silver. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1945.
    Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1945 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Blue over silver. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1945.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1946 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1946.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1947 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Blue over silver. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1947.
    Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1947 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Blue over silver. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1947.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1948 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1948.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police car1948 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1948.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy John Yeaw)
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nevada police car
  • Nevada police license plate1949 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Blue over silver. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1949.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police license plate1950 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1950.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police license plate1950 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1950.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy John Yeaw)
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  • Nevada police license plate1951 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Blue over silver. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1951.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police license plate1951 Exempt STATE issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Blue over silver. EX prefix followed by a dash and the letter S (believed to indicate STATE) and a number up to 2 digits over NEVADA 1951.
    Embossed border.
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  • Nevada police license plate1952 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA 1952.
    Embossed border.
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  • Nevada police license plate1953 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Gold over medium green. EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA.
    Embossed border. First of the undated types.

    (Only 6 numbers away from the on-duty photo seen below!)
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  • Nevada police license plate1953 Exempt issue.
    (Courtesy Mike Stapledon)
  • Nevada police license plate1953 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Gold over medium green. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA.
    Embossed border. First of the undated types.
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  • Nevada police license plate1954-1955 Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. EX prefix followed by a number up to 3 digits (sometimes a letter followed by 2 numbers) over NEVADA.
    Embossed border.
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  • nevada police car1954 Exempt issue.
  • Nevada police license plate1954-1955 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Approx. 12" x 6". Embossed steel.
    Silver over blue. Stacked HD EX prefix followed by a dash and number up to 3 digits over NEVADA.
    Embossed border.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police license plate1956-1958 Dated Exempt issue.
    Embossed steel. Red over silver.
    56 NEVADA 57 embossed over EX and number up to 3 digits. No Dash. Embossed border. Validated for 1958 with white over green validation decal. There was also an undated version of this type as seen on photo below.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police license plate1956-1958 undated Exempt license plate on 1954 NHP car.
    (Courtesy Mike Stapledon)

  • Nevada police license plateUndocumented type from mid-1950's. Dark characters over light background with NEVADA at bottom of license plate with no dash.
    (Courtesy Mike Stapledon)
  • Nevada police license plate1956-1958 Exempt STATE issue.
    Embossed steel. Red over silver.
    NEVADA embossed over EX followed by ST in smaller dies and number up to 2 digits. No Dash. Embossed border.
    Validated for 1958 with white over green validation decal.
    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police license plate1956-1958 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Embossed steel. Red over silver.
    NEVADA embossed over HD and number up to 3 digits.
    No Dash. Embossed border.
    Validated for 1958 with white over green validation decal.
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  • Nevada police license plate1959-1960 Exempt issue.
    Embossed steel. Yellow over black.
    NEVADA embossed over EX and number up to 4 digits.
    No Dash. Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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  • Nevada police license plate1959-1960 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Embossed steel. Yellow over black.
    NEVADA embossed over HD and number up to 4 digits.
    No Dash. Embossed border.
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  • Nevada police license plate1961-1964 Exempt issue.
    Embossed aluminum. Silver over blue.
    NEVADA embossed over EX and number up to 4 digits.
    No Dash. Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
  • Nevada police car
  • Nevada police car1961-1964 Exempt issue.
    (Courtesy Mike Stapledon)

  • Nevada police car1961-1964 Exempt issue. Number EX25.
    (Courtesy Mike Stapledon)

  • Nevada police license plate1961-1964 Highway Department Exempt issue.
    Embossed aluminum. Silver over blue.
    NEVADA embossed over HD and number up to 4 digits.
    No Dash. Embossed border.

    (Courtesy Rick Schofield)
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In 1965, the Nevada Highway Patrol introduced their first "agency specific" license plate. The plate followed the same formatting as the regular passenger license plates that year with 65 embossed in the top left corner and NEVADA embossed in the top center in dark blue. What set these plates apart from the rest was that passenger license plates at the time had a bare aluminum background and the NHP plates utilized a reflective white background. The prefix NHP was used ahead of the numbers, and it appears as though no dash was used to separate the prefix from the numbers.
These license plates were used by all marked NHP vehilces until they were replaced in 1969.

  • Nevada police license plate1965-1969 issue.
    Embossed aluminum with reflective white background.
    First agency-specific issue for NHP. Deputy Superintendent.

    (Courtesy Gerry Jaillet)
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In 1969 when the state of Nevada re-plated all motor vehicles, the plates used by the Nevada Highway Patrol followed suit. The plates were debossed aluminum with reflective white charaters over a reflective blue background. 69 was debossed in the top left corner with NEVADA debossed in the top center. The prefix NHP was used again and some spacing was used between the prefix and the numerals of single digit assignment numbers.
This type was used until 1972.

  • Nevada police license plate1969-1972 issue.
    Debossed aluminum with reflective white characters over a reflective blue background.
    Run on the front of the 1967 NHP Pontiac Catalina 428 of Ptlm Tom Hammill as seen in on-duty photo below.
  • Nevada police car1969-1972 issue.
    Debossed aluminum with reflective characters and background.

    Rank of Major.

    (Courtesy Gerry Jaillet)

Nevada police carNevada Highway Patrolman Tom Hammill (Las Vegas) with 1969-1972 license plate NHP58 affixed to his Pontiac Catalina.
(Courtesy Mike Stapledon)


Nevada police car(Courtesy Mike Stapledon)

Nevada police car

  • Nevada police license plateLate 1960's-1970's Light Bar plate.
    This embossed blue over aluminum license plate was created to be fastened to the center of the crossbar for the roof light assembly of NHP vehicles at the time.
    This can be seen in the photographs shown below where the plate appears to have been used until at least 1978.
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Nevada police car

Nevada police car

Nevada police car
NHP Lightbar Plate (Circa 1978)
(Courtesy Mike Stapledon)

In 1970, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles decided that motor vehicle registrants would renew their annual license plate validation with larger rectangular validation decals. As a result, they created a new license plate designed to accommodate the new larger decals. The plates were were once again made of debossed aluminum and consisted of reflective white characters over a reflective blue background.
The top of the plate had the abbreviation of the state name NEV just to the right of the upper left mounting hole followed by a large recessed rectangular white "navel" to receive the new larger validation decals.
The Nevada Highway Patrol vehicles newly registered for 1970 and 1971 were issued these plates. No validation decals were used as NHP vehicles were tax exempt. The NHP prefix was used once again with a number up to 3 digits.
These license plates were used concurrent to the 1969 base plate until a statewide re-plating in 1972.

  • Nevada police license plate1970-1972 issue.
    Abbreviated state name with large validation decal "navel".
    NHP vehicles were tax exempt and therefore these navels remained blank.
    This type used only on new NHP vehicles for 1970 and 1971.
    Same plate seen on NHP vehicle to the right.
  • Nevada police car

Nevada police car

Nevada police car

In 1972, the Silver State re-plated once again. This time, the Nevada Highway Patrol was issued their first agency-titled license plates.
The plates were once again made of debossed aluminum with reflective white characters over a reflective blue background. The state name NEVADA was situated at the top of the plate, offset just under the upper left mounting hole. The large rectangular white validation decal navel occupied the upper right corner. The title HIGHWAY over PATROL occupied the left field of the plate followed by a badge number up to 3 digits.
Lower numbered badge numbers commenced with lead zeroes.
These plates were used by the Patrol until they replated again in 1984.

  • Nevada police license plate1972-1984 issue. Debossed aluminum.
    First agency-titled license plate for the NHP.

    Senior badge number.
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Nevada police car

Nevada police car
  • Nevada police license plate1972-1984 issue. Debossed aluminum.
    One number short of assignment number seen on the NHP vehicle to the right.
  • Nevada police license car
  • Nevada police license plate
  • Nevada police license plate

It must also be stated that during the period of "agency specific" NHP license plates, some NHP marked and unmarked vehicles used State Exempt license plates where the vehicle was not assigned to a particular badge number. The earlier state exempt license plates were made on the same base plates as the NHP license plates but instead of the NHP prefix, used a "diamond E" motif prefix ahead of an assignment number. As seen in the photos below, many of these license plates were issued in the 2000 series. It's not known if this was a reserved bloc of numbers or just coincidence. These plates were also used by state Motor Carrier Officers which is showcased further down the page.
In the early 1980's Nevada dropped the different exempt designations between state, county and local and issued a generic exempt license plate for all jurisdictional authority with a stacked EX prefix followed by a number up to 5 digits.
This practice of issuing standard exempt license plates to NHP vehicles not otherwise assigned still continues to this day.

Nevada police license plate

Nevada police license plate
  • Nevada police license plate
  • Nevada police license plateCirca 1974 NHP Pontiac using a Diamond E (State Exempt) license plate in lieu of NHP plate.

Nevada police license car(Photos above-Courtesy Mike Stapledon)

Nevada police car

Nevada police license plate
1985 NHP Ford Mustang Test Car
(Courtesy Mike Stapledon)


In 1984, the state of Nevada joined in the "graphic license plate movement" that was sweeping the continent over the past decade or so. The state unveiled an attractive graphic design known as the "Big Horn sheep" motif.
This plate was aluminum and had a reflective white background with a subdued grey layout of a big horn sheep on a hillside in the upper left segment of the plate. The hillside played into scenery featuring a mountain and a juniper tree among other elements of the theme. The state name was silkscreened in medium blue at the top center of the plate in a stylized font reminiscent of the old west. The state slogan "THE SILVER STATE" was also silskreened in the same medium blue font along the bottom center of the plate but in a smaller script.
A smaller recessed and much more subdued validation decal navel was debossed in the upper right corner of the plate.
The Nevada Highway Patrol did-away with their embossed monicker "HIGHWAY PATROL" and went back to an NHP prefix followed by a four digit number with no dash or other separation.
The four digit number was a coding system indicating the rank/assignment of the officer. The first number indicated the rank and the numbers that followed was the officer's ID number. The number allocations were as follows:
NHP2### Rank of Captain and higher.
NHP3### Rank of Lieutenant
NHP4### Rank of Master/Staff Sergeant (not confirmed)
NHP5### Rank of Sergeant
NHP6### Rank of Corporal
NHP7### Rank of Trooper
NHP8### Motor Carrier(CVE)Officers
NHP9### Cadets

This plate numbering system proved unpopular and was discontinued on September 1 1985 where the rank designation number was dropped. By the end of 1985, all NHP prefix license plates were returned to Carson City for disposal and a new version of the titled NHP license plate was issued in 1986.

  • Nevada police license plate1984-1985 issue. Big Horn sheep graphic version one.
    NHP prefix followed by rank/designation code number as outlined above.
    Code number 7 for rank of Trooper and ID number 159.
  • Nevada police license car

Nevada police license car(Courtesy Mike Stapledon)

Nevada police license carNHP2003: Rank of Captain or above number 003 (Senior Command)
(Courtesy Mike Stapledon)


Nevada police license carNHP4050: Rank of Master/Staff Sergeant- badge number 50.
(Courtesy Alex Ginzburg)
  • Nevada police license plate1984-1987 standard exempt issue.
    Used on NHP vehicles with no assigned badge number (pool vehicles) or where an NHP license plate was not yet issued.
  • Nevada police license car

In early 1986, a second version of the Big Horn Sheep design license plate was unveiled. The changes saw the big horn sheep moved higher up the plate into the top left corner among other shifts in the landscape. The state name became more centered and was done in a darker shade of blue as was the state slogan at the bottom of the plate.
Thankfully, the NHP went back to the HIGHWAY PATROL title monicker which this time was embossed on the left field of the plate. A 3 digit badge number for the officer was embossed to the center right of the field. Lower badge numbers had lead zeroes.

This issue was used until 2001 concurrent with the silkscreened HIGHWAY PATROL version that was introduced in 1987.

  • Nevada police license plate1986-1987 issue. Version 2 Big Horn sheep.
    Embossed HIGHWAY over PATROL monicker followed by three digit identification number. Used through 2001.

    Command Staff.
  • Nevada police car
  • Nevada police carCourtesy Mike Stapledon
  • Nevada police car
  • Nevada license plate image1986-1990's. Dog Handler.
    Unconfirmed as to whether official use or not.
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In 1987, NHP license plates similar to the contemporary issue began being seen on new NHP vehicles. The only notable difference from the plates being run for the past year and a half was that these had the title HIGHWAY PATROL silkscreened in dark blue instead of embossed.
The other difference was that the dies being used to emboss the numerals were not the type used by the Nevada DMV, but rather had the distinct appearance of the dies used by the 3M Company of Minnesota. There is no confirmation, but it is a healthy guess that 3M approached the NHP to manufacture these new license plates for free use by the Patrol. 3M was well-known for this approach with certain SP-HP agencies to provide free license plates for an agency such as the NHP in exchange for the opportunity to assess the condition of the plates and the materials used to make them at certain time intervals. What better research lab for testing new paints and coatings than running in the extreme temperatures and road conditions that Nevada has to offer?

These plates were used until 2001 when the NHP replated.

Nevada police license plate
Sgt Tom Hammil circa 1987
(Courtesy Mike Stapledon)
  • Nevada police license plate1987-2001 issue. Silkscreened HIGHWAY PATROL
    Likely made by the 3M Company of Minnesota to test paints and coatings used on the plates run in the harsh Nevada climate and road conditions.
  • Nevada police license car

Nevada police car

Nevada police car
Circa 1989
(Courtesy Mike Stapledon)


Nevada police car
(Courtesy Darryl Lindsay)

Nevada police car

Nevada police car

Nevada police car (Courtesy Darryl Lindsay)

Nevada police car

Nevada police car
Circa 1990
(Courtesy Mike Stapledon)


2001 saw the introduction of the "Sierra Sunset" graphic license plate on the highways and bi-ways of the Silver State. The NHP continued with its use of agency-titled license plates for its fleet and returned to the embossed HIGHWAY PATROL monicker as last seen in the 1980's.
This attractively-designed plate was colored reflective light blue along the bottom of the plate fading to almost white in the middle before transitioning back to blue towards the top of the plate. It is here where the blue moves into white snow caps imposed over sunset colors of yellow and orange. NEVADA is silkscreened in dark blue at the top center of the plate and the embossed characters are painted in dark blue. The slogan "THE SILVER STATE" is silkscreened in small white letters in the center lower portion of the plate.

This plate is still in use as of this writing, however transitioning to an all-silkscreened version.

  • Nevada police license plate2001-Current issue. Sierra Sunset graphic.
    Return to embossed HIGHWAY over PATROL as last seen in the 1980's.
  • Nevada police license car
  • Nevada police car
    (Courtesy Mike Stapledon).
  • Nevada police license car
  • Nevada police license plate
  • Nevada police license plate
  • Nevada police license car
  • Nevada police license car2001-current Exempt issue.
    Issued to NHP vehicles without prescibed assignment/badge number. Not exclusive to Highway Patrol.

    (Courtesy Nick Kanaya)
  • Nevada license plate imageSierra Sunset standard Exempt (stacked EX prefix) license plate on NHP cruiser not assigned to badge number.

Around late 2011 to early 2012, new NHP vehicles began sporting an -all-flat silkscreened version of the "Sierra Sunset" license plate.
The graphics were the same as the regular issue, but the agency title HIGHWAY over PATROL was silkscreened in large dark blue letters and the identification number was also silkscreened in this fashion. There is also an anti-counterfeit subdued helix pattern running vertically down the center of the plate.
It is unknown if the NHP will only run these "all flat" plates from now on, or will also continue to run the embossed versions as well.

  • Nevada police license plate2011-Current issue.
    All-flat silkscreened Sierra Sunset.
  • Nevada police license car
  • Nevada police car
  • Nevada police car
  • Nevada police car
  • Nevada police license plate2011-Current issue.
    All-flat silkscreened Sierra Sunset
    Number in 800's indicates unassigned spare car.

    (Courtesy Mike Stapledon)
  • Nevada police license plateCourtesy Mike Stapledon
  • Nevada police license plate2011-Current issue.
    All-flat silkscreened Sierra Sunset.
    Number in 900's indicates unassigned specialty vehicle.

    (Courtesy Mike Stapledon)
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  • Nevada police license plate2011-Current issue.
    All-flat silkscreened Sierra Sunset.
    Standard Exempt license plate for NHP vehicle awaiting assignment.

    (Courtesy Mike Stapledon)
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Motorcycle License Plates of the Nevada Highway Patrol

The NHP used patrol motorcycles in the Las Vegas area by 1965 and into the early 1970's. Harley Davidsons were purchased in 1972, but then mothballed until 1974. One motor unit worked the state line with California throughout the Summer of 1974 until Labor Day before being stored-away until the Summer of 1975. This continued through 1977.
It is believed that these motorcycles used white over blue EX-prefixed motorcycle license plates with no reserved number.
On June 17, 1988, the NHP inaugurated a four-man motorcycle unit in Las Vegas Valley. The plates used were standard 4" x 7" embossed reflective aluminum motorcycle plates with a white background and dark blue characters. NEV was embossed in the upper right hand corner. The prefix NHP was silkscreened in dark blue followed by the trooper's identification number embossed to the right.
The plate also had an embossed blue border.
It is unknown if these types are still used.

  • Nevada police license plate1972-1988 issue Exempt motorcycle.
    Type possibly used my NHP motor units prior to 1988 issue.
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  • Nevada police license plate
    Circa 1990
    (Courtesy Phil Dart)


  • Nevada police license plate1988-unknown end date. Motorcycle issue.
    Dark blue over reflective white with clever frame.
    (Courtesy Kevin Moore)
  • Nevada police license plate1988-unknown end date. Motorcycle issue.
    Dark blue over reflective white.
  • Nevada police car
  • Nevada police license plate2001-2011 motorcycle issue. Sierra Sunset graphic.
    Embossed numerals and debossed border.

    (Courtesy Tony Aleria)
  • Nevada police license plate
  • Nevada police license plate2011-current motorcycle.
    All-silkscreened dark blue over Sierra Sunset graphic

    (Courtesy Mike Stapledon)
  • Nevada police license plate
  • Nevada police license plate2011-current motorcycle.
    All-silkscreened dark blue over Sierra Sunset graphic
    Number in 900's indicates a spare motorcycle.

    (Courtesy Mike Stapledon)
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  • Nevada police license plate2016-current Exempt motorcycle issue. Embossed aluminum.
    This standard exempt series re-introduced embossed features for Nevada motorcycle license plates.
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Nevada Highway Patrol Motor Carrier

The Nevada Highway Patrol, Commercial Enforcement Section, is responsible for the enforcement of state and federal motor vehicle laws, vehicle size and weight laws and the registration and fuel tax laws.
Over the years, the "Motor Carrier Officers" of the NHP have in some cases operated distinctly different patrol vehicles than their regular counterparts.
Often, they bore distinct license plates using the monicker MOTOR over CARRIER followed by their identification number.
Prior to that, NHP Motor Carrier personnel sported "diamond E" state exempt license plates on their vehicles.
Today, the officers of the NHP enforcing motor carrier law do so while using regular NHP vehicles and identifiers.

  • Nevada police license plate1969-1972 State Exempt issue.
    This type was issued to NHP vehicles with no assignment number and to those patrol vehicles who carried out Motor Carrier Enforcement duties.
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Nevada police car

  • Nevada police license plate1972-1984 Motor Carrier issue.
    Sometimes called the "Truck Troopers" as they enforce commercial vehicle laws.
    This is an older version with NEVADA more centered. Later versions had the state name more off-set to the left.
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  • Nevada police license plate1984-1987 Motor Carrier issue.
    Embossed aluminum. Dark blue over reflective white/grey.

    (Courtesy of Phil Dart)
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Nevada police car



Specialty Types

  • Nevada police license plate1989 Presidential Inaugural issue number NHP 1.
    Seen on patrol car to the right.
  • Nevada police license car
  • Nevada police license plateNational Troopers Coalition souvenir.
  • Nevada police license plateNational Troopers Coalition souvenir.
  • Nevada police license car


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