New Jersey State Police

The New Jersey State Police was created in 1921 and lead by their first Superintendent, H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the father of famed General "Stormin' Norman " Schwarzkopf of recent fame and well- deserved international accolade.

The distinctive triangular badge of the NJSP indicates the 3 founding principals of the NJSP : Duty, Honor, Fidelity, represented by a star in each corner of the insignia. This hat badge was designed by none other than Newark businessman and local jewelry designer, Julius George Schwarzkopf, father of the first superintendent, and "Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf's Grandfather!

Sixteen hundred men, between the ages of twenty-two and forty, made application for the one hundred and twenty positions allowed by the law to become New Jersey State Police Officers. Out of the total number of applicants, only two hundred and twenty-seven received a passing mark. From this number, one hundred and sixteen men reported to Sea Girt on September 1, 1921. Of this number, eighty-one officers and troopers completed the rigorous three month training program.

On December 1, 1921, the new troopers were administered the oath of office and on December 5, 1921, in a blinding snowstorm, started out on horseback and motorcycle to their posts throughout the state. The first modes of transportation consisted of sixty-one horses, twenty motorcycles, one car, and one truck. The horse remained the principal means of transportation throughout the 1920's. Toward the end of the decade, more cars and motorcycles were added as the demand for increased services in the traffic patrol and investigative field heralded a change in the basic patrol function.

In the 1930's, the State Police, with 208 men, were responsible for policing over 7,000 square miles of rural area of the state. The large, almost unmanageable, patrol area required troopers to be spread in small groups, sometimes only three to five men per substation. A change in traffic enforcement philosophy was also instituted in 1946, with the purchase of twenty-four conspicuously colored black and white patrol cars with large blue lettering. The vehicles would serve as a visual deterrent to potential violators. The remaining 163 police vehicles were inconspicuously painted black and utilized for both patrol and investigative functions. More black and white vehicles were to be added to the fleet each year.

With the reorganization of state government in 1948, the Department of State Police would become a Division in the Department of Law and Public Safety. The Division continued to expand in growth and functions with the opening of the Garden State Parkway in 1954. With the exceptional job troopers were doing patrolling the turnpike, there was never any doubt that troopers would also be assigned to exclusively patrol the new 173 mile super highway. A realignment of the Division in 1954 from two regions and district operations back to troop designations was completed.

The New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway details were temporarily consolidated as Troop D, Turnpike/Parkway Patrol. A tradition within the organization came to an end that same year. The motorcycle, which had been used as a patrol vehicle since the inception of the organization some 33 years earlier, was phased out of existence. An aviation unit was formed in 1960, despite the NJSP conducting sporadic air patrols with borrowed aircraft going back to the 1930's.

In 1975, the traditional black and white troop cars would enter the history books with the boots and breeches and motorcycles. An all white patrol car would emerge as the principle troop vehicle. The first compliment of all white Plymouths had no other markings than the “triangle” on the door and the words “State Police” on the trunk. After realizing how plain looking the cars were, chevrons were added to all car doors and the decal “State Police” added to the right front fender.

In 1978, this decal was replaced by “State Trooper.”1 In 1979, the Highway Patrol Bureau of the Division of Motor Vehicles was transferred to the State Police and made part of the Field Operations Section. On January 20, 1984, the 125 members of the Highway Patrol Bureau were sworn in as members of the State Police. The summer of 2003 saw the resurrection of the Motorcycle Unit. The pilot program brought 4 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glides to the Holmdel Barracks for use in Patroling the always traffic choked, Garden State Parkway.

The current body of more than 2,600 enlisted and sworn members, and 1,200 professional staff share one distinction regardless of their rank or designation, they are members of one of the most prestigious law enforcement organizations in the world -- the New Jersey State Police.

New Jersey State Flag

The State flag of New Jersey is buff colored.
The state coat of arms is emblazoned in the center.
The shield has three plows with a horse's head above it.
Two women represent the goddesses of Liberty and Agriculture.
A ribbon at the bottom includes the year of independence
in 1776 and reads: Liberty and Prosperity.
The New Jersey state flag was formally adopted in 1896.

LICENSE PLATES OF THE NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE

When the NJSP was founded in 1921, the agency's fleet consisted of 61 horses, 1 patrol car, 20 patrol motorcycles, and 1 truck. License plates used by New Jersey State Police have been standard issue passenger license plates from 1921 until approximately the early to mid 1960's.

Some older NJSP touring cars were stated to use a placard or "title sign" on the car, which was used in addition to the passenger plates of the day. (see plate: STATE POLICE sign on this page)

There has been speculation that some stacked "SP" prefixed NJ license plates were used on NJSP vehicles prior to the June 1959 base plate, however these are Somerset County passenger plate designations and NOT a prefix for state police. New Jersey State Police did not commence issuing confirmed titled plates until the 1960's on the black on straw 1959 base plate. (Looking for clear photographic proof to deem otherwise)


Circa 1920's issue- Used on NJSP Touring cars of the day. Vertical posts were dropped into holder sleeves on the car and tightened with wing-nuts from beneath.
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?


Before titled STATE POLICE license plates, the NJSP used regular passenger plates on their patrol vehicles.
Picture courtesy of Norman Rhoades

 

1960's issue- Embossed galvanized steel with embossed border.
Number in 100's. Although this base plate
goes back to 1959,
it is not certain that the NJSP used a titled plate of
this type earlier than 1965.


Picture courtesy of Robert Ward

Circa 1965-1976 SAMPLE issue- N.J. at the bottom.
Although this base plate style goes back to 1959, it is not
certain that the NJSP used a titled plate of this type earlier
than 1965. This example is aluminum with a raised border.
The one pictured below (SP-A599) has a step border.
 

Click picture for a larger image
C.1958-1976: Standard state issued license plate
(12" X 6" aluminum) Black over Straw: STATE POLICE over SP-A### over N.J.
Lowest confirmed assignment number: SP-A198. Highest confirmed assignment number: SP-A610
(See plate # SP-A599 on this page)


Photo Courtesy of Monty McCord

1976/77-1979: Standard state issued license plate
(12" X 6" aluminum) Black over Straw: STATE POLICE over SP-A### over NEW JERSEY
Lowest confirmed assignment number: SP-A510. Highest confirmed assignment number: SP-A663
(Note: Although this base type was discontinued in 1979, NJSP patrol cars could still be seen with these black on straw plates into the 1990's.)
(See plate # SP-A643 on this page)

Picture courtesy of Jay Weinstein
1979-1989/92: Standard state issued license plate
(12" X 6" aluminum) Buff over Blue: STATE POLICE over SP (state silhouette) A### over NEW JERSEY
Lowest confirmed assignment number: SP-A151. Highest confirmed assignment number: SP-A580
(Note: This type has been seen on a NJSP patrol car (Delaware Water Gap) as recently as 2003.)
(See plate # SP-A168 on this page)

1992 to present: Standard state issued license plate (12" X 6" aluminum) Black over Gradient yellow:
NEW JERSEY

over SP (State silhouette) A### over STATE POLICE.
(See plate # SP-A644 on this page)
(Note: State name and two black sticker squares in top corners are silk-screened, and numerals/STATE POLICE are embossed. In 2002, Avery manufacturing provided a variation on the graphics on NJ license plates. It was at this time too, that some NJSP vehicles added an A suffix to the registration number).
Also seen on NJSP vehicles are plates with no state shaped hyphen and a trailing "A" as seen in the picture below.

                                   

OTHER HIGHWAY AUTHORITY DESIGNATIONS USED BY NJSP PATROL VEHICLES:
Although the majority of marked NJSP vehicles in the Garden State use the NJSP titled license plates, some NJSP patrol vehicles sport license plates that are tied-into the cost-provision by the highway authority of their given assignment and use the following license plates on their marked vehicles:
ATLANTIC CITY EXPRESSWAY

(Plate picture is needed)
1979-1989/90: Standard state issued license plate
(12" X 6" aluminum) Buff over Blue:
NEW JERSEY
over ACE ## over NEW JERSEY
(Note: A photo taken in early winter of 1981 shows
an NJSP patrol car assigned to Troop A bearing
buff on blue plates # ACE 36)

Picture of plate on car is needed
(Plate picture is needed)
1992 to present: Standard state issued license plate
(12" X 6" aluminum) Black over Gradient yellow:
NEW JERSEY
over ACE (State silhouette) ## over NEW JERSEY.
GARDEN STATE PARKWAY/ HIGHWAY AUTHORITY
Although there is uncertainty when NJSP personnel began using HA prefixed license plates on their patrol vehicles, it can be surmised that use commenced in the 1960's

(Plate picture is needed)
C.1965-1976: Standard state issued license plate
(12" X 6" aluminum) Black over Straw:
N.J.
over HA-A### over GARDEN STATE
Note: Numbers assigned to State Troopers on the Parkway is the fleet number of the trooper's car plus 600.
Thus car #138 would have license plate # HA-A738

Picture of plate on car is needed

(Plate picture is needed)
1992 to present: Standard state issued license plate
(12" X 6" aluminum) Black over Gradient yellow:
NEW JERSEY
over HA (State silhouette) A###
over GARDEN STATE .
NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE
As early as the 1952/56 base plate, patrol cars owned and maintained by the NJ Turnpike Authority
but operated by NJSP troopers used these TP prefixed plates until approximately 1960.
These patrol cars were both marked with NJTA emblems or unmarked.
(Plate picture is needed)
1952 thru 1956: Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6 3/4" steel)
Orange over Black: number up to 3 digits
followed by T stacked over P
over N. 52 J.

Picture courtesy of the New Jersey State Police

TP-prefixed plates followed by the letter A and a number up to 3 digits have been used on selected NJSP patrol cars since the 1959 base and continue to be used on selected NJSP patrol cars on the current base plate.

Picture of plate on car is needed
C.1965-1976: Standard state issued license plate (12" X 6" aluminum) Black over Straw:
N.J.
over TP-A### over GARDEN STATE
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection

NJ Troopers Fraternal Association Plate

Picture courtesy of Bill Ceravola

Embossed thin aluminum novelty. Unknown issue.
 
MOTORCYCLE PLATES OF THE NJSP
Motorcycles of the New Jersey State Police used standard state issued motorcycle
(8" X 3 3/4") license plates with a C prefix (Cycle) followed by the registration number.
Confirmed use NJSP cycle plates: 1927 # C 8216, 1935 # 4945, 1942 # 5913, 1942 # C 5936, 1943 # C 5625.
The distinctive markings were provided by a variety of titled fender plates, also known as "pedestrian slicers"


Fender plate courtesy of the Allan Attanasio Collection

Click on picture for larger image




Plate courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection


Fender plate courtesy of Tom Cardaropoli

This famous photo shows a New Jersey State Trooper, whose last name was Dowgin, in 1935 on Route 36 in Keyport, New Jersey. Trooper Dowgin went on to become a Captain and Commander of Troop D
(which patrols the New Jersey Turnpike).
Captain Dowgin retired in 1963.
The plate shown is consistent with NJSP
use of regular issue cycle plates,
a practice that continues today.
Picture courtesy of Joe Berk Photography
LICENSE PLATES OF THE NEW JERSEY MOTOR VEHICLE INSPECTORS (HIGHWAY PATROL)

A lot of people ask me why I include NJ "MV" license plates on the NJSP page. Most folks don't realize, that even prior to the NJSP's formation, the Inspectors of the state motor vehicle enforcement branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles were the first agents of statewide traffic law enforcement (since 1906!).

These MV Inspectors shared patrol jurisdiction with the State Police on NJ highways until 1979! The Enforcement Branch was known as the Highway Patrol and was given the authority to conduct proactive and reactive traffic enforcement duties on NJ highways.

These MV Inspectors also operated within the parameters of a paramilitary structure with similar rank designations as their contemporaries with other state law enforcement. In 1979, the Enforcement Branch of the DMV was transferred to the NJSP.

The MV Highway Patrolmen were not immediately given the rank of Trooper, and were relegated primarily as truck weight enforcement officers, instructing academy classes on motor vehicle law and regulatory investigations.

In 1984, the balance of the 125 NJ MV Inspectors were put through an "abbreviated" state police class and given the rank of Trooper.

License plate issuance for MVD
(Format and color mirror passenger plate issues of the time):
(Picture of plate is needed)
1933:
Standard state issued license plate
(15"X6" heavy gauge steel) Red over Black:
N.J.-'33 over M stacked over V
followed by number up to 2 digits.
Picture of plate on car is needed

1934: Standard state issued license plate
(15"X6" heavy gauge steel) Light green over Black:
N.J.-'34 over M stacked over V
followed by number up to 2 digits.
Picture courtesy of Allan Attanasio
Picture of plate on car is needed

1935: Standard state issued license plate
(15"X6" heavy gauge steel) Silver over Black:
N.J.-'35 over M stacked over V
followed by number up to 2 digits.
Picture courtesy of Allan Attanasio
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1936
: Standard state issued license plate
(15"X6" heavy gauge steel) Orange over Black:
N.J.-1936 over M stacked over V
followed by number up to 2 digits.
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1937
: Standard state issued license plate
(15"X6" heavy gauge steel) Light green over Black:
N.J.-1937 over M stacked over V
followed by number up to 2 digits.
Picture of plate on car is needed

1938: Standard state issued license plate
(15"X6" heavy gauge steel) Red over Black:
N.J.-'38 over M stacked over V
followed by number up to 2 digits.
Picture courtesy of Allan Attanasio

Picture courtesy of Allan Attanasio

1939: Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6" steel) Orange over Black:
NJ stacked over 39 followed by number up to 2 digits followed by M stacked over V
Picture courtesy of Allan Attanasio
Picture of plate on car is needed

1940: Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6" steel) Light Green over Black:
N.J. Stacked over '40 then number up to 2 digits
followed by M stacked over V.
Picture courtesy of Allan Attanasio
Picture of plate on car is needed

1941: Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6 3/4" steel) White over Black:
number up to 2 digits over N.J. '41
followed by M stacked over V
Picture courtesy of Allan Attanasio
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1942
: Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6 3/4" steel) Yellow over Black:
number up to 2 digits over N.J. 1942
followed by M stacked over V
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1943
: white/black steel tab used on 1942 base;
3 1/2 x 1 3/4; embossed "43" left;
serial number etched into metal over slot right
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1944
:Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6 3/4" steel) Black over Straw:
number up to 2 digits
over N.J. '44
followed by M stacked over V
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1945
:Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6 3/4" steel) Blue over Straw:
number up to 2 digits over N.J. 1945
followed by M stacked over V
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1946: Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6 3/4" steel) Black over Straw:
N.J. '46 over number up to 2 digits
followed by M stacked over V
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1947: Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6 3/4" steel) Blue over Straw:
number up to 2 digits over N.J. 1947
followed by M stacked over V
Picture of plate on car is needed

1948: Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6 3/4" steel) Black over Yellow :
N.J. '48 number over up to 2 digits
followed by M stacked over V
Picture courtesy of Allan Attanasio
Picture of plate on car is needed

1949: Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6 3/4" steel) White over Black:
number up to 2 digits over N.J. 1949
followed by M stacked over V
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1950: Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6 3/4" steel) Black over Straw:
number up to 2 digits over N.J. '50
followed by M stacked over V
Picture of plate on car is needed

1951: Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6 3/4" steel) White over Black:
number up to 2 digits over N.J. 1951
followed by M stacked over V
Picture courtesy of Allan Attanasio
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1952:
Standard state issued license plate
(10 3/4"X6 3/4" steel) Orange over Black:
M stacked over V followed by
number up to 2 digits over N. 52 J.
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1953:
Aluminum tab (2" x 1 1/4")
Black on Straw 53 embossed on raised area in center;
serial etched into metal along top.
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1954:
Red over aluminum tab (2" X 1 1/4")
54 embossed on raised area in center;
serial etched into metal along top
Picture of plate on car is needed

1955: 6 3/4" x 10 3/4" Yellow over Black:
number up to 3 digits over N.J.
followed by M stacked over V
Plate courtesy of the Allan Attanasio Collection
Picture of plate on car is needed

1956/57: Standard state issued license plate
(12" X 6") Orange over Black:
number up to 3 digits over N.J.
followed by M stacked over V
Plate courtesy of the Allan Attanasio Collection
Picture of plate on car is needed

1956/59:
Standard state issued license plate
(12" X 6") Orange over Black:
number up to 3 digits over N.J.
followed by M stacked over V
Plate courtesy of the Allan Attanasio Collection
Picture of plate on car is needed

c1964-c.1976:
Standard state issued license plate
(12" X 6") Black over Straw;
M V INSPECTOR
over MV-### over N.J.
Plate courtesy of the Allan Attanasio Collection

Picture courtesy of Allan Attanasio

c1977-c.1982:
Standard state issued license plate
(12" X 6") Black over Straw;
M V INSPECTOR
over MV-### over New Jersey
Plate courtesy of the Allan Attanasio Collection
Picture of plate on car is needed
(Picture of plate is needed)
1982-1992: Standard state issued license plate
(12" X 6") Buff over Blue; NEW JERSEY over
MV (state silhouette) ###
over GARDEN STATE
Picture of plate on car is needed

Note: In 1981, the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles celebrated 75 years and had commemorative license plates made. The plate was buff over blue and had 75th ANNIVERSARY over 1906 (state silhouette) 81
over N.J. DIV.OF M.V. The top and bottom lines are silk-screened and the numerals are embossed.
These plates were not run on vehicles but
were made as keepsakes for MVD staff members.
Picture courtesy of Allan Attanasio
MOTORCYCLE LICENSE PLATES OF THE NJMV Inspectors (Highway Patrol)
Motorcycles of the New Jersey MVD used standard state issued motorcycle
(8" X 3 3/4") license plates as the NJSP did. Unknown if title plates were
used on front and/or rear fenders.