New Mexico State Police

In 1933, the New Mexico Motor Patrol was established, primarily to enforce traffic laws. The state of Texas had recently created their own motor patrol, and they detailed Captain Homer Garrison to conduct the first New Mexico Motor Patrol recruit school at St. Michael's College in Santa Fe.

One hundred thirty-five men applied for the school; eighteen were selected to attend; and ten were finally chosen and commissioned as the first motor patrol officers. Each officer was issued a Harley Davidson motorcycle with siren, red light, and other accessories.

By 1935, the need to expand the authority and responsibility of the motor patrol was widely recognized. The Twelfth State Legislature changed the name of the organization to the New Mexico State Police, and gave its officers full police powers to enforce all laws of the state and complete statewide jurisdiction. The authorized strength was raised to 30 officers; the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, and captain were added; and salaries were increased.

The uniform adopted in 1936 is still in use today, with the exception of the riding breeches and boots favored by motorcycle officers. Around this time, seven Chevrolet sedans were added to the department's fleet and a new headquarters building was designed and constructed at a cost of $19,000.

By 1937, all patrol cars were replaced by motorcycles except for 3 (Chief, Detective and Pool car) 1938 saw the addition of the door shield design that is still in use today. In 1961, the transition began of phasing out black and white cars in favor of all white versions with a single red rooftop rotator light.

1973 saw the formation of the NMSP Tactical Team. In 1979, the NMSP was removed from the control of the Criminal Justice Department, and became an independent agency. 1980/81 saw the implementation of light bars to replace the double red rotator lights, and also saw the introduction of slick-top patrol cars for the first time. This program was accentuated in 1989 when six unmarked stealth units with HAWK radar sets were deployed throughout the Land of Enchantment. These cars varied in color and had red lights mounted on the front push bumpers and rear window parcel shelf.

In 1990, six 5 liter Ford Mustangs were purchased for patrol. These programs were phased out by 1993, with the last Mustang sent out to pasture.

Today, the authorized officer strength is 525 and the NMSP employ over 490 civilian employees in various capacities. The agency is responsible for coordinating all search and rescue operations in the state, narcotics & criminal investigations, as well as traffic enforcement, and a whole host of other specialized operations.

New Mexico State Flag

The yellow field and red symbol colors are the colors of Spain.
First brought to New Mexico by Spanish explorers in 1540.
On New Mexico's flag we see a red sun with rays streching out from it.
There are four groups of rays with four rays in each group.
This is an ancient sun symbol of a Native American
people called the Zia. The Zia believed that the giver of
all good gave them gifts in groups of four.
These gifts are:
The four directions - north, east, south and west.
The four seasons - spring, summer, fall and winter.
The day - sunrise, noon, evening and night.
Life itself - childhood, youth, middle years and old age.
All of these are bound by a circle of life and love, without a beginning or end.


Although 10 years before the formation of the New Mexico State Police
and two years after the abolition of the New Mexico Mounted Police
(as a state law enforcement agency on its own) , here's is a prime
specimen of a porcelain state highway department plate.

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

Click on the picture for a larger image

1939- First year of issue for titled
New Mexico State Police license plates.

Courtesy of Sgt. Ron Taylor- New Mexico State Police
 

1942 issue- Embossed Steel. (Approx. 6" 13.25")
Chief's Plate- RARE!
Courtesy of Agent Norman Rhoades-
New Mexico State Police
Picture Courtesy of Agent Norman Rhoades-
New Mexico State Police

1947 issue- Embossed aluminum (Approx. 6" x 13.25")
Courtesy of Agent Norman Rhoades-
New Mexico State Police

Click on the picture for a larger image

1952 issue- Embossed aluminum (Approx. 6" x 13.25")
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1960's issue-

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


Late 1960's issue- Black over reflective white (shellacked).
Not a well-known type. Unsure if this version was a general
issue or used as replacements were warranted at that time.

Courtesy of Agent Norman Rhoades -
New Mexico State Police
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1969-circa 1976 issue. No Zia symbol on this one.
1969 was the year New Mexico
began using the NEW MEXICO USA
for the bottom legend of the plate.
Courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?


1969-circa 1976 issue- Zia symbol on this one.
1969 was the year New Mexico began using the NEW MEXICO USA for the bottom legend of the plate.


Picture courtesy of Lance Bateman

1969-1976 issue- Chief's plate.

Courtesy of Agent Norman Rhoades -
New Mexico State Police
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1976-1983 issue- Attractive Bicentennial decal.
Only the number and border are embossed.

Picture Courtesy of Agent Norman Rhoades-
New Mexico State Police

Circa 1984-85 issue. STATE POLICE is silkscreened, remainder is embossed. A rare type.

Courtesy of Agent Norman Rhoades -
New Mexico State Police

Picture courtesy of Bill Ceravola

Picture courtesy of the NMSP Association
and The Roadrunner magazine

Circa 1984-85 issue.
STATE POLICE is silkscreened much larger than
example above. A rare type.

Picture courtesy of Bill Ceravola
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

unknown 1980's issue- Has embossing similar
to 1970's/80's passenger plates.



Picture courtesy of the NMSP Association
and The Roadrunner magazine


unknown 1980's issue- Double Zias-Has embossing
similar to 1970's/ 80's passenger plates,
but no confirmation on issuance history.
We are looking for a picture showing
this type plate on duty....
Can you help us?

1990's issue- Utilizes Texas dies for numbers. Step border.

Picture Courtesy of Agent Norman Rhoades-
New Mexico State Police

2000-Current issue- PRO BONO PUBLICO is latin for
"For the Public Good" or " For the Good of the Public"
(take your pick).

Circa 1937 NMSP Motorcycle plate (with sidecar)

Photo Courtesy of Sgt. Ron Taylor-
New Mexico State Police

Motorcycle Plate ~ 2002-Current issue
Courtesy of Captain Pat Werick -
New Mexico State Police

Courtesy of Agent Norman Rhoades-
New Mexico State Police

National Troopers Coalition issue.
Engraved and screened plastic.

Courtesy of the Bob Bruce Collection
 

National Troopers Coalition Conference issue
 

2002 National Troopers Coalition Plate

Picture courtesy of Wayne Tyler

Embossed plastic. Unknown use "booster" plate.
Any information regarding the issuance information
on this plate would be appreciated!
 

2009 New Mexico State Police Retired Trooper plate
Picture courtesy of Robert Trippeer
NM State Police (Retired)
 

New Mexico State Police Brotherhood Association
Front Plate

Picture courtesy of Robert Trippeer
NM State Police (Retired)