Wyoming Highway Patrol

The Wyoming Highway Patrol was founded in 1933 and replaced the old and problem-plagued Wyoming Department of Law Enforcement. A suitable and honorable replacement was needed to allow a relatively seamless transition, so the Governor of the day approached the state Highway Commission to propose the establishment of a highway patrol.

California was setting the example for the western states with the successful implementation of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in 1929. Inspector William White of the CHP conducted the first WHP recruit class. Six patrolmen were selected from the remaining 14 who had attended the training school. 5 more were appointed shortly thereafter in that first year.

Experimental use of radar for speed enforcement began in 1954 along US 30 between Cheyenne and Laramie. 1963 was a benchmark year for the WHP as the Legislature approved the authorized force of the WHP to 75 officers, and the last 2 motorcycles were phased out of the patrol fleet.

In 1964, the WHP moved into the new Highway Department complex, and by 1969, the WHP ranks swelled to 99 officers and to 142 by the Fall of 1975. In 2000, a Canine program was implemented for the WHP.

Today, there are about 190 uniformed officers and many other Wyoming Highway Patrol personnel who continually make a big highway safety difference day in and day out all across Wyoming.

In a typical 12-month period, uniformed troopers will log over 5- million miles patrolling the 6,500 miles of the state highway system. They will write thousands of citations for violations of traffic laws, investigate more than 6,000 motor vehicle crashes and, generally and continually, make Wyoming highways as safe as they can be.

Officers of the WHP's Commercial Carrier Division inspect commercial carriers, so they don't become oversize hazards to themselves and to drivers and occupants of smaller, normal-sized vehicles.

There are the patrol's ports of entry personnel that also inspect and weigh commercial vehicles so that illegally overweight loads will not able to inflict added damage to state roads.

They also collect fees from truckers that help repair the wear and tear they do cause highways. Wyoming's rural western lifestyle and massive expanse of land only serve to bolster the need for the Wyoming Highway Patrol to continue on the course it has set for itself.

Wyoming State Flag

A bison on a blue field bordered in white and red.
The state seal branded on the bison. The woman represents
the state motto "Equal Rights" and the two men represent
cattle ranchers and miners. The words "Livestock", "Mines", "Grains" and "Oil"
represent Wyoming's wealth. The eagle and shield show support
for the United States. The dates 1869 and 1890 tell when Wyoming
organized as a territory of the United States and when it became a state.


1934 "H" prefix (Highway Department) plate
which WHP marked vehicles used to sport at that time.

Plate courtesy of Jack McGee
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this type plate on duty....
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1939 "H" prefix (Highway Department) plate which WHP marked vehicles used to sport at that time.
Picture courtesy of Lewis Sudonick

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1943 "H" prefix (Highway Department) plate which
WHP marked vehicles used to sport at that time.
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this type plate on duty....
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1947 "H" prefix (Highway Department) plate which
WHP marked vehicles used to sport at that time.


Picture courtesy of Norman Rhoades

1949
"H" prefix (Highway Department) plate
which WHP marked vehicles used to sport at that time.

Plate courtesy of Jack McGee
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this type plate on duty....
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Early 1950's
White over green on elongated base with HP prefix

Photo courtesy of Lewis Sudonick

1950's-1956 issue
Courtesy of Alan Schneider
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Late 1950's early 1960's issue- Embossed steel with reflective white. Some people erroneously attribute this plate as a 1966 issue as the colors match "regular" 1966 Wyoming plates. WHP plates in 1966 were the REVERSE color (green over white) and "WYO 66" embossed on the bottom. This plate uses the state name in full. This WYOMING state name die type was seen only on the 1956 Wyoming passenger plate. All subsequent Wyoming passenger plates ran WYO as the state identifier from 1957 to 1974.


Photo courtesy of Dan Coviello


1965 issue- Embossed steel, yellow over black
Plate courtesy of the Lewis Sudonick Collection
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1968 issue- Reflective yellow on brown
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1969 issue- Embossed steel. Reflective white

Courtesy of Lance Bateman
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1970 issue- Embossed steel, yellow over green
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
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1971 issue- Embossed steel. Reflective white
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1972 issue- Embossed steel. Reflective sheeting commenced and used ever since.
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1973 issue- Embossed steel.

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1974 issue- Embossed steel.
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1975- 1977 issue- Embossed galvanized steel. "75" thinly
debossed in lower right corner. 1976 and 1977 passenger validation stickers used. 1975 unstickered issue
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1975- 1977 issue- Embossed galvanized steel. "75" thinly debossed in lower right corner. 1976 and 1977 passenger validation stickers used.
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1978-1982 issue- Embossed galvanized steel. "78" thinly debossed on lower right corner. Step border commences and used ever since. 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982 passenger validation stickers used. There is also a version with smaller/thinner dies for the HP and numbers.
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1978-1982 issue. Version with smaller dies used for HP

Courtesy of the John Yeaw Collection
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1983-1987 issue- Embossed galvanized steel. "83" thinly debossed in lower right corner. 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987 passenger validation stickers used.
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1988-1992 issue- Embossed galvanized steel. "88" thinly debossed in upper right corner.

Photo Courtesy of Monty McCord

1988-1992 issue- Embossed galvanized steel. Example of this base showing the use of passenger validation stickers.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection

1992-1999 issue- Embossed galvanized steel. EXEMPT embossed. State name silkscreened. Small holograms of bucking bronco and "94" run vertically down the
sheeting of this plate.

Picture courtesy of
Jay Weinstein

2000-2001 issue- Flat screened aluminum. WHP along left margin and STATE TROOPER along bottom.

Picture courtesy of Darrell Dady

2001-2007 Flat screened aluminum. Devil's Tower base. Small R in circle indicates that bucking bronco and cowboy motif is a registered trademark of the State of Wyoming. Although the graphics came out in 2001, this all-screened plate came out closer to 2002.

2008-2009- Flat screened aluminum.
Boxier font style for STATE TROOPER and WHP

Plate Courtesy of Robert Ward



2008-2009. All-screened featuring
WHP 75'th Anniversary Emblem
(Note the anti-theft fasteners!)
Photo Courtesy of Robert Ward

Photo Courtesy of Robert Ward

Current Issue featuring the WHP shoulder patch
.
All screened plate, flat with stepped border.
Photo courtesy of Dennis Deal

1995 National Troopers Coalition conference souvenir plate offered by Wyoming Highway Patrol Association
 

Issued for Five State Commander's Conference in Jackson Hole- September of 2002.
Unknown usage. Any details would be appreciated.

1972 Sample Motorcycle plate