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History

Timeline
2016
2016

2016

2016
On February 23rd, a section of SR-16 was renamed Trooper Tony Radulescu Memorial Highway, to honor “Trooper Tony” who was killed on the highway four years earlier. On March 25th, Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill giving WSP Troopers a raise, in hopes to curb the number of troopers leaving..Read More
2015
2015

2015

106 commissioned personnel left the agency and by December the agency had 160 commissioned personnel vacancies. The fire season in 2015 proved to be even worse than the 2014 fire season. The Fire Mobilization Plan was authorized a record 30 times, for fires in 15 counties. A total of 867,429..Read More
2014
2014

2014

2014
On Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 10:37 am a major mudslide occurred four miles east of Oso, WA, on SR530, between the towns of Darrington and Arlington. The slide killed 43 people. 89 Troopers, Sergeants, and Lieutenants responded, working on search and rescue, incident command and traffic control. The summer..Read More
2013
2013

2013

2013
The Fire Training Academy became its own Division within the Fire Protection Bureau. Lean was implemented in Washington State Agencies, after Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order urging state agencies to improve services, outcomes and performances of state government; and created the Results Washington commission. On May 23, the..Read More
2012
2012

2012

2012
The 100th Trooper Basic Training Class started on June 18th and graduated on December 14th with 37 cadets.In November, the Regional Auto Theft Units were re-established in Pierce, King, Snohomish and Spokane Counties.
2011
2011

2011

WSP joined forces with Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to create a joint Chaplaincy Program. In April, Chaplain Mike Neil was selected as the WSP Senior Chaplain. In May, Washington State was recognized as having the third best safety rating for trucks in the country. Due to budget..Read More
2010
2010

2010

The Target Zero Team initiative began, with a handful of troopers in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties working full time to look for impaired drivers. In the first 24 months, the data-driven patrols saved 109 lives. The program was so successful that the legislature secured funding and expanded it to..Read More
2009
2009

2009

The first stage of the Fire Training Academy’s Capital Development Plan was completed in July with the completion of a forty-bed, two story dormitory. In November, the Forensic Laboratory Services Bureau received international accreditation from the American Society of Crime Lab Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board for their breath alcohol program. The..Read More
2008
2008

2008

2008
In May, the WSP was named the country’s “Best Dressed Agency” by the National Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors, and received the honor in 2009 as well. In July, the WSP began using specially equipped Cessna aircraft to assist with DUI enforcement. The program was named DUI Aerial Response..Read More
2007
2007

2007

The IACP named the WSP for the 2006 National Law Enforcement Challenge Award, “Best Law Enforcement Agency of its Size”. The WSP Commercial Vehicle Division received the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Leadership Award.
2006
2006

2006

Trooper Kelly Kalmbach was named the 2006 Trooper of the Year by IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police).
2005
2005

2005

2005
The Vessel and Terminal Security Division was created, which provides security for the Washington State Ferry system. Chief John R. Batiste was appointed Chief of the WSP by Governor Christine Gregoire.
2004
2004

2004

The AMBER Alert Web Portal was launched at the National Governor’s Association Conference in Seattle. The website was a model for recovering missing children and was a partnership between government agencies and the private sector.
2003
2003

2003

The “Tom Neff Industrial Park” was completed in Tumwater to house WSP Fleet, Supply and Property Management Divisions. On February 20, the El Protector program began. This program was implemented to address the increasing concern of Hispanic/Latino-surnamed drivers being over represented in fatal and felony collisions in the Mid-Columbia Valley...Read More
2002
2002

2002

2002
SIRT was changed back to SWAT after tactical responses began to arise as a result of Terrorist Attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on 9/11/2001.
1999
1999

1999

The Patrol began having Strategic Advancement Forums (SAF) to help increase accountability among employees. Strategic planning was integrated with POPS. By integrating long range planning with quality business practices, and developing partnerships, the WSP is ensuring that the service needs of Washington’s citizens are being met.
1998
1998

1998

1998
WATCH (Washington Access To Criminal History) was launched by the Criminal Records Division. This allowed the public to obtain criminal history information online.The ADAT (Aggressive Driving Apprehension Team) program started, utilizing unmarked patrol cars to proactively locate and arrest those who drive aggressively on Washington roadways. A five year strategic..Read More
1997
1997

1997

A Problem Oriented Public Safety (POPS) philosophy was initiated by the agency, following the award of a Community Oriented Policing grand from the federal government. The award added 72 trained POPS officers to the patrol over a three year period. POPS signaled the beginning of a new problem-solving philosophy that..Read More
1996
1996

1996

Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) and Methamphetamine Lab Response Team combined to create a Statewide Incident Response Team (SIRT).
1995
1995

1995

1995
Chief Annette Sandberg was the first woman appointed to head a state law enforcement agency. She was also the youngest of either gender when she was appointed in April, at the age of 33. The State Fire Marshal’s Office joined the agency when the Legislature transferred the Fire Protection Services..Read More
1991
1991

1991

A Mobile Computer Network (MCN) became operational, and the WSP gained international recognition for its development of the system that linked laptop computers in patrol cars with satellite and land-based radio communication technology.
1990
1990

1990

The Patrol was responsible for the security of 2,500 athletes when the Goodwill Games came to Washington.
1989
1989

1989

Washington State Legislature passed a bill to incorporate a DNA typing laboratory into the existing Seattle Crime Lab, staffed by specially trained personnel. The Patrol purchased five “Total Stations” to survey traffic collision investigations.
1988
1988

1988

1988
The Patrol was the fourth state to receive the honor of receiving national accreditation through CALEA. Portable pre-breath test instruments (PBTs) were issued to Troopers. The WSP Communication Centers started answering 911 calls statewide.
1987
1987

1987

The first woman trooper was promoted to sergeant. In addition, the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system was installed as a pilot program in Olympia, which was later implemented statewide. Construction of the Academy’s multi-purpose building was completed. An Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) was implemented, and the Safety Education Officer..Read More
1986
1986

1986

The WSP Athletic Association was formed.
1985
1985

1985

1985
The first African American trooper was promoted to sergeant. The Missing Children’s Clearinghouse was established
1983
1983

1983

The Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation was created as a non-profit charitable organization to provide assistance to employees in times of need, including the children of WSP officers killed in the line of duty.
1981
1981

1981

Washington Crime Information Center (WACIC) was brought online which provided faster response time as well as access to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center computer system and direct entry of missing adults and runaway children
1980
1980

1980

The “Safety Education Program” was cut due to lack of funding. Washington Legislatures approved the creation of the WSP Crime Laboratory system. One year later four more crime laboratories were added, including Tacoma, Marysville, Kelso and Kennewick.
1979
1979

1979

1979
During the Walla Walla Penitentiary riot, Troopers provided security, walking the walls for weeks. A federal grant allowed the patrol to purchase several motorcycles for traffic control, after going without for years.
1977
1977

1977

A department physiologist was hired to help those who had personal need.
1975
1975

1975

1975
The first female trooper was hired.
1974
1974

1974

The Identification and Criminal History Section was established, with two full service crime laboratories set up a year later in Seattle and Spokane.
1973
1973

1973

The Investigative Assistance Division was established, including the Narcotics Section, Organized Crime Intelligence Unit, Missing Children Clearinghouse, and a Clandestine Laboratory Response Team.
1972
1972

1972

The Vehicle Identification Section began with eight men, assigned to wrecker yard inspections, and a year later operations were expanded to the inspection of all (except brand new) vehicles first licensed in the state. The section later became known as the Auto Theft Section.
1971
1971

1971

District 2 headquarters moved to Bellevue.
1970
1970

1970

The Drug Control Assistance Unit was created.
1968
1968

1968

1968
All Patrol vehicles were converted to white. The new WSP Training Academy was built on 23 acres near the existing training facility in Shelton. The drive course was constructed on an adjacent 165 acres, and is considered one of the finest in the country.
1967
1967

1967

A statewide responsibility for aircraft registration was given to the Aviation Division, and a year later moved to the Olympia Airport from Boeing Field.
1965
1965

1965

The Patrol gained responsibilities for the safety of the Governor of Washington.
1962
1962

1962

District 7 was formed, taking the northern counties from District 2, with its headquarters in Everett.
1959
1959

1959

The aviation program began, with its primary responsibility as a search and rescue operations, aircraft accident investigation and enforcement of aeronautics laws.
1956
1956

1956

1956
Headquarters for the Patrol moved into the General Administration Building in Olympia. Badge insignias started appearing on patrol car doors, and have stayed true to the original design with a navy bolt with a black and white replica of the badge.
1955
1955

1955

Civilian weigh masters were first hired to work the weigh stations and portable scale.
1954
1954

1954

1954
WSP was awarded the National Safety Councils Grand Award, being recognized as one of the finest law enforcement organizations in the nation.
1951
1951

1951

The first radars were used on stationary devices.
1949
1949

1949

Four door sedans began to replace the old “paddy wagons”. The sedans came with improved police equipment, special engines, transmissions and ready for high speed rear ends.
1948
1948

1948

District 6 was formed, taking the north central counties from District 4, with headquarters in Wenatchee.
1947
1947

1947

1947
The first WSP academy opened in the old Navy bachelor officers’ quarters near the Shelton Airport.
1946
1946

1946

The Washington State Patrol was number 1 out of 11 Western States regarding traffic safety.
1945
1945

1945

1945
President Harry S. Truman reviewed our patrolmen on the Capital Campus.
1943
1943

1943

The patrol set up its own communications network, completing the installation of two-way sets in all vehicles. The Motor Vehicle Inspection Division and Weight Division was created, and were responsible for checking trucks for size, weight, and license violations. Both divisions previously were under the Department of Highways.
1942
1942

1942

1942
Safety Education, which had been started in 1929, was formalized with the formation of the Public Relations Division, staffed by seven men. The Patrol’s first radio station (or communications center) was installed in Olympia.
1940
1940

1940

WSP was recognized to have the largest fingerprint files west of the Mississippi.
1939
1939

1939

District 5 was established, separating some of the southern counties from District 1, with headquarters in Vancouver.
1937
1937

1937

1937
Bowties became a part of the patrolman’s uniform. The first cadet class was initiated, and the Criminal Investigation Bureau was formed.
1936
1936

1936

The state was divided into four Patrol districts, with a Captain in charge of each district. District 1, with headquarters in Tacoma consisted of 14 counties, including all of Southwest Washington and the Olympic Peninsula. District 2, with headquarters in Seattle, consisted of six northwest counties. District 3, with headquarters..Read More
1933
1933

1933

Washington State Legislature acknowledged the need for a police organization that was mobile and could be concentrated immediately at any place in the state where the public safety was endangered. The Highway Patrol Division officially became known as the Washington State Patrol, which had been given full police powers. The..Read More
1928
1928

1928

1928
Chief Cole changed the uniform color from grey to forest green and added black trim, a Sam Brown belt, and “cap” style hat.
1927
1927

1927

The Patrol bought it’s first “paddy wagons”, a Ford panel delivery truck which was assigned to the major mountain highway at Snoqualmie Pass.
1925
1925

1925

Chief William Cole was appointed the first Chief of the Washington State Highway Patrol. Prior to Chief Cole’s appointment by Governor Roland H. Hartley, Ms. Helen Shaw assumed the duties of Chief for a few weeks.
1924
1924

1924

Patrolmen made arrangements with a local clothing store to provide the same uniform for every man in the highway patrol. Their attire included motorcycle caps, grey Norfolk jackets, riding breeches, brown leather puttees and boots.
1921
1921

September 1, 1921

September 1, 1921
The first Washington State Highway Patrol Officers were sworn in. They were Harold Lakeburg, Harry Harkins, Hentry Shunk, William Clark, Eugene Russell, and George Potter. The officers first vehicles were Indian Motorcycles.  
1921

June 8, 1921

Washington State Legislature authorized the appointment of a highway police with the power of peace officers.