Missouri Highway Patrol

Missouri Highway Patrol

The History of the Missouri Highway Patrol Shoulder Patch

The Missouri State Highway Patrol was created by law September 14, 1931.  The organization was modeled after the military and as such, adopted a military-style uniform bearing no shoulder patch.  In 1937 the Patrol began wearing the present shoulder patch on the left sleeve of the uniform blouse; in 1944 the shoulder patch was added to the left sleeve of the uniform shirt.  The shoulder patch appeared on both sleeves of the shirt blouse, and new thermal jacket in 1977, and by 1980 the Patrol had added it to both shoulders of the parka.

     The design of the patch is depicted in gold trim on a blue field.  Patrol’s uniforms are French blue.

     Centered on the patch is an abbreviated replica of the Official Seal of the state of Missouri.  The central portion of the coat of arms is separated into two halves, the right side of which displays the coat of the United States, consisting of the eagle with arrows in its talons beneath a constellation of stars representing the states. 

     In genealogy, quadrupeds are the most honorable bearers.  The great grizzly bear being almost peculiar to the Missouri River and its tributaries, and remarkable for its prodigious size, strength, and courage, is borne in the lower left side of the division and is the principal charge of the Missouri shield.  The color of the shield is red and denotes hardiness and valor.

     The crescent, in heraldry, is borne on the shield by the second son, and on the Missouri shield the crescent denotes that Missouri was the second state (Louisiana being the first) formed out of the territory not within the original territorial limits of the United States and admitted to the Union.  The crescent also denotes the growing situation of this state as to inhabitants, wealth, power, etc.  The color blue on which the crescent rests signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

The coat of arms is surrounded by a band and bound by a buckle, denoting the connection existing between two governments and showing that, although connected by a compact, the state is independent as to internal concerns.

Over the coat of arms proper is the crest, and, in this case, is a helmet full faced grated with six bars that represent strength, enterprise, and hardihood.  The helmet, peculiarly on this coat of arms, is that assigned to sovereigns only.

Finally, the seal is supported on each side by a Missouri grizzly bear, rampant guardant proper standing on a scroll inscribed with the motto, “Service and Protection.”  From the Patrol’s creation, the members  were constantly reminded their mission  was to fairly and objectively enforce the law while treating people with dignity and respect and to provide “Service and Protection” to the people traveling the highways of the state of Missouri.

The History of the Missouri Highway Patrol Motorcycle Unit

On October 5, 1931 the first Highway Patrol  recruit class began six weeks of intensive training at the St. Louis Police Training Academy.  Upon completion of training, each man was signed to one of six troops located in various parts of the state.  they were given one week to prepare their move to their assigned locations.  The six troop headquarters were:  Troop A, Kansas City; Troop B, Macon; Troop C, Kirkwood; Troop D, Joplin; Troop E Sikeston; and Headquarters Troop, Jefferson City.  A captain was placed in charge of each troop.  The captain serving Jefferson City was not only the commander of Headquarters Troop, but the executive officer for the entire department.

The motor vehicle fleet for these first patrolmen consisted of 36 new Model A Ford Roadsters, a Ford sedan, a Plymouth sedan, and Oldsmobile, a Buick, three Chevrolets, and 12 Harley Davidson, three Indian, and two Henderson motorcycles.  The Roadsters, which cost $413.18 each, had twin Klaxon horns, a spotlight, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, and an electric “Patrol” sign behind the right side of the windshield.  All vehicles had license plates with the words “State Patrol” in bold letters but there were no decals on the sides.  None of the vehicles had sirens and there were no heaters in the cars.


The use of motorcycles for regular patrol was discontinued;


The Highway Patrol’s Safety Squadron was organized in April.  The squadron toured the state working traffic by selective enforcement and promoting traffic safety.  The squadron fleet consisted of 13 white motorcycles, one white Ford coupe with house trailer, four white panel trucks and two white coaches.  Members of the squadron had radio communications with one another and the nearest troop headquarters.


Six Harley Davidson motorcycles were purchased in August 1971.  They were used on special details such as fairs, parades, and for traffic control in congested areas. 


The Patrol retired its last two motorcycles from its fleet in February 1996.  The Kawasaki police motorcycles had been stationed in the Troop A area and had been used for parades and special details such as the State Fair and as escorts for the Olympic torch.  One of the two motorcycles was placed on display in the Patrol’s Safety Education Center.

1931 Harley-Davidson
1931 Ford Model A
1937 routine checks on Junction US. 54 and US 63
The Patrol Safety Squadron was organized in 1940
1940 Safety Squadron
(Photo provided by Ward)
(Photo provided by Ward)
(Photo provided by Ward)
1979 Kawasaki KZ 1000 Police
1979 Kawaski KZ 1000 Police
(Photo provided by Ward)
(Photo provided by Ward)
2011 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide
2018 Torch Run

Information and Photos provided by the Missouri Highway Patrol.