History of the Iowa State Patrol Shoulder Patch
Chief John Hattery and an instructor Sergeant from Maryland State Police went to the State Historical Building in Des Moines in the early summer of 1935 in search an appropriate design for planned patch for Iowa Highway Safety Patrol.
On display, they observed medals struck by the U.S. Mint of various designs. The most pleasing and meaningful to them was the gold medal commemorating the Louisiana Purchase exposition. The exposition was held in St. Louis in 1904 commemorating the transfer of northern Louisiana. Forty-two states and fifty-three nations took part in the exposition.
Since Iowa was a very important part of this purchase, they decided to use the shape of this medal for the first patch of the Iowa Highway Safety Patrol.
The Iowa State Patrol insignia is protected under state copyright laws
The History of the Iowa State Patrol Motorcycle Unit
Iowa Highway Safety Patrol patrolled roads for the first time July 28, 1935. The uniform for the summer was khaki jodhpur breeches and blouses, knee-high black boots, black ties, black gun belts and khaki visored caps. Patrolman carried a Colt 38 Special with a four inch barrel. For winter, the men were issued wool, olive drab uniforms and heavy overcoats. Patrolmen were paid $100.00 per month. The Patrol started patrolling for the first time with 50 officers and three supervisors, 37 cars and 12 motorcycles. Officers worked from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. AM radio receivers were used and the radio station transmitter was in Des Moines with the hours of operation from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m.
Motorcycles were ridden until the late fall, when men switched to cars until early spring. Occasionally, a motorcycle officer was forced by severe weather to seek shelter in a farmer’s barn and either wait out the storm or call – if the farm had a telephone – for a patrol car to come a nd pick him up so he could finish his shift.
The Motorcycle were in used on a regular basis since World War II, but in 1979 the Patrol purchased two Kawasaki motorcycles for the summer months.
Information and Photos provided by the Iowa State Police Public Relations Office.