DIVISION OF FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL
50TH ANNIVERSARY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Interview with Major C. W. Keith
Employed with FHP July 1, 1941
Interviewed by Jim Roddenberry
Date Interviewed January 17, 1989
JM: Good Morning! I am Jim Roddenberry and I am in the Florida
Highway Patrol Headquarters Building which is located in
the Neil Kirkman Building, Tallahassee, Florida. Today's
date is January 17, 1989, and it is Tuesday. It is a
beautiful morning. The temperature is in the low forties
early this morning. I have the pleasure of conducting an
oral interview of retired Florida. Highway Patrol Major C.
W. Keith. Also a retired Director of the Division of
Drivers License. The purpose of this interview is for the
Florida Highway Patrol oral history project in conjunction
with the Patrol's observance of its 50th Anniversary this
year and also in conjunction with the University of Florida
oral history program. Major Keith on the behalf of
Director Burkett and the staff of the Florida Highway
Patrol, let me just say that we appreciate so much you
taking your time to come out and participate in this
program. I think that during the year as you see the
events progress in the celebration of the Patrol's history,
which you were so much a part of over the years, that you
will like what you hear and what you see, so again, just
thank you so much. As a part of this interview we will
talk about your tenure or the many, many years you spent
with the Patrol, but we would also like to talk something
about Clay Keith himself and we won't start with when you
came on the Patrol, Major Keith, we will began back first
of all when were you born?
CWK: I was born July 4, 1917.
JM: Where were you born, Major Keith?
CWK: Born outside of Asheville, a little place called Democrat
which has now been incorporated and most of my boyhood days
were spent with my grandmother in this small community.
JM: Now where was this, Major Keith?
CWK A little place outside of Asheville called Democrat.
JM: And Asheville is in
JM: in South
CWK: North Carolina and Asheville is in Bunko County.
JM: What was your dad's name?
CWK: Dad's name was Frederick William Keith. Now I don't know
too much about my father, because he and my mother
separated when I was real small and as a result practically
up until I went to I guess until I was about the fifth or
sixth grade I didn't see my mother too much. She worked at
the Veterans Hospital at Oteen, North Carolina, which is
about forty miles from that little' farm of my grandmothers,
so I didn't know too much about him. When we moved into
Asheville, when I was about seven years old and I attended
the public schools in Asheville, and when I graduated from
high school I received a scholarship to go to Morris Hill
College, and Wake Forest College down in the eastern part
of the state contacted me. I didn't have the money in
those days, a scholarship only meant paying for the books
and maybe while you were there they would see that you got
enough employment with the university to keep to help a
JM: Was it an academic scholarship?
CWK: Yes and so I went to Morris Hill College which is about
twenty-five miles northwest of Asheville. It is a junior
college and played baseball for them and of course up in
the mountains North Carolina there if you can play baseball
in the summer time you had a job with a blanket mill like
in Swannanoa, North Carolina. They had a big blanket mill
there. In fact North Carolina and South Carolina probably
at that time was the largest textile states in the United
States turn out most all of your blankets came out
of those two states. So in the summer time I played for
Bekin Mills that was a plant that made blankets and so I
got about $15.00 a week and back in those days for someone
first year in college that was good money. Of course when
I went to Morris Hill, I played ball for Morris Hill and we
played Furman up in South Carolina several small colleges,
but ..because of sickness and so forth at home I didn't
finish. I went only one year.
JM: Let us go back let us get your what was your
mother's full name, Major Keith?
CWK: Mother's full name was Annie Mable.
JM: And her the last name was her her maiden name.
CWK: Buckner B-u-c-k-n-e-r
JM: All right Annie A-n-n-i-e Mable Buckner B-u-c-k-n-e-r. So
after you attended college for a year where did you go from
CWK: I was running a or working for a drug store there in a
little place called Oteen, North Carolina.
JM: And you were about nineteen or twenty at that time?
CWK I was, yes, about eighteen nineteen and a friend of mine,
Mr. Earl Brown, from DeLand, Florida, he brought his family
up to North Carolina every year. So I got to know him. He
was a promoter, a craftsman, I guess you would say that he
was, today we would say that he was in the marketing
business. He build dy for exhibits and in
fact he put on the exhibit for the State of Florida when
they had an exhibit at the at Chicago at the Century
Progress Fair at Chicago, that was 33 and 34 and in 35 and
36 at the Great Lakes Exhibition and Cleveland he put on an
exhibit for the State of Florida. So he came in the drug
store one day and I got to talking with him and he told me
that when I got some time off to come and see him in
JM: Now you were taking about the year 1935, 1936?
CWK: 1935 well I would say this was about this was in 1939
when I was talking with him. So that was in the spring of
1939, so I got some time off and went down to DeLand to see
him and of course he had a business called the Florida
National Exhibits. He was a promoter as I say he was
surrounded by a group of craftsmen, machinist, and people
like that and he would help by building things to sell your
product. That was his business and of course he was the
mayor of DeLand. So I stayed down there for about a week
and he told me he said, why don't you stay down here, you
can work for me. So during that time there were some
articles in the newspaper about the Highway Patrol being
JM: In Florida?
CWK: In Florida, now keep in mind in North Carolina, I had
already made an application for the North Carolina Highway
Patrol. So any how I started working for him and he had a
contract with the State of Florida to put the exhibit at
the World Fair and so I went to work for him.
JM: And we and we in 1939
CWK: Thirty-nine in December.
JM: OK December of 39.
CWK: Right and we started preparing all the exhibits for the
World Fair in 1940 or you know, so I went to New York with
him and of course he was just like a father to me, he and
his wife, and I met a lot of real important people at that
time or turned out to be later. Grover Whalen who was the
Mayor of the City of New York he was real close to Mr.
Brown 'and I would visit with them. I guess maybe the first
time I ever saw a fifty dollar bill was when I was with
that group. I didn't know they made one. But we worked
and put those exhibits in and I was helping on an
electrical part. We had a lot of craftmen there. It was
what you, I guess my specific responsibility was trying to
help out, I was a helper I didn't have much training in
that area, but any how it was cold up there. I had never
been that far north and during that period of time while I
was at the Fair as I indicated I met Johnny Weismiller,
Eleanor Home, I met Gregory Peck, these are people that
were in other booths with plays and things of this nature.
Everybody would come in of the morning and go through the
styles and go to work. Diana Shore she was in an exhibit
up there trying to get off the ground singing and things of
this nature. So, I met Governor Combs in the Florida
Building we had a room for the governor and had a lot of
parties and all of this was to sell the State of Florida.
This was what the state was spending to get the people to
come to the State of Florida that is what it was all about.
During that process, I come to know Mr. Ed Ball real well
and back when we left New York and came back when the Fair
was over the first year, I use to take Mr. Brown down to
Port St. Joe to see him. So when the Patrol started
talking about putting men on and so forth, I got an
application and submitted the application and had some good
references and I told Mr. Brown that this was really what I
wanted to do. He said well if he could help he would be
JM: What motivated you Major Keith to become interested in law
CWK: Well there were quite a few individuals in my family that
were in enforcement in North Carolina,
Asheville, County, 'some were on the police
department and some were on the sheriff's department. I
grew up around people in enforcement so I guess that was
the motivation and everybody respected them and so this was
what I wanted to do. So when they started organizing the
Patrol up in North Carolina, I put my application in up
there before I left to come to Florida. But I guess to
make a long story short, I didn't seem like I was getting
too far with my application and you kept waiting on the
mail everyday. So I come to Tallahassee and the
legislature was in session, not the legislature, what was
happening was at the time I came to Tallahassee it was in
November of 1940, well that was right after Governor
Holland had been elected to governor and there was a
Cherokee Hotel and I ran into later turned out to be
Tony Maseda all dressed up in his uniform, looked real
sharp, with boots and his britches and so forth. I talked
with him and told him who I was and so forth. He told me
that they had many, many applications down at the
headquarters but he gave me some tips on who to contact.
JM: Where was headquarters?
CWK Headquarters was in the Martin Building, the Highway Patrol
in the Martin Building.
JM: What did the old Martin Building use to be back during that
time, what was its purpose?
CWK: Well the Martin Building housed the Department of Motor
Vehicles and Highway Patrol had part of the bottom floor of
the Martin Building, what is now the old Martin Building
was torn down and now the City Hall is there in that place.
But Tony gave me some good advice on who to contact and he
told me that the Chairman of the Road Department and the
Governor was the persons that was in charge of the Highway
Patrol and that was right at that time. When it was first
organized it was under the Governor and the Chairman of the
Road Department. He told me that the Chairman of the Road
Department, Judge Perkins, was from DeLand. He told me,
well he got out a map, told me I had to know the geography,
I still got that map, and told me about what I needed to
study the laws of evidence, things of this nature, and he
told me to go by the Martin Building and maybe I could pick
on up. I went by the Martin Building and I met Frank
Tidwell who was one of the original members of the Highway
Patrol and Frank lent me a accident investigation book to
use plus a book on evidence, I have still got those two
JM: Was he an officer, Major Keith?
CWK: No, he was a trooper, he was a trooper.
JM: Was he assigned to the Martin Building?
CWK: He was assigned to Tallahassee and I think he was from
really down on the east coast, Frank Tidwell, so Frank gave
me that and when I got back to DeLand I asked Mr. Brown if
he knew Judge Peacock, he was the County Judge, and he said
yes I know the Judge. Well he was real close, he was
apparently one of Governor Holland's closest friends there
in Volusia County. I went to see him and talked with him
and told him I was interested in it and so he told me that
he would do what he could, he understood that they had
5,000 or 10,000 applications up here. He said you know
they are just going to put on a few. But in the meantime,
I had met Betty Stover, my wife. Now Betty she lived in
DeLand and her father was Dr. Ervin C. Stover and he was a
professor at the Stetson University in charge of the speech
department. He was real close to Judge Peacock. So I had
to go talk to Dr. Stover.
JM: Was Judge Peacock a County Judge?
CWK: He was a County Judge.
JM: Do you recall his full name?
CWK: No I don't.
JM: All right.
CWK: Dr. Stover he went to see the Judge too I think Betty's
father was on the School Board and in fact, Judge Peacock
just lived three or four blocks from Dr. Stover. So I got
word from Dr. Stover that Judge Peacock wanted to see me
again. So I went to see him and he told me that he was
coming to Tallahassee and wanted to know if I wanted to
come with him and he said we will go in and see Director
Gillman and I said yes sir.
JM: Who was Director Gillman?
CWK: He was, when Governor Holland was inaugurated in January of
1941, he appointed Jess J. Gillman as Director of the
Department of Public Safety and he was the man that we went
to see. So I thought we never would get to Tallahassee.
JM: In 1941.
CWK: In 1941.
JM: In 1941.... inaudible....
CWK: I don't know it seems to me like I don't know this was in
the spring, I guess, 1941. So the Judge knew him real
good, Judge smoked a little corn cob pipe and he was always
sticking his fingers down in it to keep the ashes inside.
We went into his office in the Martin Building, ground
floor, and he had several people around in the building and
in his office, Ms. Ruby Redfern that used to work for us
that was Major Smith's secretary and was with us even out
in the Kirkman Building for years, you know Ruby. She was
his secretary, Ms. Redfern told us, the Judge had
apparently been there before because she acted like she
knew him if it hadn't been that it was either that or she
had a good personality knowing how to deal with people, so
we got in finally, Judge Peacock went in and in a few
minutes I was called in, I met Mr. Gillman and he asked me
a little bit why I wanted on the Patrol and where I was
from and so forth like that and so I told him. He
indicated that the cap on the Patrol the legislature had
just I think he indicated that the legislature, well was
either in session, I think the legislature was in session
from what he indicated, that they were raising the cap from
sixty up over one hundred men for the Patrol, but he was
telling me and Judge Peacock how many applications he had.
He said he had a file cabinet full of them, but he told the
Judge he would keep me in mind and we left. I say we left,
we went down to see a gentlemen by the name of Tribble who
was in the Attorney General's office, he used to be a
professor at Stetson University, who was a close friend to
Dr. Stover, Mr. Tribble, then after we got through we went
back to DeLand. Everyday I was looking for that letter and
I just had my heart and soul set on getting on the Patrol.
I didn't know, you get to thinking about I guess I am not
telling you anything I imagine that whenever you put your
application in for the Patrol you probably felt the same
way I did. You would meet the postman everyday whenever he
was coming. So, the letter finally came. I don't know
what date that I received the letter in DeLand, but I still
got the letter and that letter from Mr. Gillman indicated
that I had been asked to participate in the Patrol school
in Lakeland, Florida, at the Floridian Hotel. Be there by
July 1, and it had a paragraph in it that they advised me
not to quit your employment but to tell your employer that
to ask him for a kind of a leave. Because they had so many
applicants if you failed to pass then you would have a job
whenever you got back. They didn't and I felt like today
looking back I thought that was real good to say listen
don't quit your job, be here but in case you don't make it
you will have something to go back to.
JM: You were still working with Mr. Brown?
CWK: Still working with Mr. Brown. It indicated that even
though that we were selected to attend the school that
didn't mean that we were going to have a job, that we would
be on our own. We would have to pass the examinations and
it indicated that your political friends may have helped
you get this application or get to Lakeland, but they were
not going to help you with your grades and he wanted us to
understand that. There was a paragraph on that, about the
political angle that had you not had some friends it just
spelled it out that was fortunate enough to get you where
you are that's good, but from now on you are on your own.
If you don't make it you are not going to stay there. Well
I guess I was the proudest man that ever walked down the
JM: Were you a single man at that time?
JM: You knew Miss Betty during that time?
CWK: Oh yes.
JM: And you knew Dr. Stover?
CWK: Yeah, 'a single man, No, No, I got married May 1, 1940.
JM: All right let's talk about that. All right you got married
May 1, 1940, to and what was Miss Betty's full name to
include her maiden name?
CWK: Her name was Elizabeth Gwendolyn Stover.
JM: All right you were married when in 1940?
CWK: May 1, 1940, in DeLand in her home.
JM: And you were living in DeLand, still there?
JM: OK let us go on to your, let's talk about your family life
for just a minute and through the years you had two real
fine children, tell me just a little bit about those
children, when was the first one born and where they are
CWK: Nancy my oldest daughter, her name is Nancy Keith Wheaton
now, she married a Wheaton.
JM: When was she born?
CWK: She was born September 9, 1941, she now lives in Lake City,
her husband is the Director of the Veterans' Hospital over
JM: And what is his name?
CWK: His name is Tom F. Wheaton, and they have two children, one
is named Tommy and the other one is Annie. I have a son
who was born July 3, 1943, in Lakeland, Florida.
JM: What is his full name?
CWK: His name is Paul Frederick Keith and he works with the
Department of Administration here in Tallahassee. He has
two children, Jessica and Kelly, one is seven and one is
JM: His wife's name is?
CWK: Her name is Debbie.
JM: Maiden name?
CWK: Crumwell, she was from over Fairhope, Alabama. He met her
at FSU. Then after Paul came along, after Paul was born,
I, you know, I thought we were through with our family.
Here about thirteen years later in 1957, we had a little
one, Betty did, Catherine Ann Keith. Catherine was born
here in Tallahassee, and she lives in Tallahassee now. She
works for, she majored in Marketing, Advertisement, and Art
at FSU. She works for Commissioner Connor at the present
time. Of course that was, Cathy is probably we know more
about her, she has been, well I am just glad she came along
because she has meant so much to us. All of them are doing
well and I am proud of them.
JM: You may have told me Cathy's date of birth but in the event
you didn't, what is it
CWK: Catherine's date of birth is July 12, 1957, all my children
except one was born in the month of July in an odd numbered
year except my oldest daughter, even my grand baby Kelly
was born July 1.
JM: It is a coincidence.
CWK: Yeah and of course Betty's is on the 13th of July.
Throughout the years Betty has been good and hung in there
with us and since I retired I guess maybe the hardest job I
have had is getting adjusted to her. Since the
reorganization in 1969 I have been coming out to this
building out here the Kirkman Building and be here at 7 and
get home about 5:30 or 6:00. I just didn't know the woman.
JM: You didn't mention the Saturdays and Sundays that you were
out here too, Major Keith that I do know about. All right
that's all right we will talk about this a little bit later
on. All right so you got your family and you got a lot to
be proud of there. We got you down in Lakeland now where
they have just about scared you to death as far as coming
on the Patrol with the letter you got so let us pick up
CWK: All right at the school there they had, as a result of
being with Captain Martin who was probably responsible for
the school being there as well as Jess Gillman he was from
Lakeland, Governor Holland was from Bartow, but there was
121 that reported to that school.
JM: When was this Major?
CWK: This was 1941, July. July 1, 1941, was when my letter said
to report. I know from being around Captain Martin back in
those days how many reported, I know how many graduated.
The largest school we have ever had and since that time we
have none that were larger. There was 87 in that school
that graduated. Most of the men disqualified because of
some physical impairment. Everybody was scared to death.
Every time that they had a class they would tell you, they
used a lot of diplomacy there, they would tell you that if
you didn't pass this examination that you would have to go
because they didn't have, they had a quote here. They
couldn't go beyond it because all of the fees for drivers
licenses went to support the Department of Public Safety
but they told you when you went in if you had a test that
day and if you didn't pass that test that you would have to
JM: How long was the school scheduled for?
CWK: One month, four weeks, and of the morning we would get up
and most of our training was, well a lot of our exercise
was up on the top of the hotel. Then the National Guard,
back of the National Guard was a field, Lieutenant
Robinson, Robby Robinson.
JM: Ralph Robinson?
CWK: Ralph Robinson, he is the one that was training us.
JM: Let's go back if I may revert just a second to Captain
Martin, what was his full name Major Keith do you recall?
CWK: Howard C. Martin.
JM: And he was calmly referred to as was it Red Martin?
CWK: Yeah. So we every morning we would get up and of course
we would have dungarees that we would put on and then we
would,' for our exercise, he would march us down the street
out to the Armory, about a quarter of a mile. I remember
the first morning that he lined us all up, he said, he was
a real comical individual, lined us all up and said OK
those of you that were in the Marine Corps. take two steps
forward and of course out of the group I guess two lines
there were several men to step forward, then he said OK the
rest of you can go home.
JM: Well now he was an Ex-Marine if I recall.
CWK: Yeah and he would let you know it too. So he said rest of
you go home. Then they had a gentleman from Northwestern
Traffic Institute to teach evidence, that was the hardest,
accident investigation, and then they had
McArthur was the attorney for the Department. He taught
the traffic laws and the drivers license laws and so forth.
It was hard on us, I guess, now I was ahead of the game
because when I got to school I knew they placed a lot of
emphasis on geography. I knew every road in the state
where it started and where it ended. The counties, county
seats, and I could draw the map and put the counties in.
Finally when Captain Hall from Eglin Field, I had a man to
make us a map, went to the State Road Department and got a
map and he cut the map out in a jigsaw puzzle for them to
use at the school where they would know where the counties
went. So I already had that behind me and a lot of the
information in the evidence book, accident investigation, I
had read those books one or two times and I, the meeting
with Tony, the meeting with Frank Tidwell and those books
helped me tremendously. I possibly wouldn't have my friend
that I got to know while I was in school spent so much
time on that geography..
JM: On the map.
CWK: Yeah on the map. Anyhow we got through a lot of the men,
what would make you nervous is that you were going up to
the class room people men were leaving with their suit
cases going down, this is what really, you know that 'had a
terrific affect on you and so here I was I just hoped
and prayed that I would you know make my grades and so
JM: Well Major Keith did you draw salary from the Patrol while
you were attending recruit -class?
CWK: Yes I think we drew maybe $50 or $75 I don't know. There
was something here.
JM: What was the first salary you recall?
JM: That was you know upon completion of the Patrol school
CWK: Yes, Yes.
CWK: After we graduated then they called us in and, this about
scared us to death, they selected 30 of us to stay an
additional two weeks to take to learn how to give
drivers licenses examinations.
JM: I see.
CWK: See in 1941 that legislature whenever Mr. Gillman was
appointed Director in January 1941 he had legislation
prepared. When the Department of Public Safety in 1939,
the Director of the Department was under the Governor and
the Chairman of the Road Department. The reason they did
that they felt like that, and that is one reason why
Colonel Kirkman was hired, they felt like that the man here
that was on the Patrol ought to know something about
weights and engineering. This you will find is in the
history of the Highway Patrol. That is the reason they put
the Chairman of the Road Department in there. Mr. Gillman
drew a bill and then when one was organized we had two
divisions, the Highway Patrol and the State Motor Vehicle
Drivers License. That was under the Motor Vehicle
JM: The Drivers License then were...inaudible...to be
administered prior to 1941 by this, by who now?
CWK: By the state Motor Vehicle Commission.
JM: All right.
CWK: The money was ear marked for the Highway Patrol, so you had
a clumsy situation here, so Mr. Gillman did two things, the
bill provided in part that the Director of the Department
of Public Safety would be hired and under the control of
the Governor and Cabinet. That the Division of Drivers
License be moved transferred from the Motor Vehicle
Commission to Public Safety. It also provided that you
have an increase in drivers license, those under eighteen
years of age could get a license for fifty cents. Those
over the age of eighteen it cost a dollar and they had what
they called multiple license. You as a father could go in
and get licenses for everyone in your family if you had the
money and if you had enough information to fill out the
JM: Without any type of examination?
CWK: Without any type of examination. But this was not unusual
because most of the states that is the way they started
JM: This is a continuation of the interview with Major Keith on
January 7, 1989. Major Keith we were talking just before
we turned the tape over about the DL fees and that most
states had a way of doing this, pick back up from this.
CWK: Yes, as I indicated that in order to hire additional
personnel they had to be an increase in fees. At that
particular time the drivers license fees was ear marked for
the operation of the Department of Public Safety. That
bill provided for an increase. It also provided that
anyone after October 1, 1941, who had let their license
expire as well as those people who had been suspended or
revoked would have to take a drivers license examination to
get a license. So that is where your examination
started was October 1, 1941. Now these, and the County
Judges issued the drivers license. We prepared the
application, the applicant would take the application to
the County Judge and pay his fee and get his drivers
license. Now I got a little ahead of myself here about the
bill so that morning that 30 of us were called out of that
class room before the end of the school not knowing what we
were called out for.
JM: You thought the school might have just ended for you?
CWK: Yes, we thought it had ended. So we were pulled out and
they told us that we had been selected, there were 30 of us
that had been selected to give drivers license
examinations, and this was new, so therefore, we would have
to stay an additional two weeks. But they were going to
give us four or five days off to go home but we had to come
JM: Four or five days would be after you had graduated from the
..inaudible...month long Patrol school.
CWK: That was the question that was asked more right then, are
we still on the Patrol, that was the first question that we
asked. I think Captain Martin was the one that was talking
with us. He or Sergeant Clifton that was Colonel Reid
JM: Who later became?
CWK: The Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. Now he was
there during the school, Colonel Clifton and Clyde Carlan
and Britt, now Britt came in Captain Britt, Mack Britt,
whenever we came back for the examiners school. I am
thinking later Simmons was in that school. H. Lee Simmons
who was finally the Deputy Inspector a great man and all of
us had determined years later that we were the ones
selected to go we were on the hit list we felt like that
was the reason they gave us the job to do the examining.
But any how we returned to Lakeland and Glenn Carmichael
was the one who taught us. Glenn Carmichael was the one at
that time was with the National Safety Council. He later
was the Executive Director of the American Association of
Motor Vehicle Administrators, then he went from there when
Dr. Hadden was appointed the first Director of National
Highway Safety Administration, he was, Dr. Hadden was the
first one that was appointed and he selected Glenn
Carmichael to help him, so Glenn left the Association at
that time. I just wanted to give you some background. But
he conducted the school and we felt bad about it because we
later found out, see when you, when the people who
graduated from that school, there were some things that
were real important to us. The appointment card, your
badge number, your revolver had all the same number.
appointment card, badge number, and your revolver that was
real important to us. Some of us because that we assumed
being pulled out maybe that. didn't work out for us. Mine
was just right.
JM: What was your number?
CWK: 159 that was my badge number and I have still got it,
appointment card too, I still got it and the revolver we
had to' turn that in for the Magnum years ago. But any how
we got through the school, my first assignment was Winter
JM: Now this is after you graduated?
CWK: Two weeks.
JM: Assigned to Winter Haven, Florida?
CWK: Winter Haven, Florida, so....
JM: You are talking about late September or October?
CWK: We were talking about the school finished, we are talking
about, we started....well before October. The school was
in July that is a month then two weeks more, but our
assignment I reported to Bartow that was headquarters.
Bartow was the headquarters of the central division at that
time we had three divisions in the state. The top of the
state we had the northern division, central division, and
southern division. Captain Lee was in
charge of the northern division, Captain H. C. Martin was
in charge of the central division and Captain Senate was
troop commander down in the southern division. So I
reported to Bartow and Captain Martin was with us at the
school the whole time. He was at the school and after that
school he was made a lieutenant but they were Clifton,
Martin', Carlan, and Britt they were all there and Captain
suggested before October the 1st that was when the drivers
license expired it was good from October 1st to October
1st, one year.
JM: Twelve months?
CWK: Yes sir. So my responsibilities were to go to these
locations we had seven locations in that county to go to.
Polk County is a big county about 50 miles square, had
seven locations and the Captain indicated that, well I said
we reported to the Captain, we reported to Sergeant Olin
Hill, he was a great man, I loved Captain Hill, I mean
Sergeant Hill, we reported to him. He was the one that
instructed Captain Martin in what to do and going to give
examinations go and locate us a place to give them. We had
to do that, we had to do that, they suggested maybe the
city hall, court house, wherever you can go. Well so we
did that, I was informed by Sergeant Hill that I would be
issued a motorcycle and I had application forms, I had test
papers, I had an eye chart about that long and I wondered
how I was going to get that in the saddle bag. Captain
Martin said give me a ruler so he measured and cut it in
half and put a piece of adhesive tape on it and folded it
up and said put it in your bag. So my saddle bags carried
my supplies to give examinations.
JM: All right sir let us stop here. Describe your uniform,
Major Keith that you had that you were using at that time
and also tell us a little bit about, you didn't have a
patrol car apparently, I am assuming you had a motorcycle
so just tell us a little bit about the uniform and your
CWK: I was going to get to that. The uniform was a forest green
trousers, a broadcloth forest green shirt, black tie, a cap
(I despised it) it was green and around the top it had an
orange band. It had orange piping around the edge of the
top. Of course you had black shoes your leather was black.
JMR: Did you have a black stripe on the trousers?
CWK: A black stripe on the trousers, yes. That is what we left
JMR: How about the shoulder patch down there.
CWK: I had one shoulder patch on the left hand side. It had
Highway Patrol it had a definition it had FLA. left
side so what we did there we were also issued some of it
was lucky men that had quit they had winter uniforms that
the original group started out with beautiful. The hat was
beige,- ___hat, it had an orange band around it
and the shirt was forest green with orange piping around
the epaulettes and around your pockets. The trousers were
whip cord so we I think that first year everybody got in to
the winter uniform early that year. Everybody liked the
other uniform, of course it was very clumsey you couldn't
hardly ride a motorcycle with a hat on that disappointed me
but I loved that uniform. It was real nice and outstanding
looking and you were proud of it. I was not proud of the
other uniform and don't think anybody else was. But any
how you were just proud to be one of the members of the
Highway Patrol. I worked out of Bartow, I mean out of
Winter Haven for awhile and the Captain transferred me to
Bartow and sometimes I was fortunate to have a car. But
most of my trips were on a motorcycle.
JMR: Did you take the motorcycle home with you when you were off
duty, Major Keith?
CWK: Oh yes, I took the motorcycle. I was taught how to when it
was raining how to put it on backwards all these things for
it. I took, we had parallel parking standards made out of
wood the bottom of them with a spring on it and then a four
foot post made out of a two-by-two. I put one of the
bottoms in each saddle bag and stuck the other one I had a
frame work on the side I went down to the Ford Motor
Company but when I took off I had on each side after I got
on, I, had my sticks, parallel parking signs and the
extension where it would stand up in this framework, I
would take that with me on the motorcycle.
JMR: What kind of motorcycle was it, Major Keith?
CWK: Harley Davidson it was an eight-four Harley. Weight about
500 pounds and we had a man that could, Peter Lewis was our
Sergeant after Olin Hill left from Bartow and he was much
of a man when he wanted to turn it around from talking you
he would just pick it up between his legs and walk it
around. It was might heavy and it seemed like whenever you
fell it always caught up with you and landed on top of you,
you couldn't get away from it, I loved it. The only
problem that you had with a motorcycle and had some times
with it going to and from your places you would run into
accidents, you had no communication, somebody would come by
and you would tell them to, give them the number to Bartow
and have them call one of the men so you could go ahead to
your assignment to give examinations and the public was
real helpful to us, respected us, and proud of us, I think
they were as proud as we were. It was virgin territory and
everybody liked us, every time you would go out and have to
give an examination at the court house they would be out
there looking at your motorcycle wanting to know how fast
it could go and all that kind of stuff. The motorcycles
the problem that you would have when you ran into a man
that was driving while intoxicated you pull up and tell him
to pul'l over he would pull over, the problem that you would
always have, not always but most of the time, you would
. I ,
have to take everybody to the county seat for whatever
violation that you had, whether it was DWI or running a
stop sign. You had to take him to the county jail, write a
ticket and turn him over to the sheriff. So if you came up
on a man while intoxicated you were happy enough and told
him that he had a little too much to drink and you would
have to take him and he didn't have any problem with that.
Where we had the problem was whenever you told him to scoot
over and you would drive his car, that's when you had the
JMR: In other words you were taking the man to jail in his own
automobile. You left your motorcycle there?
CWK: Oh yeah, you had to leave your motor there. But this is
what separated the men from the boys and I weighed about
155 pounds with everything on.
JMR: Full uniform?
CWK: Full uniform, and I, during my ten years with the Patrol in
Polk County, I was drug up and down those ditches many
times. I always felt like if I could talk him into getting
him to the jail I could get some help and most of the time
I could, but you occasionally would run in to one out there
and it was embarrassing to tell, stop a motorist, we
stopped a lot of them. I didn't mind stopping a truck
driver and just say, buddy I need some help with this man.
After I had had one or two experiences of that drug up and
down the road, I got brave and would stop a truck driver
and say my friend I need some help. This boy here don't
want to get out, I don't want to hurt him, I want you to
help me. So now if he went out down off a highway you were
down in the sand you might as well forget him just let him
go because it took somebody real good to operate a
motorcycle in the sand and a lot of them would do that.
JMR: Did you ever have one to ride in to the jail on the
CWK: No, No.
JMR: That was a no,no?
CWK: No I couldn't do that, couldn't do that. But anyhow you
ran in to some real experiences there in those days as I
indicated going to and from your place of examinations
people in the groves if someone was hurt, now on your
motorcycle the biggest thing you had on it was a first aid
kit. People would come out of the groves if you had
someone hurt and would try to help them, I have set legs
out in the field with just plain planks, they had nobody
else to look to. So they would go out and stop you. This
was done a lot, as I indicated the Patrol, it was virgin
territory, Sergeant Hill used to tell us these people in
these groves whenever you come in contact with one of their
employees black, white, or whatever color might be and of
course the sheriffs didn't like that, but we did it, I
guess the Patrol started that way, we would issue the man
after we had talked to him a little bit other than DWI like
reckless driving and speeding, we would give them a summons
and, tell them to be in Bartow Monday morning for court, he
would be there, he would bring his boss with him. If you
told someone to do something you didn't have any problems.
JMR: In those days a man's word was almost his bond.
CWK: This is right.
JMR: In many instances it was.
CWK: Whenever we would have accidents out there, going to
investigate accidents we would always have two flashlights
we would get the public to help us with the traffic and
they loved to do that, they loved to help you, just wanted
to be asked. But I guess maybe that after I got home in
the afternoon about 5:00 we would, some of the men would
come by and pick me up and I would ride until about 10 or
11 o'clock with them. Occasionally, I would have a car, it
being 'troop headquarters a lot of times you had extra cars
there and Sergeant Hill whenever he could he would let me
use a car.
JMR: You did have radio communications?
CWK: No not at that time and I will get on up here in 1943
that's when we began to install it, the communications
system. As I indicated this morning the first well it may
or may not have been when I was talking to you on tape the
biggest surprise that I received was whenever I was asked
by Sergeant Hill to teach in a school in Lakeland in 1943.
To teach drivers license and how to take care of equipment.
JMR: How often were you giving drivers test, you started in 1941
and 1942 in Polk County and I believed that you indicated
earlier that there were seven locations that you were
looking for in Polk County?
CWK: In Polk County, yes.
JMR: Did you give them on a daily basis, everyday you gave....
CWK: No, no, Lakeland.and Bartow is the largest cities in that
county, so we spent two full days, one day in each of those
places then you went other places one-half a day. Like
Frostproof, Fort Meade, Haines City, Lake Wales, and Winter
Haven, you would go half days.
JMR: Did you for an example if you gave test in one city in the
morningspart that afternoon you did regular patrol duty?
CWK: No, no, I had full time, unless somebody was sick.
JMR: Full time what now Major?
CWK: Giving examinations, actually I thought when I started
giving examinations and all of us did that we felt like we
didn't go to school to be an examiner and I felt like if I
would do a good job maybe they would put me on the road.
During that period of time, Captain Martin would send me
other places that was during the war and during that period
of time we hired a lot of undesirable people on the Patrol
a lot hired. We hired well a lot of new people so I was
selected to go to different counties to teach these people
how to give examinations, so that took a lot of my time.
JMR: Were you working five days or six days a week?
CWK: I was working, we worked five and one-half days a week,
half day on Saturday, then the rest of the time I would
ride with someone if there was a patrol car there I would
use it. This went on and of course in those days what
happened during the war you had a lot of conveys coming
through the county you had 17-92 was the main thing how to
get to Tampa from Orlando 17-92 you know Plant City to
Lakeland up through there and so lot of them would turn
over, gasoline trucks had a lot of escorts, army equipment,
things of this nature and of course if I was giving
examinations and they called the office where I was giving
the examination and said there was an accident, I was
informed, I said I am sorry I have got to go I'll be back
here next week or I will be in Fort Meade tomorrow, I would
tell them but that was a priority so you just had to leave
and most of the people who came, I would say a great
percentage of them we had trouble with them writing we had
a lot of people that couldn't read and write and I learned
a lot from those people. We had to write out the
application for them, the Judge complained that he couldn't
read it so that is what we would have to do is print it and
let them raise their hand, take an oath, and they would
take this to the County Judge and get the type of license
that we had indicated on the application.
JMR: And you were administering a written test then, Major
JMR: All right, and driving test too?
CWK: We gave them a vision test, a road sign test, road rules
test and a driving test. Now keep in mind that I indicated
to you' that we only examined original persons getting their
license plus these people who had been suspended or revoked
that is the only ones that we would examine. So as a
result we gave them a complete examination. Anyhow we,
remember in 1943 after the school in Lakeland after I
taught that school Sergeant indicated that everybody
thought I had done a pretty good job, but I really studied
for that it made me real proud to be able to teach the men
the drivers license laws and taking care of the uniforms.
I really spent a lot of time on that, after that school is
whenever Captain Martin informed Sergeant Hill that Captain
Smith who was the executive officer up in Tallahassee was
going in service.
JMR: Who was Captain Smith, what was his first name?
CWK: Captain J. Wallace Smith was the executive officer under
Director Gillman. He was the top man under him, that he
was going into service and Hill had been elected to go to
Tallahassee to be his assistant during the absence of
Captain Smith, so that is when that happened in 1943. In
that same year, Den Denby from the City of Miami who was a
radio engineer he came to Bartow to install the radios the
two-way radios and of course during the war, wire,
everything was hard to get, your tires, your gasoline, all
of this was rationed. So Captain Martin had a friend and
we needed some wire. They build a tower out in the
Highlands that is out between Lakeland and Bartow the
highest point that is where the Bartow Radio Tower was to
be. Mr. Denby told us what we needed and Doug Willis,
Patrolman Doug Willis, was in Polk County at that time
stationed in Lakeland. Doug had some experience with being
a lineman working for telephone company. They apparently
got permission but it was about five miles from the station
to the tower. Willis and I took a pickup truck and the
wire and we strung that wire, he put the wire on the
telephone poles to hook up WKSO in Bartow, man that was
something, they had on top and center of the car they had
this was the antenna it went up about four or five feet
above the top of the car. Limbs and everything hit it and
all that kind of stuff.
JMR: That would almost touch wires wouldn't it?
CWK: Yeah. So they installed this two-way radio and no I forget
Earl Burchard showed up in Bartow at the station and one
night about 5:30 the station was closed and so we I took
him home with me, he was supposed to be in charge of the
radios, the engineer.
JMR: He had been hired by the Patrol?
CWK: Yes, to be the radio engineer. So that is when I met Earl
Burchard and Earl of course at that time keep in mind we
had the barracks in the Patrol. Everywhere the State Road
Department had an office, the Highway Patrol had a room or
two rooms, the Patrol had no stations, when I went to work
there was only well no when I went to work I don't
know of any patrol station that we had but wherever DOT the
State Road Department had an office, we had an office
there, so we had a barracks there, so somebody had to stay
there when sleeping there every night to listen to that
radio and answer calls, well we were there when somebody
had to be there. But anyhow they got the radio in and I
think it was early probably I don't know when I don't
remember the time of the year that Earl came in but seemed
like it started in 43 and maybe whether or not they
installed it all over the state I don't know in that year.
But I do know that 1944 that we had about 7 or 8 stations
throughout the state one in Pensacola, Tallahassee,
Jacksonville, Palatka, and on down, see. That 43 that was
in 43 that same year we were asked, Captain Martin advised
us said that we would go to Tampa on a certain day to be
measured for a new uniform. So we went to Tampa and got
measured for new uniforms and we asked the Captain what
color they were going to be and of course he said that he
didn't know exactly but he understood that they would be an
army pink, just like the army officers in the service wore
and of course everybody liked the green winter uniform with
the piping, orange piping. But Captain Martin indicated
that they couldn't get the wool, the armed forces had all
the green tied up they couldn't get the wool from the
factories so we had to go to another color. Mr. Gillman
had, and I later found that this was true, he had selected
another color and this was the, I never will forget when
they came in, the uniforms they were sharp, they came in
that fall, this was in about 1944 was when they came in
late 1943 or 1944 could have been but boots, riding
britches, and olive drab blouse, we called it the Smokey
Bear the hat was a graphite blue, now something sharp, it
was sharp, with an orange band around it, it was sharp.
The uniform that we have got right now doesn't look half as
good as it would if you had a contrast I will get into that
later. But it was not designed for the hat we wear now and
I will get into that. But they were sharp, we wore on
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we wore our britches, our
boots, britches, and blouse on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
until such time we worked all the green out. I told you
there that we had a lot of trouble with tires, if you ran a
car too far, too fast, at long periods of time to try and
catch somebody the whole tire would come apart. You had
synthetic rubber and the whole outside of it was like a
retread it would just come off.
JMR: You were riding in 40 or 41 Fords or do you recall?
CWK: At that time you had even up into 44 you had some but very
few when I was there in Polk County in 42 or 41, 42, and 43
and sill had some of the old cars the ones they started
out with. They had bullet proof windshields all of them
did. You never had to worry about it being fogged up, it
had little tanks there so whenever you speed up that little
tank kept the windshield wiper going. It was fast it would
run. I guess those cars stayed in effect until probably
maybe 44 now they in 42 when the cars came out of course
they didn't have any chrome on them they were all, they had
placed many of these windshields took them out of the old
cars and put them in the 42 models. OK, then when the
uniforms came out, as I indicated, the boots they were
pretty everything man you were dressed up. That
uniform came out and the patch spelled out the word
JMR: Did it have the Highway Patrol on it?
CWK: Oh yeah, had Highway Patrol but the original patch just had
Highway Patrol FLA in the orange and this spelled it out
the word Florida. Whenever that happened and then that
same year the uniforms came out is whenever the seals
changed from an orange on doors the decals when the Patrol
first started it had the orange with the Highway Patrol
with FLA in the orange and in 43 the decals came out they
were state seals, seals of the state and many of the new
cars that were bought during that period of time had them
already on them. I know that there at the station in
Bartow' I took several cars down to the Ford Motor Company
to have the decals taken off and the new decals put on.
Now in 45 here Governor Caldwell was inaugurated and
whenever he was inaugurated in January of 1945, I was
assigned to the mansion detail out here at the old mansion
and Ed Ferrell, Lieutenant Ed Ferrell he was stationed down
at Sebring, Ed Ferrell, he came by and picked me up and we
came to Tallahassee he was real close to Governor Caldwell
and a lot of friends in that administration, so that was my
first detail at the Governor's mansion. Being out there
and our responsibilities was security and to see that the
crowds got in and out, things of this nature to be sure
that nobody picked anything up while they were going
through the old mansion and so that was something you know
that made you feel real proud to be up here and be exposed
to something like that going on that would have been my
first trip to Tallahassee after I was appointed. We then
had charge of the inauguration down at the steps of the
capitol whenever he was sworn in a good friend of mine from
Winter Haven, Mr. Hamilton an attorney, I later found out
he was from Winter Haven and was born and raised with Mr.
Caldwell over here at Milton, Florida, that is where he was
from originally, but from that first detail at the mansion
I was with, I was privileged to be at every detail at the
mansion from that point until the first administration of
Governor Askew. The first administration of Governor Ruben
Askew the Patrol had charge we were at that time teaching
the Florida Department of Law Enforcement people what to do
and so forth to where they could get acquainted, but that
is the last time that the Patrol had anything to do with
that plus being an aide to the Governor, that made me feel
bad that is one of the worst things I feel that has ever
happened to the Patrol is to lose that responsibility. But
Governor Caldwell liked the Highway Patrol during his
administration there were several times or one specific
time when there were......
JMR: This is a continuation of tape two of the oral interview of
Major C. W. Keith on January 17, 1989. Major Keith we were
talking before the end of the last tape about Governor
Caldwell administration so you can pick right up from
CWK: I believe I was referring to whenever Governor Caldwell,
during his administration, the Patrol there was one
incident up here in Tallahassee which there were several
more I am sure similar that was trying to get more highway
patrolmen and so the Sheriffs' Association shortly after
the Patrol was organized and during those years they were
strong and they had a strong organization they tried
they always felt like the Patrol was trying to the a
state police so they all tried to keep us from getting the
cap raised on the number of highway patrolmen we would
have. One incident that I remember whenever Governor
Caldwell was in office and they were up here lobbying
against the Patrol bill and he put the word out that those
of them to all the sheriffs here in Tallahassee that
those of them that didn't have permission to come up here
for them to go back home. You see the sheriffs before they
leave their county they are suppose to let the Governor
know where they are going. I think during his
administration he had threatened two or three times and I
think the Tallahassee Democrat an editorial on it that he
felt like during that period that he should make the
Highway Patrol a state police that is where it first
that's the first beginning of it of the word being put out.
Shortly after the Governor got in in January or in the
summer of 1945 Director J. J. Gillman was dismissed or
resigned we will put it that way, resigned, and got Olin
Hill and was made Acting Director and in November of that
same year Colonel Kirkman was appointed the Director of the
Department of Public Safety by the Governor and the
JMR: This was in 19.....
JMR: Was that the first time that Colonel Kirkman had become
associated with the Department, Major Keith?
CWK: No in 1939 whenever the Patrol was organized W. F. Reid
from Lakeland, Florida, was appointed the Director and
Major Kirkman, H. N. Kirkman, was appointed as Commander of
the Patrol. He was the one that was responsible for the
training and so forth.
JMR: The first class.
CWK: The first class, now keep in mind whenever the old weight
division was organized under Governor Schultz'
administration back in 1934, whenever he organized the
weight inspectors, Kirkman was in charge of those people
too. The Colonel had gone into service and he had returned
and still in uniform in November of 1945 whenever Governor
Caldwell appointed him Director of the Department of Public
Safety. In 1946 I was in Bartow at that time and Captain
Martin called me in and told me that he was going to
Tallahassee and that he wanted me to go with him that we
had a new Director up there and he wanted to talk to me.
He said that he had asked the Captain what he wanted to
talk to me about and he told him that he had heard about
the good things I had done in Drivers License and he wanted
to talk with me. So he told the Captain to bring me along.
We came to Tallahassee and the Colonel's office as you
walked in to the ground floor of the Martin Building the
first door on the left that is where the Colonel's office
was and he was still in uniform.
JMR: In his Army...
CWK: His Army uniform, yes and he told me that he had heard good
things about what I had been doing in Drivers License and
that he had been around the state and knew that we had a
lot of new men and a lot of no uniform they had indicated
that he could find. Had a lot of undesirables and so...I
might be ahead of myself but I should mention this whenever
the Colonel took over and was appointed by Caldwell,
Governor Caldwell he had one request that he made was to
run an investigation on some of the people in the Patrol,
he called giving it a house cleaning before he took over
and Leo Foster was an attorney here in Tallahassee was a
man who was assigned to head up that investigation and that
is where I got to know Mr. Foster and I took him to several
places in the state while he was running his investigation.
He got rid of about 18 people. We would take a car and we
might pick up two uniforms in one day. Most of it was
political reasons during the time that Caldwell was running
for Governor and the boys out politicing, most of it was
for that. But back on the subject here, the Colonel, as I
indicated, impressed me real good he indicated here that
he understood that I had been around to help out and so
forth but he stated that he wanted those motorcycles and
patrol, cars on the highways instead of setting at these
county judges office giving examinations and he felt that
is what the public paid for was to be out on the road. So
he asked me to pick out 8 or 10 places he said the Captain
will help you pick out 8 or 10 places in the state where
they are giving the examinations you go see what they got
and then record that and he says I think you are going to
find what I have been told then I want you to help me come
up with a plan of what to do and how we are going to get
the men back out there on the road and still continue to
give examinations. He said in a period of a month I want
you back up here with a plan, scared me to death. So that
was a big challenge so what I did I went back to Bartow,
Captain and I talked about it, decided which areas I would
go look at and then I got a hold of the man that set the
program up, Glenn Carmichael, to come down and help me come
up with a good plan. But when I went around to see what
they were doing it made me feel bad their supplies were
left in the sheriff's offices any and everybody I don't
know why anybody never did get in trouble with it any and
everybody was giving those examinations, the men I found
very few that was appointed that wanted to give them. Some
of the troop commanders wanted them out on the road and not
give examinations at all and so when I got back off of that
trip I sat down with the Captain and he indicated that I
had to be careful here about criticism from the stand
point, you know you had some troop commanders that would
just say forget it do it whenever you can he wanted him on
the road, you know active, keep in mind that when Mr.
Gillman back in 41 when Mr. Gillman was appointed
Director of the Department of Public Safety he had the
International Association of Chief of Police to make a
study of the Highway Patrol and its activities. Did you
know that this report and I have got copies of it. I gave
the full copy to Colonel Beach he has got all of it and it
ought to be in the archives out there he would probably
give it to you if you will ask him. But that report at
that time in the United States you were killing 40,000
people in traffic accidents, now that was back in 41. The
mileage death rate in the United States at that time was
about 12.4 per hundred thousand miles in the State of
Florida it was 13. something. We had one of the worst in
JMR: Was that one hundred thousand miles or one hundred million.
CWK: Well I think it was per one hundred, what is it?
JMR: They usually run it from X number of deaths per one hundred
million vehicle miles of travel.
CWK: ..... inaudible.....I may be wrong but it is amazing that
since the Patrol started we are just now up to that again,
so the Patrol throughout this country, you know, did a
tremendous job of cutting it back. See, I just thought I
would bring that out. But he basically did the same thing.
Mr. Gillman was an Army man, now keep in mind if you will
look at the history of all of the highway patrol and the
state police organizations in this United States, there is
not one according to the records that the first commander
of that state police was not from the armed forces, had
been in the armed forces of a branch of this service of the
United States that was appointed. They felt like this was
the type of man they needed. Most of your highway patrols
and state police organizations in the United States were
organized after a strike, or after a disturbance of where a
local enforcement broke down that created room for someone
to come in from the state standpoint and do something about
it, that is the only reason they were created. In this
state it was the Jaycees and American Legion they got
behind this. A lot of people said well, you know Mr. Comb
he came in and abolished the Highway Patrol
.... inaudible...certain reasons, well the Highway Patrol
according to the facts and the history it was abolished
because he felt like the legislature should create the
Highway Patrol instead of the State Road Department, see
when the Highway Patrol, the road inspectors were first
appointed they were appointed chairman of the Road
Department they were...because he had authority for weights
so forth, so Combs felt like that the legislature should do
it so he abolished it when he came in...
JMR: What year was that?
CWK: 1937, 1939 legislature created it, Highway Patrol, and of
course during that period of time that was right after John
Dillinger and all these people all the trouble we had that
is where the bulletproof windshields came from it is an
era. They just felt like this is what should be done most
all of the states had that and that was 35 to 40 was when
the great majority of highway patrols and state police
organizations were created.
JMR: *Was the result of a crisis somewhere.
CWK: Yes a local law enforcement broke down. Now we are getting
back here to our plan here but I got Glenn Carmichael down
here to help me come up with a plan but while I was out in
the field going around and finding out who was giving them
the examination and so forth I ran into some of the men who
told me that the Federal Government was providing a grant
to a serviceman amputee, a person that lost their limbs,
$1,600.00 provided that he could get a drivers license this
is what some of the people told me that was out there in
the know. Of course I had come into contact with some of
that which was brought up in Polk County but it didn't dawn
on me too much so when I got back and I told him about this
and he said well that's good and I said well the only
problem we have Colonel is we don't have anyway to test
them. I said we need a special equipped car for that to
test them. Colonel with the backing of the American
Legion, Ford Motor equipped a car for us, it was called
amputee car, free of charge. Then after we got that, I had
to get Glenn Carmichael again to help me set up some
standards on what to restrict them to if they passed the
test. He helped me with that. We got a man from Georgia
Tech. I went to Atlanta to meet him and we met over at
Georgia Tech a professor by the name of Cox. He and
Carmichael worked us out something on infirmities on what
to restrict people to. That guideline is still used in the
examiners' manual today and the great majority of the
states use the same guidelines that we prepared at that
JMR: What year was this?
CWK: That was 1946 and we found there were 300 people in the
state, veterans, that were entitled to that car if they
could get a drivers license. Well I was selected to go
around and test them. A schedule was prepared for every
city we didn't hit all of them but we hit enough to get
them all, there was about 300 of them of course the first
thing we had to do, and I have a photograph of it, we had
to pull it up in front of the Capitol and let the Governor
and Cabinet, Mr. Caldwell and all of them look at it, try
it out, but it all worked hand controls so we were the
first state in the nation to come up with that idea. We
got national recognition and many of the states come down
here to see it and wanted a copy of our guidelines, AAMVA
made copies of our guidelines and sent them around.
Carmichael did, they didn't have a director at the time
with the association. We got a lot of publicity out of it
but it was good.
JMR: The Florida Highway Patrol?
CWK: The Florida Highway Patrol, we got a lot out of it. We
were the first in the nation and as indicated those
standards are still followed today and that was real and I
have got newspaper clippings and all to back all of this
up. But that was wonderful. It was wonderful here to be
able to do that. Then May 1, 1946, I was called to
Tallahassee and promoted to Sergeant. We didn't have
corporals at that time. So that made me feel good and made
Chief Examiner in charge of examinations. Then....
JMR: Major Keith, troopers were still administering examinations
CWK: Yes sir, yes sir.
JMR: All right sir, they did this as part of their regular
CWK: After, well now let me tell you about the car, after the
car situation, see on the amputees, after the guidelines
were sent out there, we at that time had where you could
order this equipment, so people after that schedule, after
that 300 was examined out there, any of the men in the
field the examiners see or come in contact with veterans
that came to them they would restrict them to, they'd tell
them OK this is the equipment that you need, this is where
it is. available, you got a General Motors, this is where it
is available, your man will get it for you. Ford Motor
Company furnished them free they said there wasn't a
veteran in this country that was going to pay for any
equipment. So we'd tell them., you go because that car
wasn't available, you know, it was in one spot. We tried
to take care of it by sending the car there but it got to
where there was a lot more getting out of the service,
etc., had that problem. So that's how it continued, we
kept that car for two or three years. But now in "46, the
Colonel was asked to send me over to the Mississippi
Highway Patrol to set up their program and you remember Mr.
L. E. Birdsong that used to come?
JR: Yes, I sure do. He was with AAMVA for many, many years.
CWK: Yes, so I went to Mississippi over there and we took their
law, I had called back over here to the Atorney General's
office, keep in mind, during those days, the Attorney
General's office represented us. You know, and so about, I
went over there and spent two weeks, they had a copy, well
their law was practically like ours so we promulgated rules
and we took their law and wrote them up a manual and we
taught them how to give examinations, etc. L. E. Birdsong
was appointed Chief Examiner of Mississippi, so at that
time, Glenn Carmichael came over to help, see he was still
with the National Safety Council, AAMVA didn't have any
directors running around at that time, so that makes you
feel good, gives you confidence when you are asked to come
somewhere else to do that. Alabama, we went up there and
done the same thing in Alabama, helped Georgia set their's
up so, but I remember going over to Mississippi, we are
still during Mr. Caldwell's administration now we are
getting back to the Patrol again, keep in mind that during
that period of time, we probably, well during the war we
got down to less than a hundred men. and I was not
privileged of being, I went about 10 or 11 times, but I
wasn't privileged to be in the service. They indicated
that I had varicose veins and Captain Martin said I was so
skinny that was my trouble that they showed up, and they
used to tell everybody in Clifton that I was the only man
on the Patrol just had room, room for one, hip pocket in
the back. But we had at that time, during those years
there especially in Caldwell's administration, we had
counties in the state where people didn't want to go,
troopers. If you transferred them there, a lot of them
quit. That was Duval, Calhoun County over here, and Baker,
that a lot of men just didn't want to go and had a lot of
trouble and Baker County, I guess we wrecked a lot of cars,
Stafford was over there for awhile trying to catch these
people running moonshine.
JR: Garland Stafford?
CWK: Yes, Garland Stafford, he was over there and caught many of
them. Colonel Clifton used to say that Stafford if he got
9000 miles out of a set of tires that would be good for
him. He caught a lot of them, but a lot of people didn't
want to go. Now there was another thing that happened
during Caldwell's administration, he as I indicated, liked
the Highway Patrol, it's image, and he wanted the Colonel,
told the Colonel and being right here after I was
transferred up here in "48, I was close and knew what was
going on but just before, I think it was "47, after I got
back off my trip to look in the field to see what we could
do there, I needed to get back on that a little bit. You
know, the Colonel told me to go out in the field to see
that I had and come up with some plans on how to keep the
cars on the highway. If I may touch base and go back a
JR: Yes, indeed.
CWK: Carmichael helped me put that report together and I
recommended to the Colonel that what we needed to do in the
metropolitan areas is to hire civilians. We had in the law
at that time, it gave authority to the Department to hire
patrolman, civilians and so forth to give examinations. So
really, I recommended that in the metropolitan areas that
we start hiring civilians to do that work. And, also, felt
like and this, if it had of stayed like we had visualized,
I visualized that whenever years went on after that and we
did, we took a lot of men and put them on as examiners
after that that were not able to pass the patrol
requirements. He had a lot of friends out there wanting
him to get on but we had a place for him and I was looking
at the examining part of it someday to be the division to
where we could start them out through hopeful that
everybody could go through that where they would know
something about the Department, radio operators, examiners
and so forth. If they got hurt, leg broke or disfigured in
a motor vehicle accident that they could give examinations.
You know what I mean. Well, this is what is recommended
that we do that and actually, the first civilian examiner,
he didn't stay that long.
JR: What year was that, Major Keith?
CWK: In about "46. We hired Bob Phillips from Bartow, that's
Ralph Davis' nephew. But he didn't last but about, he
didn't like it, he was so small like me he couldn't even
crank the motorcycle. You know what I mean. Afraid of it,
I think. He quit. But really, the first examiner, full
time examiner, was Cecil Kemp from Jacksonville in that
building, driver license office building in Jacksonville is
named after him. But he was the first. So I recommended
that this happen and as time went on, we would gradually
get the Patrol out on the highway. So this was the
beginning of it.
JR: In 1946?
CWK: In "46. And then, I had no more than got back down there
until the Colonel indicated that, through Captain Martin,
that we needed to sit down and talk about what Caldwell had
in mind about the Patrol. He, Mr. Caldwell, wanted the
Colonel at every cabinet meeting, that he come to the
cabinet meeting but he wanted him to give him a report on
the Patrol activities. What was going on out there. He
also indicated that every quarter, that this would be
verbal, but every quarter, he wanted he and the cabinet to
have copies of the activities of the Highway Patrol, and
along with that, he wanted him to keep the public informed
on what we were doing. He wanted us to patrol, to prepare
exhibits and put them in these fairs. So since I had a
little background on that, I was selected to do that. That
was the beginning of your public information, I would say
in your Patrol right there. So what we did, came to
Tallahassee and the Colonel told me what he had in mind, I
went to see Monty Douglas, with the Tallahassee Police
Department, he was the photographer for the Tallahassee
Police Department and made pictures of accidents and things
of this nature. I talked to him and he told me if I would
get all accidents out there, running stop signs, different
situations, get them to him, he would format them for me in
big photographs, blow them up, and put them in mats and
help me with it, come up with some ideas. So the Colonel
put out a memorandum to the field and told them about these
accidents, what we were doing and so forth, and to send
that to Captain Martin in Bartow. The first exhibit that
was set up, we set one up in Winter Haven, The Florida
Citrus Exposition in 1947 and of course, the Colonel was
there and Governor Caldwell had a picture in front of the
patrol car and I would come up with some, I could pull
crepe paper, you have seen this, decorate this and I would
help people to make me signs and I got me, I got authority
to get Bill Norris to help me, to help me set it up.
JR: Retired Lieutenant Bill Norris?
CWK: Retired Bill Norris, deceased, and he helped me, we did
that.....we started out and then the State Fair at Tampa,
there at the college...Mr. Huskinson....he was executive
director down there, he found out about it and wanted me
down there. This carried on for about two years and we
were doing about twenty, every year. We had a little old
case and I have photographs of this, we got a showcase and
we put the things that we used, like first aide kits, fire
extinguishers, and things like that in it and then we would
put placards up with our activities of the Patrol for that
year, what was going on and then when the radio came in,
two-way radio, we had one there boy, talked to the
station and had a map of the state of Florida, showing
where all these stations were. Man you talking about
proud, we were the most popular booth there in the
fairgrounds. But that happened and to me, that was the
beginning of your safety education situation and that
carried on now until later, Captain Taylor was called from
Tampa, he was a lieutenant, come to Tallahassee to be your
public information officer and that's where Adams and all,
I'll get into that here later. But there was another thing
that happened during Caldwell's administration that is
important and that was, 1947, October 1st is whenever the
financial responsibility law went into effect. That was
the Sergeant C. A. Brooks that used to work in records up
here, keeps all informed on what was going on in the field.
He was smart, he had resigned and went to work for Mr. Ed
Larson, he was the one that drew the first financial
responsibility law in 1947.
JR: Ed Larson was the State Treasurer?
CWK: Yes sir, Ed Larson was the State Treasurer. Also, in 1947,
the, we had a lot of people coming into the state from
other states and I got some ideas out there, so we came up
with the one license concept, we frontiered that and that's
indicating if you had a license in this state or any state,
if you were a resident of this state, then you didn't need
any more, you didn't need one, you have to surrender that
license from that other state. So we, Florida, was the
first state in the nation to come up with that and it
helped us control the driver. That's what driver license
is all about. You can give examinations, that's fine, but
after you get all the documentation together on your
records of people identified, that's what the license is
for, identification to find people, to spot accidents, to
correct and things of this nature. So send it back to the
state where the man was from and then they would send us a
copy of his driver record. So "47, whenever that took
place, and then we go to the Warren administration and I
believe I indicated that Captain Taylor was transferred up
JR: Yes sir.
CWK: And, we go to the Warren administration, Governor Warren,
he was inaugurated in 1949 and a lot happened during
Governor Warren's administration. After he was elected, I
was transferred to Tallahassee in 1948 and my
responsibility at that time was, I would spend about three
months to cover the state, go around and try to get
everything uniform on what was going on out there in driver
license. When Governor Warren was inaugurated, after the
inauguration, he wanted to go to President Harry Truman's
inauguration in Washington and Colonel called me in and
told me that this was what was going to happen, that he
wanted me to select someone to go with me and we would go
to Washington, make arrangements for Governor Warren and
his committee of 19 or there were that many in a party to
provide the security during the time that they were in
Washington at the inauguration. He also informed me that
Ford Motor Company had just got in Jacksonville through
painting a brand new Ford convertible, patrol car colors,
and this was the car we would use to go to Washington. So
naturally I had been always close to Bill Norris so I
called Bill and asked him if he wanted to go and he said
fine and Bill, of course he was good with a camera. He
took photographs, developed them and all of this. That was
Lieutenant Bill Norris....So Colonel told us about some of
the things that we needed to do and here we are going up
there but he apparently had confidence that we could do it
so this was about a week ahead of time and we went about a
week ahead of time, and he gave us, told us to stop in
Richmond, Virginia, and see Colonel Woodson, he was the
superintendent of State Police there in Richmond and get
some chains for the cars, that's to put on your tires in
case of snow, and be sure, he told us, we got some men to
help us with that group coming in. They would be coming in
on the train from Alexandria, Virginia, he and his party.
So he had already called, he said he'd call Colonel Woodson
to tell him to be looking out for us, then he also called
the Colonel with the State Police in Maryland and told the
commissioner up there, I don't remember his name, but that
we would be coming up and of course, we stayed in the
barracks up there at Laurel which was about 15 miles out of
Washington at the State Police barracks, and they were to
help us and we needed them, I'v got news for you. So, this
was, then when we got in Washington, to see Mr. Riley, he
was with the Secret Service, he was Colonel Kirkman's real
friend and see we had, the Patrol had created great
friendship by President Truman going to Key West. We would
have people assigned down there so we got real close to the
Secret Service and in Washington, D.C. during the
President's inauguration, if you haven't got identification
issued by the Secret Service or the Treasury Department,
you don't move, you don't go anywhere....period. We found
this out....Well, with all of that in hand, we took off and
of course, Governor Warren, before he left, and he had a
man to bring up, he wanted, see during his administration,
at every cabinet meeting he had orange juice. He's the man
that created a taste test with the oranges, and they all
drink orange juice when they had the cabinet meeting. He
wanted enough juice in Washington to where, he was staying
at Shoreman Hotel, in Washington, his party, and enough
juice to supply his group. This was sent up there ahead of
time but he wanted us to take fruit to President Truman,
some tangerines and some oranges ....... fruit. Well, when
we found that out we loaded up because we could see that we
could trade that off for some favors. But that, well,
Norris and I left out from Tallahassee and it was as cold
as it could be up here, that day we left, never will forget
when we left and so, everyplace we stopped everybody would
come out and look at our patrol car. We were all dressed
up you know, shined up.....
JR: In the convertible?
CWK: In the convertible,
JR: Top up?
CWK: Top up, you'd better believe it, cold. So we had to go up
US 1, thought we never would get up there. You know, you
know how these interstates are and all that kind of stuff.
Well, we finally got, we made it to Richmond and got
straightened out at Richmond with the Colonel, met him,
then we went from there up to Alexandria and he told the
Sergeant up there at the State Police barracks who to
contact, then we left there and asked one of them to go
with us up to Laurel, and they were great. One of the
state policeman said where are you all staying, well, we
are going to stay, we think, rooms have been made. Well,
I'll just go on up there with you, it's a lot easier to
come back. You all won't have to come back. So he took
his car and we followed him all the way up there, he knew
all about Laurel and the State Police barracks. So we got
acquainted with them up there and the next day, we went to
Washington to see........
JR: This is a continuation of tape 2 with Major C. W. Keith for
our oral history program on January 17, 1989. Major Keith,
you were going to see Jim Rowell in Washington, let's pick
up from there.
CWK: Yes, we got into his office there and of course, we had to
wait, not knowing anybody, we were told this was the man we
wanted to see, don't see anybody else, we wanted to talk to
him and of course, we told the secretary who there who we
were looking for and of course, she could tell who we were,
and apparently, she had heard them talking about some of
the trips that the Treasury Department had in Key West so
we had a good conversation with her and Mr. Rowell gave us
a card, one of his cards, special made up about the parade
and told us that there would be people anytime that we were
stopped by the FBI or any of the police officers stopped
us, they had certain information just to show them that
document. Then he told us in order to keep from having any
trouble, I want you to go to the Metropolitan Police
Department there in Washington, and see the Chief or his
assistant and get a badge to use. This will support what
I'm doing but you are going to run into, during this period
of time, the District of Columbia, it's thousands of
officers from all over the United States to come up there
to help with that and the traffic so we did that, got all
of our documents from over there at the Metropolitan Police
Department. In fact, they went with us and showed us where
to pick up certain documents for the Governor, a car, and
the people in his party. So the, we got all that together,
then here comes the day that they are all supposed to come
in to Alexandria, Virginia, so we had the state police car,
two state police cars from Virginia, and we had two from
Maryland and it took every one of them, took care of the
people and no we had three from Virginia, three state
police cars from Virginia and two from Maryland and our
car. So, but with the baggage and everything, we had to go
back one time to get more baggage but they stayed at the
(Shoream) Hotel, now the Shoream Hotel was one of the
hotels that all of your elite people, your well-to-do
people stayed. The rooms over there were $25 and $30 a day
and we were getting, at that time, $7 a day per diem, so
that's the reason we had to stay up at Laurel, Maryland,
state police barracks. Anyhow, what happened was, we got
there, of course, they had all of these inaugural parties
and everything. What we did, after we got them in, no
before we picked up the group, we had to get rid of that
fruit so at the Metropolitan Police Department we left some
fruit over there with those people. Now the people, the
Chief or his assistant, referred us to were the people that
we were going to eventually see out on the street somewhere
that was in charge of the detail. Of course, we had a lot
of questions about where do I go to get some cars to carry
my people around, I'v got 19. I need that kind of
information and I don't know the town and so forth like
that. So we gave them some fruit, we were told when we
left Tallahassee, the Governor said "I want President
Truman to have a selected", we had a crate full of selected
oranges, a crate of grapefruit, and tangerines, okay, so we
pulled in to the White House there security, got out shook
hands with the men, told them who we were, they were
looking over the car and all that kind of stuff. Grim as
they could be and we told them, well, they said come on in
men, come on in, so we pulled inside the gates there at the
White House. So, one of the men came out and must have
been in charge of the detail and said, I guess you people
are up here with your Governor, I understand he is coming
in and things of this nature, and they said the right
things and I told them, Norris and I told them what we had
and where do you want us to put it. They said, well, just
take it out and put it here and he said, by the way, the
President may come by here any minute, he's at a meeting
over here. During the process of us taking them out and
putting them on the ground, the President came up with a
group of men, I'v got some photographs of all the chiefs of
staff, the Navy and all this kind of stuff, you know what I
mean, the parade...the braids on the caps and wanted to
know what part of Florida we were from, he knew the
Colonel, he had been down there and we told him and he
wanted to know what we had there and told him this was from
Governor Warren and he wanted us to bring this fruit
by...and he said, why don't we have one. Rod, we stood
right there, we opened that crate of tangerines and stood
right there with those people and opened up that fruit and
ate them and man it was good....must have been .... talked to
him. wanted to know, Norris would tell him, he's driver
license, I'm on the Patrol, you know what I mean, how that
goes. So, he told us at the time what kind of sorry
program that his state had, Missouri, get them in the five
and dime store and all this kind of stuff. But anyhow, we
got to see him. As the highlights, that was it. You know,
it's the man and I think today, why they would have
examined that fruit 15 times before, they wouldn't even let
him-touch it today but all the boys there they were picking
up his peelings, you know what I mean. We had a nice
meeting there with him and not too long, so we left. Then
the next day, we went and picked up the people and took
them out to the Shoream. Well, during the process of
taking them out there and after we took them out there, the
second day that we met, it was kind of clumsy to run from
Laurel down there, Mr. Johnston, who was a race track man,
that's where I met B. K. Roberts, Justice Roberts, Supreme
Court, met him, he was with that group and Mr. Johnston was
a race track man out of Duval County. He was the one that
built this Duval Hotel down here and finally gave it to the
JR: University of Florida, Florida State University.
CWK: Florida State University. He found out where we were
staying, and he said, well why don't you all move in down
here. So we told Mr. Johnston, we can't afford it, we
can't, you know what I mean, we are getting along alright
and he says, well, he says, come on in here. He told the
man there, find a room for these boys and put them up and
put it on my bill. So we stayed there at the Shoream in
high cotton. So anyhow, whenever we got back from
Washington, well, while we were there, we got the Secret
Service to get us programs that were put out by the
President's office and get them signed by the President and
send one of them to Governor Warren. That was done. They
sent them to Colonel Kirkman. And, when we got back in
Tallahassee at the first cabinet meeting that we had, after
we got back, the Governor and Dan Wright, his assistant,
was there praising what the Patrol had done for him and put
them out in front and we were the first highway patrol when
they started down Pennsylvania Avenue, we were the first
highway patrol car that was ever put in that parade at the
inauguration, first state that ever had a patrol car.
JR: Made history there, didn't we?
CWK: We made history right there.
JR: We are talking about 48, what year are we talking about
CWK: That was in "49.
JR: 49 alright sir.
CWK: 59, 69 that's thirty years ago, forty years ago. So they
questioned first, and the man that had the parade
questioned that but anyhow, it was done. The Miami Police
Department had a team of motorcycles up there, they were in
front of us and the Florida float. My friend, Errol
Brown, had made the float for the State of Florida and it
was up there. We rode him in the Patrol car. So we made
history there. But, getting back to Tallahassee, the first
meeting that we had there, he was telling the Colonel what
a good job we had done and so forth and so the first,
during the meeting, why Governor Warren indicated to the
cabinet that he wanted to change, said Colonel Kirkman was
a fine man but he had a friend he had promised he was going
to appoint director of the Department of Public Safety and
that was Ed Garner, Chief of Police down in Sarasota,
Florida. His picture had been in the paper so Colonel told
us when we got back and I never will forget it, Mr. Bob
Gray said, well Governor, I didn't know we had a vacancy.
He said well, that's what I'm getting ready to do. So Mr.
Bob Gray told him, he was Secretary of State, he said,
well, you need to bring it up but he said, keep it in mind,
you have only got one vote. So they voted on it, Garner
was there but that was no vote.... he was the only man that
voted for him. But that surprised everybody, it even
surprised, see the Secretary of State, when the Governor is
not there, he is the man that runs the show. Mr.. Bob
always looked out for the Patrol. So the Colonel, I guess
the Colonel, I don't know the details and background on
whether he had been talked or called over there and knew
about it but I imagine if his picture was in the paper, the
Colonel would have done his ground work before that
meeting, knowing him. So that didn't unk..... But
several times during while I was stationed here and during
Governor Warren's administration, he had some plans about
safety, he wanted to clear up and pass a bill dealing with
ranges, wanted to get the cattle off the highway. The thing
that, when I first went on the Patrol ----- to go back a
minute ----- that you had to watch at nighttime when you
were going to an accident, this was something that you
really had to watch, and that was animals especially down
around where we were and especially up here. You see in
the daytime, your asphalt accumulates a lot of heat, when
it gets cold, the animals like to lie down on a place where
it is warm, they get up there and lie down. Many patrol
cars were torn up during that period of time going to
accidents, hitting pigs, big pigs, they'd turn you over or
cows so when you started out, we were told to be careful
because of animals. But he wanted a safety council and he
had a man that he was going to put up here as executive
director to start this Governor's Safety Council out from
the Orlando Sentinel, and somehow or other, I don't know
what the circumstances were, but he didn't do what the
Governor felt like he should do so I was out of town but he
wanted the Colonel to appoint somebody executive director
of the Governor's Highway Safety Council and I was the
first one appointed. Still on the Patrol but I was
appointed. Had a good write-up and I'v got that ---
unk fortunate to have somebody that had been to
Northwestern up there and all this and so forth and of
course, keep in mind that Captain Taylor was up here at
that time and when we got out of the meeting, when the
Colonel got out and I was informed about it, he told
Captain Taylor and I to begin looking for a full time
director of Governor's Safety Council. So Taylor knew a
man by the name of Nat Rambo who died about two years ago
here, his wife worked at the Supreme Court, he had a safety
council organized down in Hillsborough County and was doing
a tremendous job so Taylor and I went down there to talk to
him. I have the minutes of that cabinet meeting, they
brought him to Tallahassee and the Colonel introduced him
and he asked a lot of questions about him and gave Nat an
opportunity to talk and so forth and what he had done and
so forth. So he was hired. Now the question came up from
members of the cabinet how was he going to pay for it.
Well, at that time, I remember it because it's in the notes
of the cabinet meeting, the minutes of that meeting. His
contingency fund at that time was $500, that's all he had
in that fund, today that's about a half million, but that
was $500, and so, he hired Nat and we recommended, the
Colonel did, that not to call the Governor's Safety Council
that somebody might get peeved that it was political to
call it the Citizen's Safety Council and that's what it was
called and that was the beginning of your highway, your
Governor's Highway Safety Council right there, that was
that beginning, and I was glad to be a part of that. Also,
during his administration and back when I was down in Polk
County, I told Jim, giving examinations, I learned a lot
from the people who couldn't read and write. So I
developed, when you asked them, let's take your diamond
shaped sign or your stop, let's take your stop sign,
octagonal shape, you asked a person who is unable to read
and write, what does that sign mean? He said to stop. I
said, how do you know its stop. He said, its got four
letters on it. Okay, I would show him the rectangle, that
might have fifteen different items on it, let's say it had
slow on it. I'd say to you know what this sign means?
Well, he would, well that says stop too. I picked up an
idea, so what I did, I designed the shapes of the sign, we
had five, octagon, rectangular, information, railroad
warning, railroad crossing. Okay, we made that part of the
Examiners Manual because like your diamond shape, if that
person will slow down, if he knows that anything on this is
a warning sign, if he will abide by that, he is fairly
safe. If he knows that the rectangular is the information
sign that this is for speed or information, you know, that
it is information, speed limit, and so forth. Well,
anyhow, the National Safety Council wrote the Colonel and
asked if they could use the road sign idea to come up with
the signs alike and the Colonel gave them permission,
that's where it come from.
JR: How many examiners did we have on board then, Major Keith,
you were Chief Examiner, still in FHP uniform?
CWK: Well, we are talking about, back here during Warren's
JR: Yes, the late seventies, late forties.
CWK: The late forties. We had probably 35 or 40.
JR: Civilian examiners then?
CWK: Some in your large municipalities, some in Duval, Orange,
Pinellas, Hillsborough, Dade, Broward, Pensacola, etc. Now
in 1948, is whenever we were called over, of course the
Colonel knew about it, to Governor Warren's office, got a
photograph of that, and we were presented with the Driver
License Award for Outstanding Achievements in National
Traffic Safety contest. This was sponsored by the National
Safety Council about our driver license program and that
was the first one and we repeatedly, well after that, we
got one in "49, "52, "54, "60 and "61, that's whenever they
stopped the program. But we received national recognition
for our driver license program.
JR: I can remember this.
CWK: During those years. Now during his administration, another
division was created here and that's a western division,
Tallahassee West. You had a western, a northern, central
and a southern.
JR: Panama City the district headquarters then or do you
CWK-: No, Chipley. That's when Captain Martin was over there.
He, Captain Martin, went over there to Chipley and was the
troop commander over there and Olin Hill went down to
Bartow as commander down there. I think that's the reason
they did it but now in 1950, we came up with an
idea in driver license called the "Classified Driver
License". Now that was a system of where we felt like a
person in a truck or a big truck, log truck, whatever he's
driving, ought to take the test in that vehicle and of
course, at that time, still keep in mind, the judges were
given issuing the licenses, we just gave the
examinations. So Colonel let us try it and our people were
enthused about it, we had gotten some people together that
taught us, we had a school, one in central Florida and one
up here in Tallahassee to kind of teach people what to look
for driving these big trucks. We felt like if he was
driving a tanker that he's take it in a test in that
tanker. Well, we didn't realize some of the problems we
would encounter with that program. It was good but after
you had about three trucks out at your station, from the
time they left and went downtown and stopped at the county
judge's office, they blocked everything, these big trucks
and what I'm saying is that we couldn't control it. we
were issuing the driver, the idea was good keep in
mind that was "50, in 1986, the federal government now come
out with a federal law and that federal law is called
commercial driver license. They got the idea from right
here in the state of Florida.
JR: A 1950 idea?
CWK: Was the idea, it was originated we gave it to
California, California did a half-way job with it but the
idea was originated right here in the state of Florida. We
just couldn't, didn't have the facilities to put it
together. The idea is good, but today I have news for you,
its going to be rough, its going to be hard, these truckers
out here, if the program I'm right now looking at it,
trying to help the Florida Trucking Association, its going,
its tight. Okay, now in 1952, the Colonel called me in his
office and he indicated that he had got information from
Washington to send me to Missouri to set up the program out
there in the state of Missouri. So, that was a real
compliment because that's where President Truman was from
and I got Glenn Carmichael again and Glenn was with
JR: Northwestern University?
CWK: Right, and then we went out there to Sadalia, Missouri, got
with the Missouri Highway Patrol and took their law and sat
down and put a manual together and trained their men how to
give examinations. So, that gave us a lot of clout all
over the country, that helped us so much, the Patrol. We
used to, people used to say about trying to kid us a little
bit, in saying to us especially when I was around these
meetings, they said "Florida has the best program in the
country and if you don't believe it, ask Keith". So that
administration with Governor Warren that's a lot a things
that happened during that administration, keep in mind, he
did a lot, he was a man that started planning on the
Turnpike, he was the man to start your water control down
in South Florida, he did a lot for the state of Florida and
he liked the Patrol and wanted to help us and was proud of
what we did. And, then we come to 1953, that's when
Governor Dan McCarty was elected Governor and of course,
after the inauguration, he wanted to go to Washington for
the inauguration. Now that was during the first term of
Eisenhower's administration and we took the same course, we
got the Virginia State Police to help us, we got the
Maryland State Police to help us, we took a convertible up
there and we, now keep in mind, that one of the people
going up there with Governor McCarty was Senator LeRoy
Collins, he was with that group and they talked about, we
were listening to them talk, they talked then about him
running for Governor. While we were in Washington, it was
cold, snow on the ground, and that place up there is not
equipped to handle snow, they don't have any snow plows, so
they have to go over to Ft. Myers over here to the army
base and get stuff to come in there when it snows up there
to clear the streets because the city doesn't have all that
kind of stuff. Anyhow, it was cold and Governor McCarty,
we, Bill and I got real concerned about him, we went to all
the parties, we drove on sidewalks and everywhere else, the
police were so gracious to us. I'll tell you its something
to go down Pennsylvania Avenue in a patrol car and pass the
White House, the President throwing up his hand, this gives
you a lot of, you know.....
JR: You FHP uniform
CWK: Oh yes, man. All decked out, shined up, you could see us.
Okay, while we were up there, we got real concerned about
the Governor because he got a cold and we went with Mrs.
McCarty and got him a overcoat, he had a topcoat. We got
back to Florida, he had a heart attack in February and
September of that year, he died. That was a great man, he
would have been great for the Patrol, he would have been a
great man had he lived because he had, we were making every
effort, the Patrol, Sheriffs' Association was still on our
back, he would have, Caldwell did a lot, Governor Warren
didn't do as much, didn't as much happen but McCarty we
would have really gone places there. In fact, during his
administration is whenever the Turnpike came up to Ft.
Pierce and back to Washington a little bit, during those
years in Washington with the Governor, we met some
important people. Mr. Taft, Senator Williamson over
at we met so many important people that we would have
never met any other place and we were right there in that
uniform and everybody, you can say what you want to about
it, I don't think there's a uniform that's ever been put
on, when a man is really dressed up, got his leather goods
all shined up, that is any more colorful than the Florida
Highway Patrol uniform, I don't care what it is. But
anyhow, then we'll stop here for lunch. Norris went with
me again, he went with me on all of these, I'v got all the
badges and you may have seen them, I'v got all the badges
that we got from the Metropolitan Police Department up
there, got it in a big frame enclosed and so after Dan
McCarty died in September of 1953, President, well Senator
Charley Johns he was the President of the Senate and he was
appointed Governor to serve out the unexpired term of
McCarty and we had Senator Pierce from down at Palatka that
was real close to the Colonel and several of us went by
before the swearing in one night down at the Capitol to
where he could take over until they could prepare a little
inauguration. Went by the Colonel's house and I knew the
Governor was there, Charley Johns and Senator Pierce, and
we took them on down to the Capitol building. And, what I
liked about it back in those days when the legislature met,
you had a man out in front leading the members of the
Senate into the House of Representatives, the Patrol was
part of what they were doing down there. We played such a
great part the Patrol did in what was going on at the
Capitol building during the legislature, during the
inauguration, all of that, used to. But, the, now during,
I'm here between "53 sometime in "53 I think it was,
looking at my memorandum, you know, up until that time, we
had a lot of things here that as I indicated to Colonel, if
you see anything, I want you to let me know about the
uniforms. Well, certain things about the uniform bugged
me, I didn't like the cap, he didn't either, nobody liked
the cap. It looked terrible if I might say it. But, then
we always wondered why we had one patch on the left sleeve.
Now I can understand if your passing in traffic, somebody
might see it, I don't know where that idea came up with,
that's the only thing I can figure out. That used to bug
me. So, we got back from up in off of this detail and I
think it was during this period of time from inauguration
of Dan McCarty, I went to the Colonel and asked him, I went
to Jay Hall, he was in charge of all the property, Captain
Jay Hall, about getting a patch for the right sleeve, he
said, well, I agree with you Keith, that will be fine, we
got the money, I agree with you.
JR: How many troopers did we have during that time, Major
Keith, do you have any idea?
CWK: During that period of time...
JR: About 300, 350?
CWK: We had about 300 I guess, somewhere in that area. That's
what I was going to bring out here. So I talked to the
boss, so when I say the boss, that means Colonel Kirkman.
So Colonel Clifton, now the Colonel was transferred up here
from Miami, Colonel Clifton in "53 I think and they were
all for it. So Major Smith was still in charge of the
money, in charge of budget. So I was asked to hit him up
with it. So I went to see Major Smith, I guess at that
time, well, Captain Smith, I asked him about that and he
tickled me, he said "now Keith, say do you know why you
always keep coming up with all these different things about
that uniform", he said "now you know we haven't got the
money to buy no extra patch". He said, "you know what
those extra patches cost", I said "no sir". Well, 25 or 30
cents, he said "we haven't got that kind of money", and
says, "please don't be going to the Colonel with all this
stuff". Well, anyhow I always get a kick out of him.
Anyhow we got the patches, first batch that came in, Hall
and I examined them and the Sunrise Store across the street
from the Martin Building, that fellow over there, I can't
remember his name, he was the one that got the bid. Well,
I looked at them, Hall and I inspected them real good and
they hadn't filled in the orange real good, you know, you
know what I'm talking about. They hadn't done that real
good like it should be. So Colonel Kirkman always listened
to Hall so I got Hall all worked up so he told the Colonel
about it and so we called the man in that ordered them and
Colonel wasn't going to take them. Man said "give me a
nickel for them, just a nickle". Colonel said I don't want
them in circulation, I'll keep them over here because I'm
afraid you might sell them to somebody. The box stayed
there for I don't know how long. Well, anyhow, we got one
for that side, then the way that those patches were not
like they are today, they would, you had the patch, then
you had a little, about that much around it cloth, you had
to tuck that in and get somebody to sew it on. You know
how they used to be. That's when we came up with that
other patch. I guess maybe you are about
JR: Let's go, we have about five more minutes on this tape,
Major Keith, something close to that, we might as well use
CWK: All right, I remember that patch and it was so good to get
another patch. Now keep in mind that two or three things
bugged me about our uniforms and I was continually looking
everywhere I went. We had what we called the gray ghost
shirt that we wore with the pink trousers. I don't know
whose idea that was and don't ask me what I think about how
it looked but you remember the gray ghost, I don't know who
got the idea about that mixture and then that cap set it
off. So then I was still looking and I want to say this to
you about the seal, here, I don't know if it's still in
existence, I had my wife to take that shoulder patch that
was full and we supplied Hall with the number of stitches
in the leaves and in the orange. They used to be in the
specifications, so to be sure the orange would be full
color. Now before we get into Governor LeRoy Collins
that's 1955 through 1961, we probably should take a break.
JR: That will be fine Major Keith.
CWK: I'm sorry to take all your time.
JR: No, that's quite all right, we have about three or four
minutes left on this tape right here, do you want to go as
far as we can on this.
CWK: Right, now whenever Governor Collins was elected, as I
indicated, we had the privilege of being with him before
and of course, the first thing after the inauguration why
the Colonel wanted, indicated the Governor wanted to go to
Washington to take his party. That was the last
administration of Eisenhower's, so we prepared and we went
through the same process as we did before except what we
did as a result of our experience, we took an additional
car and loaded it with fruit, we took the patrol car, a
convertible, one of us drove another car because we had so
many friends up there that helped us. During, when we got
to Washington there in Collins' administration, the police,
we'd even drive down through the route that was before
any of the parade had already started. We would even use
that car to help the parade marshal line everybody up.
But, the Governor when he returned from his first
legislative session there, and he was a safety minded
individual and we accomplished a lot during. his
administration. One of the pieces of legislation that he
had drawn up dealt with the state flag and the state seal.
He had some language he wanted to correct and he wanted the
state seal or the state flag to
JR: This is a continuation of the oral interview of Major C. W.
Keith at the Neil Kirkman Building in Tallahassee, Florida,
on January 17, 1989. Major Keith we were talking before
lunch and before our tape break about the Governor Collins'
administration. Would you continue with this now, please
CWK: Yes. As I was indicating, during the first legislative
session after the Governor was inauguarated, he wanted
some, a bill prepared dealing with some language in the
state seal, correcting some of it and also wanted to
the state flag to be more prominently used by state
agencies and as a result, this legislation provided in part
that all of the state agencies, state motor vehicles that a
seal with the proper name of the department would be around
the state flag. Now keep in mind that prior to that time,
we were using the state seal itself with. the Florida
Highway Patrol around it. But he wanted to apparently push
the state flag so in that process, Colonel Kirkman called
me in one morning and indicated that there had been a
committee appointed by Governor Collins to come up with a
decal to go on all state owned vehicles and that they had
come up with a decal with the proper wording and he wanted
me to look at it and my suggestions about it and to work
with the committee. So, the first decal that came back,
there were two that came back from, I think 3M made the
seals, there were two seals. One for the right door and
one for the left, and the seal showed, it had under the
state seal, or the Florida flag, the Florida Highway Patrol
and this was really, in looking at the statute, this was
not what he wanted. So the Colonel asked me to put
something together to present to the Governor and Cabinet
at their next meeting. I took the state seal that had come
back from 3M and put the state flag in the same decal that
we had on the patrol cars with Florida Highway Patrol
around it. The decal of the flag was the same size and had
Mr. Bob Miller, the cabinet man here, to fix it up for me
on a piece of masonite. So I went with the Colonel to the
Cabinet and they were enthused about what we had come up
with. I'v still got that, it's out at the archives in the
Highway Patrol Academy now. So the first samples coming
back after we had given it back to 3M, they looked great.
What they did, they sent just those for the right door but
you had to have because of the flying of the flag, you had
to have one for the left door too. But anyhow, the two
that came back plus the one that I had prepared for the
Colonel, they are out at archives too, one of them was,
the other one now I'm fixing up for Governor Collins on
something else. Okay, so this is whenever we started with
the new state seal on the patrol car, the Florida flag.
JR: What year are we talking about?
CWK: This was in 1955 after the first session of the
legislature. Also in that legislative package during that
session of "55, he had a bill prepared to provide for a
coordinator to be in his office from the Highway Patrol to
handle all safety matters that come through his office and
that bill provided and I have a copy of that bill, provided
in part, that it would not only be a member of the Highway
Patrol. but his rank would be lieutenant, and so whenever,
that legislation passed, Colonel Clifton went with Colonel
Kirkman down to Governor Collins there, Collar was the man
that, I think he was present when the Governor signed the
bill, Collar was over there at the Governor's office any
item that came up from anywhere the Governor would give it
to Lieutenant Collar.
JR: Roger C. Collar?
CWK: Roger C. Collar. Right...and that was real great. Then
during Governor Collins' administration, he had cuff links,
I'v still got a pair that he gave me, with a Florida flag
on it. A little thing here and he started something
because thereafter, shortly thereafter, the Governors that
followed him up through Burns came out with something. I'v
got whatever they came out with. That was one of the
highlights of his administration as far as the Patrol was
concerned. Another item that came up during his
administration which was real great, we did not have in the
State of Florida a speed law, we had a reckless driving
charge that was most difficult to convict an individual of
and because for reckless driving it stated in part that it
was prima facie evidence if you were exceeding the speed
limit of a certain amount, like 55, it was prima facie
evidence of reckless driving. So, with Colonel Collar and
getting the information from out here, this was pushed,
this was really pushed and Governor Collins prepared a
bill, had a bill prepared to provide for speed law in the
state of Florida. Now for example, maybe the law would,
the bill passed but it was going into effect six months
later to give DOT the opportunity to put up the signs.
What happened was, Governor Collins did like Governor Askew
when the federal government passed a speed limit on
interstate highways. Governor Collins took the authority
from the State Road Department, had them put up the signs
ahead of time out here on the highways. That was before
the bill was even passed using their authority that they
could provide minimum rules and regulations and had
authority on the speed limit law. So, what we did,
we....to get it kicked off, at that time, we had some
photographs that appeared on the Florida Handbook, he
wanted it circulated, wanted it publicized that we had a
speed law so the handbook carried that. Bill Joyce was a
trooper here that eventually was sheriff of this county,
took him out on a highway, Thomasville highway, with one of
the signs standing at the patrol car and a photograph was
made and that appeared on all the handbooks in the state.
That was first publicity that went out, covered with the
handbooks. So everybody was enthusiastic about this and of
course, the bill became effective, the signs were already
up whenever the law went into effect. And, another item
that really, I was fortunate to be present at that time,
one morning the Colonel was us to go over, wanted me to go
with him to see Mr. Bob Gray. This was during the
administration, his administration here as to the dates,
somewhere between "55 and "61 but
JR: Bob Gray was serving
CWK: Bob Gray was Secretary of State and he was the man to look
out for us and at that time, we, the Department, was
getting 50 cents for our driver record. So there was a Lot
of money accumulated there, I don't think that everybody
knew that the Colonel had that money. It was put up in
accident records, accident and driver license fees, and his
contact with Mr. Gray was to determine whether or not that
money could be used to build the Kirkman Building and so
Mr. Gray told him that he thought it was fine, it wasn't
costing State any money and we needed to use that money so
he told him to get with Mr. Gay, who was the Comptroller,
to circulate it around in the Cabinet where they would
know. Okay....... so at the time that this was presented at
the Cabinet, many times what I would do, go with him if I
was in town, I happen to go with him that day and got
copies of the minutes of that meeting, and always, I had me
a box ...... shine...and I'd always get the man's shoes
shined and all that kind of stuff, get him all fixed up,
you know. So, that subject was brought up at the meeting,
Cabinet meeting and of course, everybody wanted us to have
a building. Governor Collins wanted it in the capitol
center down there and so, prior to that time now, we had
been down to see Mrs. Richardson who owned this property
down here, used to have a house right down here on
JR: Where at on Apalachee Parkway are we talking about Major.
CWK: We are talking about across from, as you go down in the
hollow, we are talking about the ...across, just across
from Sonnys over there. There was a big home there, she
owned all- this property in here. That's where we got the
JR: The Kirkman Building is located
CWK: The bill, the patrol station but he wanted some more
property. So Major Smith and I went down there to see
about that. That had all been done. So, anyhow, he
wanted, the Governor wanted it in the capitol center like
it needed to be there. And, of course, there wasn't
anything out here. Now keep in mind, there wasn't anything
out here. Mrs. Richardson, out here, they had a pasture out
here and every day about 5 o'clock., of course that U.S.27
out there, concrete and had a cattle gap where the cows
would come over in this area here, back and forth, across,
but every day about 5 o'clock man would get out there in
the road and hold up the traffic for the cows. So, anyhow,
we, that was brought up and discussed. So, they had a vote
on it and of course, the Cabinet overruled the Governor
there about that thing, so the Kirkman Building started.
JR: What year was this, Major Keith?
CWK: This was about, Mr. Carlisle was the man, the contractor
who got the job out here, he and Huddleston, this was about
"55 or "56 because we came out here in this building in
"58, in this building, we moved in, this building from the
Martin Building. Now, at that time, we were expanding down
there at the Martin Building, if you will remember across
the street from the Martin Building, they had the Pepper
Building, we had driver license over there, we have it
scattered around everywhere. So, this was designated out
here, and keep in mind now, the city limits was about up to
where, not quite at the Holiday Inn. You didn't have this
route her, you went around Lafayette Street coming up 27
down through the hollow where DOT is now and back up the
hill. So this strip of road, they were preparing it
straight in like the Apalachee Parkway, this Kirkman
Building was built, they had already started on that, but
this was built before they ever finished that strip of
road. So after it was finished, the Colonel knew Mr. Ed
Fraser, Senator Ed Fraser that had a nursery over at Glen
St. Mary in Baker County. So on one Saturday, I took one,
I can't think of what the janitor's name was, that was with
us so long that came out here, black fellow, but anyhow, we
went over on one Saturday and took a truck and brought back
the plants and everything to put around the building. I got
with the Florida Forest Service over here and got enough
seedlings to make three in a row down our whole property.
So on Saturdays and Sundays I got one of the men and we got
a dibble and we put out all these pine trees out around the
property, all down the back. You know, we finally got a
shooting range back there but anyhow, the building was
built and then when we found out, Captain Hall and I did,
we were at that time having a school, a patrol schools, out
in, we had moved, we used to have them out at Eglin Field
so the Colonel negotiated with the city and brought some
property out there with the old barracks was out at
the old west campus where the Patrol Academy is right now.
So we felt like, Hall and I did, that we may lose that
money and we talked to Colonel Clifton about it and so the
Colonel said well, I think we have just about got enough
money to build an academy. He had Huddleston here to build
all of our patrol stations, he was the architect, drew up
the plans for the academy and we, the patrol academy was
built and they dedicated it to Captain Hall in 1966 that
was when it was dedicated and all of the formats that's in
there now, the pictures and everything that is in it, I got
Mr. Bob Miller to design all of that, you know that format
and all the people who were killed in the line of duty, he
designed all of that and that case out there, it's made out
of beech, he designed it and I had him put rollers on it to
put stuff in that used to be downstairs in the building.
So we moved it all out there and I, there again, when the
building was built, I decorated the front when you come in,
the cabinet members, I had plastic of the capitol building
with all the Governor and the Cabinet and everything as you
walk in.the Kirkman Building. That's when that was done.
Now another thing that happened during his administration
with the uniforms, one Spring or Summer, well I guess it
was in the Spring, Governor Collins' son was at Annapolis
and Mrs. Collins and the Governor wanted to go up there for
graduation exercises so Joe Cook at that time was driving
them a little bit, he had driven Dan McCarty and Joe was
driving but Joe apparently was on vacation and I was
selected to drive them up there. And, of course in those
days, you went up US 1 and it was a long deal.
JR: It took forever to get there, didn't it?
CKW: So we went up to Maryland at Annapolis, okay, while we were
there at Annapolis and they assigned the Governor's, they
assigned a trooper to me to show me where to go, to take us
around and so forth. But while we were there, they had a
straw hat and it is in archives that was made by Stetson
for the Maryland State Police, straw hat, they had a belt
buckle and while we were there, they took me down, we went
to Baltimore and to see the man that made the belt buckles.
They had Maryland they had the state seals they had
the state police. I, a Sergeant, we talked with a man,
this fellow by the name of Hahn that turned out all those
buckles and then here they had a pink broadcloth shirt,
same color as these pink trousers we got, the army uniform.
JR: At that time you were wearing gray.....
CWK: That gray, I couldn't wait to get back. So I brought one
of their buckles back and sent it back. But about two
weeks after we got back they had made up a buckle for us
and that was a long summer we wore uniforms. Colonel
couldn't wait to get rid of those hats, those caps and the
shirts. Major said, I don't know what we are going to do
now we've got so many shirts out there, Colonel.
JR: That was Major Wallace Smith?
CWK: Major Smith and he was coming in and talking to Colonel
Clifton. Colonel Clifton was a hundred percent for it
because he didn't like the caps anyhow. He said, Keith,
that's wonderful man and I took that hat in. Before that
summer was out we had hats coming in for the next summer.
JR: This was about "55, so I gave, I still had the same shirt,
or the first group of shirts that came in, I gave that to
the Academy, the hat and the belt buckle. So that was done
and then the this was the when we were going through
all of this, I wanted our first shirts had a straight
pockets and I got this idea from Maryland and we went, the
pockets were cut, officers pockets, so we got those shirts
back, everybody went crazy about the shirts. So our winter
shirts, summer shirts, all had straight pockets so I got
with Captain Hall and he helped me sell Colonel Kirkman and
Colonel Clifton helped us and they wanted, they were trying
to do something with that winter uniform because it was so
plain and this hat never was made to go with it in the
first place. We tried, Colonel Clifton tried for the
Colonel to get rid of that hat, to get a black hat, get a
graphite hat, get something that would be a contrast here
with the uniform. The hat, the gray hat that we've got
today was never made for that uniform. So we tried and
tried on the uniform we finally got rid of that
little tan stripe, little leather thing that went down, we
got rid of that so the Colonel black we finally sold
him on the black band to get rid of that nickle band that
was on there. But Captain Bass, this must have been "54 or
"55 because Captain Bass had been transferred to Panama
City. Captain liked things and I got him to help me, he
was close to Colonel Kirkman. So I wanted to do something,
I first started out, I wanted maybe black pockets, the
flaps black here, so we had Levine to make up one up and
when you had the black flaps these just too much,
so we finally decided on black piping to go around the
JR: The border
CWK: The border of the pockets and around the epaulets, up here
and of course, the Colonel wanted, Colonel Clifton wanted
to get rid of the hat but we were never able to accomplish
that while the Colonel was here. Now, we got rid of those
caps, we, and keep in mind, we got rid of the caps, and we
still had the graphite hats that was designed for this army
pink uniform that we are wearing. A lot of them down here
in the warehouse, across the street from the Martin
Building, well, Colonel Kirkman made arrangements for the
Georgia Highway Patrol, the Colonel up there, I forget what
the man's name is, we took a panel truck and took those
hats and caps to Georgia. Georgia used the caps for the
examiners and the graphite hats that's what they wore. But
Major Smith he was having a tiffy about spending all that
money but keep in mind a change in uniform cost a lot of
money because the hats back in those days, the 3X Beaver
Brand was about $37.50 a piece in lots of a hundred,
somewhere in that neighborhood. They were expensive so
that was the main thing but the shirts and we got those and
it took awhile to get rid of the gray shirts and now the
caps, we didn't have any trouble, they went, the caps. In
1957, is whenever the law passed on special service
officers and I received eight of these for eight troopers
that were designated for the Division of Driver Licenses.
That's when that came up, special service officers and I
had the privilege of designing the format of that, look
like a first sergeant deal and then eventually, what we did
on the examiners, you know, we were at that time still
wearing FHP uniforms and we took and under Florida Highway
Patrol, we put an examiner, you know what I mean. under
that, and that was a real accomplishment.
JR: That was for the civilians, were wearing FHP uniforms, they
had an examiner's badge and did not wear a gun belt, not
bonded is what I'm saying.
CWK: No, they were just civilians, but anyhow, that gave them a
shot in the arm. Now
JR: Tell me about your special service officers, Major Keith.
What was their primary responsibility. Were they assigned
full time deals duties or
CWK: The special service officers, you had see Captain Taylor
started it out and Adams was up here. But they had a
safety education section and that same year in 1957 is
whenever Dodge gave the Patrol enough cars for
advertisement purposes, I'm sure, for their special service
officers. These were public information your safety
officers out there. They call them service officers and
then they assigned eight to the Division of Driver Licenses
and so they help me regulate and supervise the civilian
examiners in the field. That same year, 1957, is whenever
the Highway Patrol and the State of Kentucky was made the
state police. That's the last state police in the United
States that was organized in 1957 and that was Kentucky.
So they asked the Colonel to send me up there to set up
their program. So there again, we got some help from Glen
Carmichael now and he was still at Northwestern so we went
up there and set up, we wrote their manual and set up their
program there and we built a lot a good will in Kentucky.
So that was real good. That same year, Inspector Clifton
was made Colonel and Deputy Director and then Simmons, H.
Lee Simmons was made Deputy Inspector and -if there ever was
a man, a fine man, it was nobody but Simmons. All the rest
of them was fine but Lee Simmons was something. Now that
same year, well, during this period of time, during
Governor Collins' administration, is whenever we, Tom Joyce
brought back a decal that was used with State Trooper on
JR: Now who is Tom Joyce?
CWK: Tom Joyce was a member of the Highway Patrol and he was
safety education officer down there, way back.
JR: Down where?