DIVISION OF FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL
50TH ANNIVERSARY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
INTERVIEW WITH LIEUTENANT EDWARD L. HERRING
MARCH 22, 1989
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY LIEUTENANT CHARLES WILLIAMS
CW: This is Wednesday, March the 22nd, 1989. I'm interviewing
Edward L. Herring, retired Lieutenant with the Florida
Highway Patrol. The time is 10:45 AM and this is for the
Florida Highway Patrol 50th Anniversary Oral History
Project. Buddy, as you know the FHP will observe its 50th
anniversary in '89 and this interview will start with your
knowledge of and your input for the past history of the
Patrol. For our files please let me have your full name.
EH: Edward L. Herring.
CW: What date did you start with the FHP.
EH: FHP, I started May the 1st, 1956.
CW: It was a long time ago, wasn't it.
EH: It was a long time ago.
CW: What did you do before that, Buddy?
EH: I was a drag line operator for the United States Sugar
Corporation in Clewiston.
CW: Are you from Florida originally?
EH: No, I was born in Georgia.
CW: What part?
CW: When did you move to Florida?
EH: Gee, probably when I was 12, 13 years old back in the early
CW: You moved down, down around the lake around Clewiston?
EH: Around Clewiston, Lake Okeechobee.
CW: Did you still go to school when you moved down there?
EH: Yes, I was going to school.
EH: Graduated in Clewiston.
Graduated from high school in
CW: Big senior class I'll betcha'.
EH: Yes, we had 26.
EH: 26 members. And by the way, they all still living except
CW: Is that right?
EH: Yes. And those two are valedictorians. The, I don't know
what the other one was but one of them is a valedictorian.
And both of them are girls.
CW: What'd you do when you got out of high school?
EH: I went to work for the United States Sugar Corporation. I
was working with the survey department. I was doing survey
work and then went with the drag line Department and I
started working there operating heavy equipment with the
CW: How long did you do that until the time you come on the
EH: Ten years.
CW: Ten years. Had enough of it.
EH: Had enough of it. No, basically the reason that I got
interested in something else, I was looking for a retirement
thing. I wanted some type job that had some future to it as
far as retirement. I was probably making more money then
than I was making ten years later-on the Highway Patrol.
CW: What made you decide to come with the Patrol?
EH: That was basically the reason because of the benefits, side
benefits that they had other than salary. They didn't have
much salary but they did have some good side benefits.
CW: Any particular individual you remember down around that area
with the Patrol that might have influenced you a little bit?
EH: Russell Garris.
CW: Russell Garris.
EH: Russell Garris.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
Russ. Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: He's the man that influenced me and he and Ralph Hayes.
CW: Were they troopers down there?
EH: They were troopers down there. Russell Garris was a trooper
in Moore Haven. And Garris, I mean Hayes was a trooper in
CW: Did you ride with them any?
EH: I rode with both of them some. Quite a bit, yeah. That was
the influence that started me.
CW: Where was your first duty station?
CW: Imperial Polk County.
EH: Imperial Polk County, under Captain I. Olin Hill.
CW: When you, how many troopers were stationed in Lakeland when
you went there?
CW: Nine, to cover all.
EH: In Polk County.
CW: To cover all Polk County.
Work any other counties or just
EH: We worked Polk, Hardee. Polk and Hardee County.
Highlands County. Polk, Hardee and Highlands.
CW: Where was the station when you were there? Is it a.
EH: Lakeland. There on Memorial Boulevard. What is that, 98?
CW: How many supervisors?
EH: There was a Lieutenant, Sergeant, First Sergeant and we
didn't have a Corporal at that time, just had a Sergeant and
of course Captain I. Olin Hill. Mike Edenfield was the
First Sergeant there at the time. No he wasn't. I take
that back. He was the Sergeant and I can't think of the
Lieutenant's name right at the present.
CW: Was Norris down there then, Bill Norris?
EH: No, no. And at that time Bill Floyd was Corporal here in
Brooksville. I can't tell who was the Lieutenant there at
that particular time.
CW: Who, who was the most colorful individual that you ever met
when you were in Lakeland on the Patrol?
EH: Well, I'll have to give some thought on this one now.
Probably Charlie Mars.
CW: Charlie Mars. He later went down to Miami I think.
EH: Right, right. Charlie was quiet you know he, he was about
35 when he come on the Patrol. In fact I think he just got
in under the wire. At that time we had an age of 35 was the
limit. And I think he was 34 or maybe 34 and a half at the
time. And he was a peach of a fellow. He was a good family
man. He just impressed me about everything he did really.
He was very impressive. And of course he picked up the name
as Chrome Dome. And of course I broke in under him. Ha,
ha, I worked, he broke me in really.
CW: You working what, six days a week then?
EH: Six days a week. Well, yeah you worked six days a week but
you were on call seven days. At that time you, well you
were working from two to two. Well we only had one man who
worked the day shift. And one man that worked the midnight
shift. And everybody else worked two to two. That was the
schedule, two to two.
CW: A lot of traffic problems around Polk County then?
EH: Probably Polk County had more paved highways than the rest
of Florida put together.
CW: That's where they got the name Imperial from, down that way.
EH: That's right, that's right. And, and of course that, they
had a lots of paved roads in Polk County at that time and
still do as far as that goes. But then you only had a very
limited number of people to work. And you didn't just work
Lakeland, you might have to go to Lake Wales, you might have
to work Bartow or Haines City. Of course Polk County is a
big county. Lots, lots of towns.
CW: Different types of people depending what section of the
county you're in?
EH: Right. Right.
CW: Oh, south end of the county was what, primarily phosphate
EH: Phosphate, yeah. Down around Bartow and Ft. Meade. Of
course really the county line didn't matter a whole lot
because we worked Hardee County too. So, we worked down
around Ft. Meade area too, Wauchula.
CW: Did Polk County have a fog problem back then?
EH: Had a serious fog problem. At that time US 27 was the main
road. There was no four lane highways in Polk County and 27
was the main road through the state of Florida. And, it
actually ended in Lake Wales and went back to the old road
back around through Lake Wales and, and that's where the fog
and smoke problem were. Nearly every night we'd have
fatalities on that road somewhere with smoke and fog. And
it would get so thick that you couldn't even walk down the
road much less drive down the road. In fact they authorized
us to use fog lights on our patrol car. And unbeknowing to
some of the people in Tallahassee, I guess they didn't know
that I was authorized to use fog lights and I had the
occasion to go to Tallahassee for some reason or another,
and right away one of the supervisors in Tallahassee
cornered me and began to tell me what discipline that he was
going to take for me having fog lights on my car. And he
was very upset about that thing because I--had fog lights on
my car. And I suggested that he talk to Captain I. Olin
Hill, and I believe he would get him straightened out. But
he didn't, he said well, I never heard of such a thing as
running fog lights on a patrol car.
CW: What kind of fellow was Captain Hill?
EH: The greatest man in the world. He was a very strict old
gray fox type fellow. He was the type fellow that you could
believe in what he said. He would stick by you if you
didn't lie to him. And it's no problem with Captain Hill.
He would stick with you. Thick or thin didn't matter. And
he didn't mind getting out there and doing the same job you
CW: That was Troop C then.
EH: It was Troop C.
CW: Did it, did it take in Tampa and the north forty?
EH: Took in Tampa, Brooksville, Pinellas Park.
CW: How long, how long were you stationed in Polk County?
EH: From 1956 to '61.
CW: Where'd you go from there?
CW: You went to small towns didn't you.
EH: Small towns, ha, ha. See I lived in Lakeland for awhile and
then I moved from Lakeland to Lake Wales. And I was
stationed in Lake Wales after I got through breaking in I
went on the road first and then I went to patrol school.
And then after I came back out of patrol school and then I
went to Lake Wales in which I was stationed. So I, then I
left Lake Wales then I went to Wildwood. I went to
Wildwood, pretty sure it was 1961.
CW: As a trooper?
EH: As a trooper. And in 1964, October of 1964, I made
Corporal. And was living in Wildwood at the time, and then
I moved up to Brooksville. And I was Corporal there in
CW: That's where the station was for that area.
EH: That's right, that's right. It was in Brooksville.
CW: What were you making salarywise back then?
EH: As a trooper and I'm not sure this is exactly right, I can
look it up and tell you exactly, but it was, I think I was
making $225 a month, and-I think while I was in Wildwood we
got a big pay raise. The legislature had a special deal on
and we got a $75 a month pay raise which gave me $300 a
month I believe, total gross pay.
CW: You were big time then, weren't you?
EH: Big time. Big time. Of course when you first come on the
Patrol you only got $75 a month for the time that you were
either going to school for the first two months.
CW: Well, you went to Brooksville.
How long did you stay down
EH: I stayed exactly three years.
CW: You were a Corporal in Brooksville?
EH: I was a Corporal in Brooksville. I went there in October
the 1st 1964 and I left October the 1st 1967, made Sergeant
and went to Orlando.
CW: Big town.
EH: Big town. Big time.
CW: Before Disney.
EH: Before Disney, that's right.
CW: You went to work in Orlando which was troop headquarters,
who was the troop commander then?
EH: Troop D and Captain Weaver. Captain Harry Weaver was the
CW: Fine gentleman.
EH: Yes. If I had anything to say bad about him I wouldn't know
where to say it or how to say it. There wasn't no way you
could say anything bad about Captain Weaver.
CW: Orlando in 1964.
CW: '70. '67. Describe Orlando for us in 1967.
EH: Orlando at that time was a medium size town I would say. It
was a very quiet nice town. The crime rate probably was
very low. It had, in fact Orlando was just on top of a lot
of things. It still had the downtown areas. The shopping
centers hadn't really got going in that area. Maybe, well I
think they were just fixing to build the first shopping
center out near the Patrol station there in Orlando. In
fact, they had just moved into the new Patrol station in
Orlando at that time. And the old Patrol station, well they
had swapped property over there, still in the same area but
--the city and the Patrol swapped some property there and they
built the new building on a little different piece of
property right next to the lake by the airport. Beautiful
place. And, they hadn't been in the new building very
long. Orlando was just beginning to grow a little bit and
along came Disney. And, along come the followers.
CW: You got in on that ball game too didn't you?
EH: I got in on that ball game. In fact I carried Governor
Kirk, who was Governor at that time, to Disney site where
Disney is built now. I carried him into the field there.
It took us all day with a tractor pulling us part of the way
to get out to where Disney is built now through the sand and
stuff and for him to dig the first spade of dirt where
Disney is built. And I carried Governor Kirk out there that
CW: How many troopers in Orlando at the time? Roughly.
EH: Well, of course that, in Orlando also had Osceola County. I
believe there was 44.
CW: And there was also the Weights Division.
EH: The Weights Division was there which was upstairs. You know
that was a kind of a separate deal and I'd can't tell you
how many. They had their own division and of course we
worked together but we didn't really intermingle that much.
I couldn't tell you how many they had. But, but most of
their headquarters was there and their supervisors was
there. They had a couple weight troopers living in Orlando.
CW: Were you the only Sergeant in Troop D?
EH: I was the only Sergeant in Troop D yes. Not in Troop D, but
in Orlando district.
CW: But in Orlando district.
EH: Right and that included Orange and Osceola County.
CW: One Lieutenant?
EH: One Lieutenant. And one Captain, and two Corporals. And
that was the extent of the supervisors. First Sergeant.
CW: Who were some of the people that you remember that people
that you worked with around the office that kind of stand
out in your mind?
EH: Well, again that's kind of tough, Harold Lee was there at
the time. C.J. Hutches was there at the time. Ortegas was
there. But he would stand out in anybody's mind 'cause he
always had something going.
CW: What he a trooper, or?
EH: He was in Drivers License at that time. The Drivers License
was under the Patrol.
CW: There they had an office out adjacent to the station?
EH: That's right their office was adjacent to the station.
Lieutenant Linscomb was there.
CW: Travis Linscomb?
EH: Travis Linscomb. And he later went with the Weight
Division. Frozzard was there. He was the, well in fact
Frozzard was the First Sergeant. I replaced Frozzard and he
was Sergeant and he made First Sergeant, and I went there as
Sergeant, and Frozzard replaced Jack Waldon as First
Sergeant, and they were just organizing the MVI. The MVI
came a little bit later I believe it was. But anyway Jack
Waldon went to the Academy. He was instructing a lot at the
Academy and then he went into the Weight Division. Not the
Weight Division but the Motor Vehicle Inspection Division.
And he headed up the MVI and wrote manuals. So then
Frozzard made First Sergeant and I made Sergeant.
CW: Was there a Patrol station in Kissimmee at the time?
CW: Everything operated out of Orlando.
EH: Everything operated out of Orlando.
CW: If you could reach them on the radio.
EH: If you could reach them on the radio. Which if you know if
you were right around Kissimmee and the north side of
Kissimmee you were alright, but if you get on out towards
Yeehaw Junction and down in that area, it was a lost cause.
There just wasn't no way and they tried setting up a relay
tower down there, but it had some delay to it or something
another, and every time they cut it on, it would interfere
with other stations so bad that we just couldn't use it. We
really had radio problems, serious radio problems.
,CW: Let's talk about Walt Disney a minute. You were there when
Walt Disney had bought up the property little bit at a
time. And they decided to move in. What kind of problems
did it create?
EH: Well, first of all they come in there and had forerunners to
come in and give seminars and one thing and another on the
problems that Disney was going to bring to the area. And
they told us what a traffic problem we'd have. And that
we'd better start providing or trying to solve some of the
problems as far as roads at that time. And of course we
were a little bit slow in doing it. Hotels, motels, places
to stay was another problem. And, so pretty soon
construction got started. And it seemed for awhile it was
going to be kinda' slow but then all of a sudden just an
influx of people started coming in. Houses started being
built. Streets started being filled with cars. And you
couldn't, certain times of the day in Orlando, you couldn't
go one mile an hour. You could walk faster than you could
drive a car in certain areas. When Disney did open there
was a time the interstate would get jammed up for hours at a
time. We'd just have to close down Disney and go out and
try to turn people around on the interstate, and send them
back the opposite direction to try to open the thing up. It
was completely blocked for hours at a time.
CW: Must have been difficult just to cover the wrecks and try to
provide manpower out there. I imagine that interstate 4 was
probably the main problem, wasn't it?
EH: Yeah, that was one of the main problems. Of course one of
the big problems we had was getting to the accident itself.
You know, it would happen on the interstate. And, how do
you get the injuries out? How do you get to them? And it
become a big problem, how to get them out. How to get to
it. We considered everything. We considered motorcycles.
We even considered one time putting motor scooters on the
patrol cars. Drive the patrol car as far as you could and
then take the motor scooter and go the rest of the way.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: They finally came up with a helicopter service. We could
get a helicopter in there to get the injuries out but they
couldn't get the fire trucks or the ambulances in there.
The helicopter helped a whole lot although we had some
problems with that. The helicopter ran into a patrol car
one time. A few things like that.
CW: A helicopter ran into a patrol car?
EH: Yeah, he took off and didn't quite get up high enough,
couldn't quite lift the load and the tires kinda' creased
the top of a patrol car pretty bad, but at least he kept
CW: That's a typical Sergeant's nightmare isn't it. Ha, ha, ha,
EH: Ha, ha, ha, ha. And of course we relied on that helicopter
a lot of times at nighttime out there and that got to be bad
CW: How far was the traffic backing up say on I-4?
EH: From Disney to Orlando, which is what, 18, 16 miles?
CW: How about the other way?
EH: Well usually the other way it was open. Ran good the other
way. But again, everybody's trying to wait to get in the
parking lot. Everybody's overheating, cars overheating,
parked, batteries goin' dead. Everything was happening.
CW: People fighting.
EH: People fighting. And of course they'd have an accident, run
into each other out there and get out and have fights. It
was a mess. Just a mess. We finally figured out when the
parking lot got full we'd just direct traffic around a
different way and just starting them running in a loop. As
long as somebody was going. As long as their cars were
moving they were happy.
CW: You did this with 40 some odd troopers?
EH: Right. In fact one morning it got so bad that Colonel
Clifton came down and we were supposed to have a troop
meeting in Orlando at eleven o'clock. Colonel Clifton came
flying in that morning to hold his meeting and at that time,
as you know, I was a part-time pilot for the Patrol, I was
flying that particular morning. Flying the traffic. And it
started backing up. Every time another man would come in
for the troop meeting I would send him somewhere else to
work traffic, so it ended up I had all the men from Daytona,
and all the people from Melbourne working traffic. And
still had more problems than you could handle, and it was
getting to be about five minutes to eleven, time for the
meeting. So Captain Weaver called me on the radio and I was
still in the airplane. And he says, are you gonna' be able
to let's have the meeting? So I told him, Captain there's
no way we can have a meeting. We have to cancel the
meeting. And that's-the first time that I've ever known
that a Sergeant outranked a Colonel. But I did, and I said,
oh what did I do now. But anyway, I went on and worked the
traffic, and we finally got it worked out about one
o'clock. And so Captain Weaver came on the radio and he
said, quick as you land come to my office. I said, this old
boy has done messed up bad. Oh no, he's done messed up bad.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: So I landed and I went to his office. And Captain Weaver
says, I want to congratulate you on a fine job. He said I
saw something this morning that I didn't think I'd ever
see. But it happened. He said I heard you cancel the
meeting set up by the Colonel, and the Colonel had no choice
but to say that's the only thing he could do, I'll see
youall later. And he took off in his airplane and left, and
Captain Weaver said, that that was an ideal decision. He
said, I want to tell you I appreciate the decision that you
made. And I couldn't believe it, I just couldn't believe.
I figured that, you know, I'd get a letter of reprimand at
least out of it. But, I didn't. And then later, a week or
so later, Colonel Clifton came by and he come by my office
and he told me. You know you had some problems, you had a
lot more problems than I had. He said, I had no business
here so I went to Miami. But that's how bad it got. It got
that bad. And this was during the middle of the week, too,
this was like a Wednesday or something like that.
CW: You said you were a part-time pilot. Do you do that in your
EH: No, not in my spare time, but on the pilot's days off and
stuff like that. Which is, the airplane was a necessity
there in Orlando. Especially with that Disney traffic
there. And then I flew on pilot's days off, and a lot of
times on holidays I flew in order for him to get time off,
well I did a lot of the flying. And I did some on the
CW: Did you get your pilot's license before you ever came on the
EH: Yes, I did.
CW: When did you get that?
EH: I soloed in 1949.
CW: You've been at it awhile. What in the world did you solo in
in 1949, ha, ha.
EH: I soloed in a J-3 Cub. But I took most of my flying in a,
what they call Aronica K. Aronica K which was a 2-cylinder
airplane with one magneta. Which doesn't mean much to most
people but it's a, it didn't have a whole lot of safety
built into it. Just a 2-cylinder putt-putt airplane. But a
--.- -J-3 Cub-at that time was an ideal training plane. Of course
they didn't have electric starters or anything. We had to
crank them by hand. It was a nice training plane. And it's
what I soloed in, was a J-3 Cub.
CW: When, when did you start flying for the Patrol?
EH: Well, I've done some flying ever since the Patrol's had
CW: When was that?
EH: Probably 63, 64, somewhere along in that area.
CW: That's when we first started clocking cars with them?
EH: Yeah. We started out in Tallahassee. Bought an airplane
and Ralph Moore was probably the first pilot that the state
had. And he was going around different places in the
state. And at that time I started some then with Ralph
Moore. And in fact he hadn't been flying too long at the
time. And then as time went on I flew a little bit here and
flew a little bit there and then I guess it was in '71 or
'72 or somewhere along in there, anyway, when everything got
so jammed up with Disney, well then I submitted a letter
requesting to become a part-time pilot, or assistant pilot
for the Patrol. And they went ahead and gave me the job, a
CW: You were there right close to the airplane at Troop D,
EH: Troop D's near the airport. You could walk down from the
station to the airport if you wanted to, but you could go
through the back gate there and you could be in the airplane
within two or three minutes. That was one thing that was
convenient in Orlando. Like dignitaries came in, like the
Governor or someone like that, man you were sitting right
there. You didn't have to go very far to meet the plane.
CW: You, you say you flew. What, when you were in Orlando, what
kind of plane did you fly for the Patrol?
EH: Okay, the Patrol had a Satago and they had a Piper 150 which
was a Supercub and then they got the Cessna 150 and a 172.
The turnpike had that.
CW: Commander 200?
EH: Yeah, Commander 200.
EH: Hot. Hot. Ha, ha.
CW: Ha, ha, ha. Who were some of the pilots that you worked
EH: Bobby Paul and I worked together for years and years. Like
I say, Ralph Moore. Cormeir.
CW: Vic Cormeir?
EH: Vic Cormeir. And Flagg, Hagerty, John Hagerty, which got
EH: In fact he and I flew a lot together. In fact he and I flew
together before, at one time I owned an airplane. In fact
when I was stationed in Lake Wales, I owned an airplane and
at that time Hagerty learned to fly my airplane. And, and
he flew my airplane quite a bit. And then when he moved to
Orlando, which he was a pilot there in Orlando, well then he
had an airplane of his own. And he gave me the right to fly
his plane anytime I wanted. So it made it real nice. Let's
see, Flagg, Eubanks.
CW: He was, he was a turnpike pilot.
EH: That's right. Now Eubanks and I worked together. Eubanks
was stationed in Plant City when I was stationed in Lake
Wales. And then he went to, left Plant City and went to
Haines City. And while I was in Lake Wales he was also
stationed in Haines City. So he and I worked together for
CW: I understand that he had a hot airplane.
EH: He had a hot airplane. That Commander 200 was a hot
airplane. It was a handful for any pilot. I don't care who
he was because it had a lot of bad characteristics about it.
CW: I understand the chief pilot wouldn't even fly it.
EH: That's right. Never.
CW: Ha, ha, ha.
EH: Because it, well it had a real short wingspan and it had so
much torque on it that if you didn't know how to handle the
torque you just could not control the airplane on the
ground. But how it cruised. I went from Orlando to
Pensacola one time in about two hours and 15 minutes in it.
CW: That had a pretty high top speed on it, didn't it?
EH: Yeah, they get on up there and move on out.
CW: How about Jack King. Was Jack King one of the pilots?
EH: Jack King was one of the pilots. I worked with him also. I
forgot about him. And there was a lot of history behind
Jack King becoming a pilot with the Highway Patrol. And of
course he wanted to. And of course Jack King was one of the
top notch pilots of this country. And he had some very
unique training when he was in Miami as a pilot. And a
couple of times they got into some bad weather down around
Miami and Jack King was the only man that was capable of
getting them out because he had the ability to instrument
CW: Did he have a military flying background?
EH: No, I think Mrs. Skelton is the one that trained him. I'm
not positive about that but I think you'll probably find
that true. And he took a lot of training down there. He
took a lot of ground school, a lot of instrument training
and he had a lot of good experience with flying the 310. A
couple of times they got the 310 in Miami in bad weather.
Couldn't get it out. Jack, he could get it out. So they
made him Chief Pilot.
CW: Did you, did you fly as a relief pilot the whole time you
were stationed in Troop D?
EH: Not the whole time I was stationed in Troop D, but a big
part of the time, yes.
CW: All right, when did you leave Troop D?
EH: I believe it was September of 1972. I'm not sure of the
month, but it was in '72.
CW: Where'd you go from there?
EH: To the turnpike in Orlando.
CW: That was another ball game, wasn't it?
EH: That was another ball game.
That's like moving from the
town to the country.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Dealing with overweight people.
That was like retiring before you retire.
CW: Dealing with overweight Corporals.
EH: That's right. Dealing with overweight Corporals.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: And maybe Chuck Williams Ha, ha, ha, ha.
CW: Yeah. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Who still is.
EH: Still is.
CW: Not overweight. Just too short.
CW: Who was Troop Commander out on the pike when you were out
EH: Captain Hayes. Ralph Hayes.
CW: Ran into him again.
EH: Ran into him again.
CW: A joy to work for.
EH: A joy to work for. A good man. He was a good trooper. He
was a good everything. I worked with him as a trooper. I
worked with him as a Captain. He and I have worked on
details together in Miami on the convention and Ralph Hayes
was Ralph Hayes wherever Ralph Hayes was. There wasn't no
difference between a Captain and a trooper. And that's just
the way he was. He was a good man.
CW: The turnpike was command structure I guess. Well,
everything about the turnpike was unique I guess. From
where you got your dollars to chain of command. Tell me a
little bit about the differences.
EH: Well it was a different ball game altogether. It was a.
Number one it was a different radio system. Which is to me
was a bad start. I found out I couldn't even talk on the
radio. Didn't know how to talk on the radio. And I thought
I had an ID number and got out there and found out I didn't
even have an ID number. So they had to change all that.
And then, and really yop can forget your ID number if you're
on the turnpike for about a year,. _Somebody asks you what's
your ID number and the chances are you may not be able to
tell them 'cause you don't use it. About the only time you
ever see it is when it comes out once a year. And of course
you work on one road. But it is truly well patrolled and
the way the Patrol should be operated because you've got
positive control over the traffic at all times on that
highway. That's one road that if something happens, within
five minutes or so there's going to be a trooper there.
Whether you call them or don't call them. And if you break
down on the road, or whatever happens they have positive
control of that road. It was ideal working conditions.
Ideal. And you say, well it'll get to be a bore being on
one road all the time. It's not a bore because you got so
many duties that you've got to look after. You've got hot
shops, you've got service stations, you've got anything
that's in police work you do on the turnpike. You've got
toll plazas. You've always got problems at toll plazas.
And it seems that anybody that's ever stolen a car or done
anything in the way of a crime wanted to take the fastest
way out of Florida and he always went up the turnpike.
There's more crime on the turnpike I guess than any road in
the state of Florida.
CW: A lot of drugs back then before it was popular to work
EH: That's right. Lot of drugs. There were lot of auto
thefts. There was hardly ever a day went by that somebody
didn't get a stolen car, or two or three. Some days we'd
get two or three stolen cars. It was just kind of amazing.
CW: A lot of stolen cars were recovered right on the other side
of the service plaza too, weren't they?
EH: That's right. Ha, ha.
CW: Ha, ha, ha.
EH: People would go in. People would go in one door in the
service plaza, walk out the other side and couldn't find the
car and swore somebody stole it. But there was some bad
people that traveled the turnpike. And the only bad thing
about it was that some of the troopers were in some pretty
outlying areas, desolate areas and as a result we had so
many got hurt, got shot, got kidnapped. Terrible things.
CW: You mentioned the radio system and the fact that you had a
turnpike ID number. Were we the only one on the frequency?
EH: No, we had the maintenance people on the frequency. We were
the only one on our particular frequency, but we had the
same radio, which you had to listen to all the time, with
the maintenance people, and the toll plaza people. Now the
toll plaza people were on our same frequency. So anything
that took place in the toll plaza was of course naturally
our responsibility. And our responsibility was naturally
the money and stuff like that. And, so it, it was a quite a
busy radio and it was a microwave system and which was very
good. It was a little different than your other system. At
least you could talk car to car for instance from Wildwood
to Miami if you needed to. So it was a quite an improvement
on radio and what I had been used to.
CW: What kind of supervision problems did it pose out there?
EH: Well, one of the big problems of supervision was because,
for instance I had men that lived in Ft. Pierce, men that
lived in Yeehaw Junction, men that lived in Kissimmee, men
that lived in Orlando, and men that lived in Wildwood. So
you had approximately 40 men and they were scattered over
all of these towns and if you travelled every day you could
not, it was almost impossible to see every man you had in
one week's time. You almost, well in fact you could not see
every man on account of the shifts and stuff. The
travelling was tremendous. And you might be in Ft. Pierce
and you have a problem, supervision problem in Wildwood.
You've got a hundred and something miles to travel to get to
the other end of that thing. It was a big problem. And of
course they all, the men worked out of the Orlando station.
And of course we had Corporals stationed supposedly in
Yeehaw Junction and Wildwood which was very simple. In
Wildwood trying to have a Corporal in Yeehaw Junction was
kind of difficult because no place for him to live. So he's
got to travel from Orlando to Yeehaw Junction every day to
even get to his duty station which is 60 miles one way. 70
miles one way.
EH: On the turnpike. And so he gets down there and his number
problem after he gets down to Yeehaw Junction, he finds out
his number one problem is in Kissimmee, because his men most
of them are working in Kissimmee. So then he's got to go
back to Kissimmee. So he's already run 120 miles and we had
that crunch on gas there for awhile because we didn't have
any money to buy gas. And we wasn't allowed to drive but
100 miles a day, and here this man's already gone 120 miles
and he hasn't even gone to work yet.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: So it posed a lot of problems that way.
CW: Back it, back it up just a little bit. You retired when?
EH: February the 1st, 1982, you know it's kind of funny I could
remember the dates when I wasn't on patrol and all the
other, I believe it's '82. February the 1st. I'm going to
say '82, it might have been '81, but I'm think it was '82.
February the 1st.
CW: Given the last five years before you retired, could you see
a difference in the troopers being turned out as opposed to
when you came on?
EH: Well, yes I could see a great difference. Of course you,
I'd rather not really talk about it because there are some
things there that I totally disagree with. But the biggest
thing we had was, I think we had a big communications gap
between the older and the younger people and at that time we
had a lot of old supervisors such as myself and we were
brought up in the old Patrol and the old way of doing things
and it was kind of hard for us to change. And see the
differences in the way the younger people thought and their
way of thinking and their way of working and, and their
loyalty and pride for the Patrol was, they were totally
different. It wasn't their fault but there was just a
little different image and it got to the point that it
seemed one of the most important things to them was to make
eight hours and get off work. And, back in the old times
time meant nothing to men on the Patrol. I mean, if they
worked 12 hours, fine. I always told my wife during the
winter I worked short hours and in the summer I worked
longer hours. Because I worked from daylight to dark and in
the summer the days got awful long.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: And she agreed with me because a lot of times I didn't even
get home. I probably averaged 12 or 14 hours every day that
I ever worked on the Highway Patrol and of course, again,
time meant nothing to me because the job is so rewarding
that I just enjoyed that. That changed on the Highway
Patrol. And it has been a big change, and I understand it
is still changing somewhat on that. And we went through a
lot of things that I think the Patrol lowered their
standards somewhat. Not by choice, but they had to lower
their standards in order to meet some of the government
regulations and one thing and another and the federal
government has got such control over a lot things because of
the money. Like I said, it's really no fault of the Patrol
because we needed the money and we needed to get facilities
and stuff like the overtime programs and stuff like that.
The federal government came along with programs which were
great in a lot of ways but it, it had its drawbacks. You
didn't realize you'd have at the time but later on they'd
start hitting you in the face. I think that the standards
were lowered quite considerably on the Patrol, but again I
think probably due to the times it was necessary and a lot
of this I could not accept or didn't want to accept. I did
accept it, but it was kind of hard to accept.
CW: Well, maybe the work ethic was just different?
EH: It was quite different. It was somewhat different. Well, I
really don't know why except it was just the times, and the
way of things, and of course salaries seemed to be always a
big problem with the Patrol. The salary was pretty good and
men were able to live on the Patrol. So, and of course the
more money they make the more independent each one got and
made it that much harder for the supervisors. The
supervisor probably had the biggest job on the Highway
Patrol. The happiest time of my life was when I was a
trooper and the hardest job of my life was when I was a
Sergeant. A Sergeant probably had more duties than any one
other man in the Highway Patrol. But, again, I loved it.
CW: We, we look at troopers of today and troopers back when you
came on and I guess probably one of the things that maybe we
need to talk about is training. You went to the Academy
EH: I went to the Academy in September or the first of October
in 1956. I'm not sure exactly the starting date but I
graduated on December the 7th, 1956.
CW: That was in Tallahassee?
EH: That was in Tallahassee.
CW: They didn't have that pretty brick building back then.
EH: We had two old Army barracks there. And of course that was
in the wintertime. The only heat we had was when we'd get
out there and fire up the old furnace with wood or coal and
do our own firing and that's all we had. And we had a, well
they took one of the barracks and made a classroom out of it
and the other one we lived in.
CW: Who was commander of the Academy then?
EH: Hall, Captain Hall, Jay Hall.
CW: Jay Hall. Ruled with an iron hand.
EH: Ruled with an iron hand. He was most fair and I would say
an honest man. He treated everybody alike and he ran a good
CW: Well, how long was the training?
EH: At that time it was eight weeks.
CW: Give me a typical day's activities at the Academy when you
EH: All right, we got up at approximately 5:00 in the morning.
We hit the outside for calisthenics and exercises at 6:00.
We took exercises until 7:00. Seven o'clock we come in and
showered and dressed in our coveralls and got on the bus and
went to the Florida State University chow hall in
Tallahassee, uptown Tallahassee, where they served
breakfast. We ate breakfast and came back and started class
at 8:00. Every hour on the hour we got a ten minute break
at that time it was called a smoke break. Everybody smoked
at that time. And, if you left a cigarette butt in the yard
you'd wished you'd never smoked.
CW: Ha, ha, ha.
EH: But, anyway, 'cause you'd have to dig a hole about six feet
..._.. deep and bury that sucker and then dig it back up and find
it. But anyway we, that was the starting and we had
classroom for the first six weeks with solid classroom
work. Serious classroom work. We got out at 5:00 in the
afternoon. Each time we'd have to catch a bus at noon and
for the evening meal back in to Tallahassee to eat, and then
most of the time after the evening meal we went back and had
night classes also. We had a lot of night classes and this
is probably the reason the Academy went longer than eight
weeks. We actually went 12 weeks in eight weeks was what it
amounted to. So it, we had a lot of night classes. And
then after six weeks we had a lot of field classes, firearms
training and so forth and so on. Driving courses,
automobile driving. But we did a lot of drilling and
marching after we got out into the field.
CW: Was, how many people were on staff at the Academy as far as
CW: Do you remember 'em?
EH: There was Captain, take it back there were four. There was
Jay Hall, I can't tell you their names right now. I know
'em as well as my own name but they just slipped my mind
right this minute. Maybe I'll think of it in a few minutes.
CW: Well then, how big was your class?
EH: There was 96 of us.
CW: That's a bunch of folks.
EH: We had two classes. That was the largest class I believe
that's ever been in the Academy, a one time deal.
CW: Was the Patrol expanding right at that time?
EH: Yes, and they were trying to expand, and they wanted to try
a two class deal. Class one and class two, in other words
we divided into 40, half of 96, 41 or 42 people. Started
out with trying to have 100 people and I think we had 96.
We had two Air Force guys I believe it was. But it didn't
work out too well because we didn't have the space, the
time, the instructors were just overworked. I don't believe
they ever tried it again. I don't believe that they've ever
had a class that big. And we lost I think it was 16 people
in our class failed, dropped out within the first four
CW: Did both, did class one and class two, did they both start
and end at the same time or were they staggered?
EH: No, they started and ended at the same time. They divided
the classroom up into two different classrooms. Had two
buildings there, and we'd just alternate classrooms. Same
instructor would be teaching the same thing twice and it got
real tough for instructors, real tough.
CW: And you graduated on Pearl Harbor day.
EH: Pear Harbor day.
CW: That's easy to remember.
EH: That's easy to remember.
CW: Went to your first duty station.
Did you have a family
EH: Yes, I had a wife and daughter. I came on the Patrol in May
and went to school in October.
CW: You had a house established?
EH: Yes. In Lakeland.
CW: Did you rent or buy?
EH: Rented to begin with, yes sir.
CW: What was a month's rent? How much for a house?
EH: At that time I was paying $80 a month.
CW: It's a little bit different now, isn't it.
EH:- Yeah, ha, ha. Of course, by the same token, while I was in
school I was making $75 a month, too. So, you know it's
kind of hard to pay $80 a month, in fact the first month's
rent, the woman I was renting from, she took $75 dollars, I
took and signed my paycheck and give her the rent, $75. And
that was my first month. Of course at that time I had a
little money. The first five years I was on the Patrol it
cost me $10,000 of my own money to live.
CW: You made more as a drag line operator than you did as a
EH: I made more in one week as a drag line operator than I did
in four months as a trooper.
CW: Tell me about patrol cars back then when you came on.
EH: Okay the patrol car, I had a 1955 patrol car that was
CW: What make was it?
EH: It was a Ford. Everything was Ford. And nobody wanted
anything but a Ford. It was a Ford. So, it was a standard
transmission, no power steering, no air conditioning, no
anything except a just a plain car.
CW: No juke radio?
EH: No juke radio and no heater. You heard what I said? No
heater. Now, they did come along and install a little
heater down in the floorboard at the north end of the state
in patrol cars, but we didn't have any here. So then they
came along in 1956 bought the first car with automatic
transmission, 1956 Ford. And when I came back from Patrol
school, they gave me a 1956 Ford with automatic transmission
and I thought that was about the prettiest, greatest thing
that I have ever had in my life. And I said, can you
imagine me with an automatic transmission in a Ford. And
that thing it ran nice. I don't know whether you know it or
not but a '56 Ford was a very pretty patrol car, a beautiful
patrol car. At that time the roofs on them were black and
had the siren on the roof, and so forth and so on. And it
was truly a pretty car. So then in 1957 they came along and
the body style had changed quite drastically in Fords in
1957, and they came out and changed the color combination a
little bit on patrol cars and put a yellow roof on them.
Still had the siren on top but the roofs on the '57 Fords
didn't have much slope to them at the top and therefore you
couldn't see very much of the yellow, looking at it from the
front. Now the '56s and before, they had enough room across
the front, above the windshield, that you could write
Florida Highway Patrol, and you could see it up on the
roofs. With '57 you didn't have enough room to do that.
You couldn't see it no longer. That's when they changed it
and made the roofs yellow and for a couple reasons, on
account of heat, keep so much heat out of the cars, and it
made a pretty nice car. And as time went on the Patrol got
a little bit better, and by the way in 1956 there was a lot
of talk going around how good safety belts were. And along
those years people were talking about using safety belts in
cars. And I was a full believer, but if they caught you
with a safety belt in your car it was disciplinary action,
they'd serve you a ticket.
CW: Is that right? Unauthorized equipment.
EH: Unauthorized equipment. But anyway me and a few of those
other troopers around there decided we'd slip us one in
there. We'd take them and hide them in behind the seat when
we saw the supervisor, and we installed some safety belts in
our patrol cars. They were kind of hard to find. You had
to go to somewhere to get an airplane safety belt and put
into a patrol car. And the buckles on them wasn't too
pretty and it would kind of skin up your sam brown so you
had to take and make a pad to go over that. But anyway, it
was considered unauthorized equipment then. You did not put
it in there if they caught you. And in fact the, one time
they were going to call us all together for car inspection,
and of course the old Sergeant was pretty good to me, one
morning I got up to go out to the patrol car and I had a
note sticking on the steering wheel. It wasn't signed by
anybody but I'm sure the Sergeant's the one that put it on
there. I suggest you get your seat belts out immediately
there's going to be a troop meeting and car inspection
today, ha, ha.
CW: What Sergeant was that?
EH: It was Edenfield.
CW: Ed who?
EH: Edenfield. Mike Edenfield.
CW: Mike Edenfield.
EH: Yes. And I'm sure he's the one that put it in there. I'm
sure he came by there after I went to bed that night and put
it in there 'cause he was afraid some of his men was going
to get caught with it I think. But anyway, he did, and so I
had to snatch that thing out right quick. But then along
about 1959 Chrysler Corporation got into the market of
selling patrol cars. And the Highway Patrol bought some '59
Plymouths. And they were about the ugliest car I ever seen.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: And about the sorriest car I thought that I'd ever seen.
But about the fastest thing that I had ever seen. And, so
anyway nobody wanted one of them, you know, you would be
talked about if you had a Plymouth patrol car sitting in
front of your house.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: In fact I wouldn't park it in front of my house. I would
park it down the street so I wouldn't be talked about. But
anyway, we got those patrol cars and they sent me to Miami
-to get mine. And I tried every way in the world to get out
of it. I said, I'll do anything. I don't want one. You
know, you've got to take it. So I went to Miami to get my
new Plymouth. But anyway, I went to Miami and picked up
that new Plymouth and I crawled in it. And I came back 27
out of Miami. That was before the turnpike. And so I
decided well, about the only thing that I know to do is just
take and run that sucker wide open from Miami back to
Lakeland. I'll blow it up.
CW: Ha, ha.
EH: I'll tear that sucker up. And I did, I got on 27. At that
time from Clewiston to Miami was just an open road. There
wasn't all that much traffic. And I ran it wide open. Just
as wide open as it would run from Miami to Clewiston. And
when I got to Clewiston I just stopped at a red light and it
was sitting there running, just idling as sweet as
anything. You couldn't hardly hear it running. I said, I
ain't believing this. This sucker ain't gonna' stay
together. I know it ain't gonna' stay together. So I lit
out to Lakeland again. I ran her wide open to Lakeland.
When I got to Lakeland it was running better. It was a fast
automobile. And it was a good car, as far as chassis and
motor-wise, but the body was terrible. You couldn't keep
the hood down on it. In fact the windshield blew out of
mine one time. The hood blew up on it. And they finally
put a barn door hasp on the hood to keep the hood from
blowing up. The hood was so flimsy that they'd blow up.
And that's the way they kept the hood down on them. But
really they were very good patrol cars. And unbelievable,
those engines were something else.
CW: Did they have the big fins on it?
EH: Yeah, they had the big fins on the back. Yeah.
CW: You were a sport model then, weren't you?
EH: Well, Brady was stationed in Lake Wales at the time, well he
was stationed in Frostproof.
CW: Is that Lynn Brady?
EH: Lynn Brady. Well, he had a Ford. Of course naturally he
made fun of my Plymouth. You know, he rubbed me pretty hard
about my old Plymouth. And so I was out there one day
writing a ticket in my nice new Plymouth. And Brady had,
well he kind of had more time on than I did. And he had got
a new Ford I believe. It was the last '58 in the state of
Florida. And he had a fairly new '58 Ford. And I was
sitting on 27 there writing a ticket and Brady called me and
wanted some help. He had one that he couldn't catch. It
was outrunning him coming up 27. Well about that time he
went by me. The car was outrunning Brady. And here comes
Brady. And he says, I just ain't got enough to catch him.
I said, I'm just about through writing this ticket. I'll be
with you in a just a minute. I'll catch him for you.
Forget it. That Plymouth won't do nothing. I finished
writing the ticket, got into the Plymouth, passed Brady, and
run the man down and caught him for him. And so when Brady
got there I said, well here's your fella'. I caught him for
you. I said, I'll see you and your Ford later. And he was
so embarrassed about that situation he didn't know what to
do. And he never did really ride me too much more after
that about my Plymouth. But they were a fast car. No doubt
about it. And thereafter really and truly I fell in love
with Chrysler products and Chrysler really built a good
CW: You and I had talked several times when we were on the
turnpike and I doubt that there's any patrol car in the
state of Florida that's gets any worse treatment than on
EH: That's right.
CW: And you and I had discussed many, many times trying to
figure up the best maintenance system for cars and we went
through God knows a bunch of them. But it just seemed to me
like we just never did have to put them in the shop for
EH: No, and of course I had my own ideas about a lot of
maintenance things, and I think you have to agree that all
the maintenance programs did work on a lot of things. I
think we had a low maintenance on cars and I think that we
did things that kind of wasn't exactly according to manual
on patrol cars.
CW: And saved a bunch of money.
EH: And saved a bunch of money. And saved one pile of money.
CW: What was maintenance like back when you first came on,
Buddy. Where did you first get your work done if you had an
engine go out or a transmission.
EH: Maintenance was a problem. For instance, in Lakeland we had
a Ford dealer that we did business with. And that was the
only place that we did business in Lakeland. And, of course
one of the big problems was alternator problems, and when we
first went to automatic transmissions we had a lot of
transmission problems also. We didn't lose too many
engines. Once in awhile we would lose an engine. But we
didn't lose too many engines, but it was a hard delayed type
situation, and of course, by the way, at that time we could
get an engine replaced in a patrol car for less than $150.
CW: What do you think it costs now?
EH: Probably in the neighborhood of $2000 or $2500 would be my
guess. I can remember even when I was in Orlando I was
replacing engines for $200 when I was in Troop D. In fact
talking about maintenance, there was a lot of things that I
disagreed with on the Patrol on maintenance. I think could
have saved the state some money, but anyway, if you kept a
good routine program that was the answer. And we did that
on the turnpike. We had good control of it.
CW: Especially brakes.
EH: Brakes, right.
CW: Describe the Highway Patrol uniform when you, when you hit
the road. When you first hit the road.
EH: Alright, when I first came on the Patrol we wore
long-sleeved poplin shirts.
CW: Year round?
EH: No, in the summertime. But that was a cotton-type shirt
called poplin, a cotton shirt with long sleeves. Okay,
wintertime we basically had the same uniforms they have
now. But the year that I was in Patrol school in 1956 I got
the first black lapel shirt that was in Troop C. That was
lapel on the shoulders that was black. They used to be same
color as the shirt. Okay, when I was in Patrol school they
issued me one of those new shirts for experimental tryout.
And I came back to Troop C with it, and Captain I. Olin
Hill's eyeballs liked to popped slam out of his head.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: 'Cause he wanted to know who sewed that black lapel on my
shirt. But anyway it went over pretty good. But anyway, we
had those cotton shirts and so then we wore neckties.
CW: Year round?
EH: Year round. And then they came along and did away with the
necktie. And let you just wear an open collar in the
summertime. Some years before they wore caps.
CW: Bus driver type?
EH: Bus driver type. Cab driver cap. And then they came along
and we had the hats, the straw hats, and then some later
years they came along and said they were going to try short
sleeves. So they let us cut the sleeves off the shirts in
the summertime. So we had short-sleeved shirts. And it was
an optional type deal. But if you had tattoos and stuff on
your arm you couldn't wear them. If the tattoos wasn't bad
or anything well then you could put a bandaid over them or
something of this nature and get by with it. But tattoos
were a problem with a short-sleeved shirt for many many
years. A lot of the older troopers had quite a few. I
don't think tattoos are much of a thing anymore. But there
used to be quite a few tattoos. And that was, that was the
number one problem on short-sleeved shirts.
CW: They gave you a hat back then they expected you wear it
EH: Well to give you an example on the hats, of course this was
before air conditioned days too, one time just prior to the
Sebring races, Captain Olin Hill was ditty-bopping down to
Lake Wales one afternoon in his black Buick and so I met him
and I could see him before I met him. I was in my car
driving. Very obvious I did not have time to put on my hat
before I got to him. And the reason being that I was real
hot. I had just stopped and picked up a drunk, I had a
drunk in the car with me. And the drunk had a dog. And the
dog had got out of the car and I had run and chased that dog
and tried to get him back in the car until I was just
completely wet with sweat. And just about a minute before I
met him I had to take my hat off and wipe my brow off with a
handkerchief trying to cool off. And Captain Hill met me
and he said, well have you got problems with that hat size?
And I said, no sir, no problem. I said, I just took it off
to wipe the sweat off. He said, be in my office at 9:00 in
the morning. And of course, yes sir, I'll be there. So I
got there the next morning, and of course the reason in
being there was because I did not have my hat on when I met
him. And so I was called in for reprimand for not wearing
my hat. And of course after sitting down and explaining to
Captain Hill exactly what did happen, I said now you can
check the log and verify what I'm saying, that I had just
had lots of trouble with that dog and then I had really just
taken my hat off to wipe the sweat. And that's the reason I
did not have my hat on. And I said otherwise I'd have been
trying to break my neck trying to get my hat on. He said,
well I believe that story. He said but, fella' I want you
to keep that hat on at all times regardless. The only time
you take it off is when you go inside a building. And well
that was the way the hat situation was. And Captain Hill
believed in that hat. And as far as I know, as long as he
stayed on the Patrol, that's the way it was.
CW: He had several offspring of that theory too, didn't he?
EH: Yes, sir.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: Yes, sir, but here again, he treated everybody alike. It
didn't matter who it was. If it was one of the lieutenants
or if it was a trooper, if he caught him with his hat off he
was in trouble. Just that simple. But that's the way it
should have been. And, I don't know, I'm a full believer in
hats too. Again, I was from the old school. Now I don't
believe that you'd have to wear your hat all the time you're
in a car. Although, after all those years I did. I always
did wear the hat and I enjoyed the hat. But when you're out
working an accident, or when you're out working traffic,
outside of that car, you say you can't keep it on. No
reason for that, you've got hat straps. You can sure keep
that hat on. Ain't nothing that looks any better than a
good sharp trooper with a good sharp hat on and with a sharp
uniform. Now when somebody drives by and sees that trooper,
I don't care what you say, if he looks sharp that
noticeable, people look at him, they can believe one thing.
They've got a good police organization here because look how
sharp he looks. You've got to be good to look that sharp.
And they believe that. And I'm a full believer in that.
And I still believe it. Now you can take a slouchy looking
trooper out there and the first impression somebody gets out
of him, you've got a slouchy department. Now you can say
what you want to, I don't care whether he's low class of
people or the governor or the president or who he is,
everybody looks at a high class trooper as one that's well
dressed and neat and fully dressed uniform man. That's the
way I believe.
CW: Those uniforms are kind of hard to keep clean if they were
made out of cotton, weren't they? You had to iron them or
EH: You had to wash them, starch them, and iron them and you had
to change twice a day. No other way. You came in at
lunchtime, if you got to go home for lunch, and whenever you
did get to go home your wife would have a nice starched
military crease in that new one. You took two shirts every
day. They issued you 14 cotton shirts, so you'd have two a
day. And it was an everyday job washing them. Some of the
people tried to take them to the laundry, and of course a
lot of the laundries were real good to us. A lot of them
did them free. But the only thing about it, it wasn't fast
enough. You'd run out of shirts before you could get them
all done, taking them to the laundry. In Bartow there for
years,- in fact as long as I was in Polk County, they had a
dry cleaners there that did troopers uniforms for nothing.
And the reason being because people were proud of the
Patrol. They wanted a sharp looking Patrol out there, and
they'd tell you right quick, we get pride in doing these
uniforms because nothing suits us any better, no better
advertisement we can get, than a good looking trooper out
there in that uniform. They kept our uniforms looking nice.
CW: What about the leather, leather gear?
EH: The leather gear, of course they didn't have the plastic
stuff that they've got now and it was an every night job.
You had to come home and polish leather. Polish your shoes,
polish your leather every night. It was every day because
you sweat, as quick as sweat got on it it would kill the
polish, kill the shine, and that was the end of it. So it
had to be done every day. And not only that you did your
daily report. At that time it wasn't a weekly report, it
was a daily report. They were done every day. And you
either mailed them every day if you were out where you
couldn't get to the station, or you took it to the station
the next morning. That was the first thing that you did
every day was carry your report in. And you did them off
duty. You didn't do them on duty. When you got home at
night you done your report before you went to bed.
CW: Accident reports too?
EH: Accident reports too. As a trooper I averaged better than
40 accidents a month. So, you know, that's close to two a
day. Of course it didn't always work out that way,
sometimes you might have five in one day and then you might
go a week and not have but one. But anyway, when you came
in for supper, eat your supper, you'd sit down and you'd
rough out your report and not only that, it had to be
typewritten. All accident reports had to be typed. I'd
draw the diagram and get it all roughed out at suppertime
and then when I came in that night then I'd type it up right
quick because I had everything in place right where it
belonged to be. No problem typing it. And it took long to
draw the diagram. But once you got that done, well then it
didn't take too long to type it.
CW: What kind of weapon did you carry?
EH: We carried a 38 special, Smith and Wesson at that time. In
fact I don't know of anybody that had any Colt. Maybe they
did. I beg your pardon, they were all Colts.
CW: Did you, how often did you have to qualify with it?
EH: It varied. When I first went on the Patrol they didn't even
have a field program at all. Then they came along with the
range programs and about every two months or three months
they'd come around. A man would come out of Tallahassee and
go around with the field training. And, then it got to be
..local troop level field training. When I first came on the
Patrol they didn't have any at all. And then they came
along with a judo training. Tony Maseda came around and
give judo training every three months, every two or three
months. I think it would have been a good program but, like
a lot of other things, it got to be a little bit carried
away with. And of course Tony was the type fellow that he'd
tell you not to resist him because he was very good with his
judo and he could hurt you real bad. And as time went on
every trooper got a little bit braver and a little bit
better you know and of course everybody kind of liked to
resist old Tony because it upset him and get him angry so
much 'till you could have a lot of fun out of him. But as
an end result several people did get hurt, in fact we had a
couple people got their neck broke I think out of it. In
fact I believe Glen got his neck broke.
EH: Yeah. In fact I was there when that happened and in fact
Tony Maseda was trying to get him out of a car..Guthrie got
wrapped up in that car and got wound around into the seat
some way or another and physically you couldn't have pulled
him out of the car and liked to have pulled him in two
trying to get him out of the car. But it got to be pretty
rough. So they cancelled out on that program. The Patrol
had a lot of programs, had a lot of good programs and a lot
of them panned out real good and a lot of them didn't but
you know every department has got to have programs going all
the time, gimmicks or otherwise, in order to keep everything
running. And really some of your best traffic programs, and
the best lifesaving traffic programs on the Highway Patrol
has all been gimmicks that they've come out with and come up
with. Gimmicks that actually work with the public that save
lives, lots of lives. This is great.
CW: You mentioned a few minutes ago when we were talking about
the cars that it was against policy at one time to put seat
belts in them. When did they start putting them in patrol
cars. Do you remember?
EH: I believe, the first one that I can off hand remember I
believe was probably late '60s or early '70s that came with
seat belts. Now along about '64 or '65 the Patrol agreed
that if you wanted seat belts you could put them in
yourself. 1962 was the first patrol car that I had that had
power steering and power brakes. And I believe they did
have power brakes in '61 on a few Dodges. But anyway, '62
was the first one that I had. It was a Ford and it had
power steering and power brakes. And we were very reluctant
on the power steering because we was afraid that we didn't
have enough feel of the control of the car. But after we
got it and started driving it you couldn't believe how
relaxing it was to drive a car all day with power steering
and power brakes and automatic transmission, how much less
work it was, especially turning around and stuff like that.
How much better it was in those patrol cars. Then in 1965,
I'm still in Troop C at that time, and one thing about
Captain Hill, he believed in his senior men, or his older
men in the troop getting all new cars. That's one thing the
recruits got the old cars and the older men got the new
cars. And in 1965 was the first air conditioned automobile
come out in Fords. And I'll never forget Captain Hill
called me and said, do you want an air conditioned car? I
said, Captain, you know I want me an air conditioned car.
He said, well, you know we're gonna' get one. And I said,
yeah I heard that they had some scattered around for
experimental use but I said, I don't believe they're gonna'
go along with buying no air conditioning, the public ain't
gonna' buy that. And he says, I don't know but they're
gonna' try it. He said, if you want one, you can have one.
I said, yes sir, I want one. He says, alright, it's in
Jacksonville, and probably you can pick it up tomorrow.
I'll call you and let you know when to go and pick it up.
So I went to Jacksonville and sure enough got me a brand new
'65 car with air conditioning. Left out of Jacksonville,
rolled up them windows up and turned on that air
conditioning. And it was nice. It was nice. It wouldn't
run but 90 mph, but it was nice. 90 mph was the top speed
without the air conditioning on. With it on probably 80 or
85 mph was the top speed on that particular car. And I must
say it was a sorry car. It was totally a sorry car. And
it's a wonder that we hadn't of lost the air conditioning on
account of it, because I was afraid they was gonna' blame
the air conditioning because of they had a lot of
maintenance and just had a lot of problems with those- cars
and they just wasn't much car. But then in 1966 they came
out with a 428 engine. 65's had the 390 engine. Came out
with a 428 with a solid lifter.
CW: It would run, wouldn't it?
EH: What an automobile that was. Well again Captain Hill called
me and said do you want one of these new patrol cars, '66s?
Has it got air conditioning, Captain? Yeah, it's got air
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: Yes sir, I sure do. He said, okay. He said, go to
Jacksonville and get you one. Okay. No it was Pensacola.
Pensacola, had to go to Pensacola to get this one. I said
okay. So I tore out to Pensacola, it might have been
Jacksonville, I don't remember whether it was Jacksonville.
But anyway, I got me a new '66. And about that time we
started using radar a little bit. See you haven't even got
into this radar situation.
CW: Ha, ha.
EH: But anyway, we had a radar, a big old box that weighs 100
lbs. You set it up on a tripod alongside the road and got a
car battery and hooked to it. You back off out in the woods
out there with a wire running to the meter hid out in the
woods and the cars come by and you called out the speed down
to the trooper and told him how fast the cars were going.
Well, we got this new '66 patrol car and I hadn't had it too
long and we were over there on 19. I was stationed here in
Brooksville at that time, and had the radar set up over
there. I forgot who was running the radar, but anyway, I
called and told them, I was Corporal at the time, I want to
run through that radar and see what my patrol car will do.
He said, okay. So I backed off down there a couple miles.
I busted that radar at 146 mph with that '66 patrol car.
And let me tell you Mr. Gentleman, that sucker would roll.
Don't you think it wouldn't. It would roll. And it was a
good car. The next year is when I went to Orlando in '67.
In the meantime the Captain had called me again and asked me
if I wanted another one. And I said, no I'll keep my
present car. And I took my '66, at that time when you
transferred you took the car with you. And my FHP number
for years and years was FHP-64. In fact I've still got an
FHP tag down there in my garage and that was my patrol car,
FHP-64. So I took it to Orlando with me and in some later
years it got so when you were transferred you got different
cars. As time went on that FHP number wasn't all that
important. But used to years ago if you messed with a
trooper's FHP number and he'd get upset something terrible.
He was worse about that FHP number than he was a badge
number. And he wanted that same patrol car number all the
time. So, Captain Hill would always work it out so I could
keep my FHP-64. But anyway this radar, getting back to the
radar, then they went to what we called Speedwatch. That's
where you stretched two hoses across the road a certain
distance apart and a car would-run-over it and click the
timer and you'd time them with Speedwatch. And all that
stuff has come a long way. We've had people that have
deliberately run over the radar, and had truck drivers
deliberately run over the radar machines out there. Of
course that would wipe them out. That would be the end of
them. The department didn't have any money to buy any more
so they knew that'd be the end of that, so that'd put you
out of business. Only had a few in the state to begin
with. So they, you know a truck driver wouldn't mind paying
a $500 fine to get rid of the radar. And that happened in
several places throughout the state.
CW: That airplane sure would get a lot of them though, wouldn't
EH: It'd get a lot of them. Yeah, it'd get a lot of them. And
of course as time went on you know regulations got tighter
and tighter on the airplanes with the lines across the road
and different things. They got pretty smart with that also.
CW: What was it like going to court back then?
EH: Well, court was court at that time. In Polk County we had
court every Monday morning. That was the routine thing. No
matter what happened you had to be in court every Monday.
All troopers were there. And at that time Judge Roy Amidon
was the judge. A judge who loved the Highway Patrol to
death. And Judge Amidon was a little bitty fellow,
crippled. Crippled from birth I guess. But anyway he
served in the Marine Corps under those conditions. He came
back and he was a lawyer and a judge. And, of course he had
his own way of doing things, but anyway he wanted every
trooper there every Monday morning that had a case to come
up. And of course you didn't know what case was coming up,
if you had any pending cases they were liable to come up
that Monday morning. And at that time you kept the copy of
your arrests yourself and all your pending cases, you had to
go through the court records and pick up the pending cases
and fill out a pending case record and send that in to
Tallahassee yourself. In other words you had to keep your
own pending cases. And you had to look them up and send
them in. And, so that's what we'd do. We'd spend all day
at the courthouse before court time working on our pending
cases. Of course if you could really sweet talk some of
them girls there, you could leave a handful of them things
the girls would fill them out for you. But most troopers
average around 100 or 150 pending cases at all times. On
your daily report you showed how many pending cases you were
holding. And I remember, one time there was a trooper I
went to Patrol school with. I saw him down around Ft.
Lauderdale or Miami. Used to be when one trooper saw
another one he'd always ask him, how many pending cases you
got? And I remember I asked him that and he said, I got
two. I said, two. How in the world you got two. He said
because I don't do nothing.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: I said, well, I believe that. And he says you can eliminate
that problem just don't make any arrests.
CW: You had to report the disposition of those cases?
EH: Every one of them.
CW: And if you didn't then the person's points were assessed not
against the license based upon what you sent to Tallahassee?
EH: That's right. It was based on what you sent on your
disposition yourself. So you had to keep them up. In other
words it wasn't sent in by the courts. Each trooper sent
his own in, which was good in a lot of ways. You kept up
with every one of your cases and you knew exactly what
happened to it and not only that, if you had repeaters on
violators you knew it because you knew every individual that
you arrested before because you're sitting there dealing
with that thing over and over. And it was no trouble to
remember it. I'd go so far as to say now that most troopers
arrest people now and a week later they wouldn't even
recognize them. Don't even know his name or anything else.
But this did not used to happen. You had too much contact
with a person that you arrested. That I thought was better
but under today's present system you couldn't do this
because it's too big, too much of it, and so forth and so
on. But again those are some of the things back in the
older days that, it was a lot of work but you enjoyed it.
Another thing we used to do was for instance like people's
driver license was revoked, the trooper serves the
revocations on the drivers license. For instance they would
take and mail me 15 or 20 or 30 a week of people's drivers
licenses that was suspended. Okay, I had to go around and
serve the suspension on them and pick up their drivers
license. That was part of the trooper's duty. Okay, then
you kept up with who didn't have a driver license. You knew
whose drivers license was suspended and whose wasn't.
CW: That's back when Drivers License and us were one and the
same, wasn't it?
EH: The same, that's right.
CW: Did you ever give drivers tests?
EH: Yes. Now that was just phasing out just as I came on. I
gave a few there in Lake Wales. You had certain days and
certain times that you gave drivers tests. But that was
phasing out, and it wasn't long after that they phased out
serving revocations too. That serving revocation was a big,
big job. And, yeah that's kind of like it was a disposition
of pending cases. You kept a car full of them all the time.
CW: You had to fight somebody to take that drivers license
sometimes didn't you?
EH: Yeah. And of course they were hard to find. And of course
in most cases you'd try to get the drivers license. But if
you didn't get it, we'd make them sign saying that they'd
lost it or didn't have it or whatever. And that was the end
of the road. And another thing that I did like on the
Patrol. They finally ruled it out, probably got proven
unconstitutional, it used to be when you stopped a person
and gave him a written warning or an arrest, there is a
place on the back of the drivers license you wrote in that
you arrested him or gave him a written warning, the date and
the time. Most beneficial to a trooper. Extremely
beneficial. Because the next trooper could stop him and
right away tell if he had been arrested before, same day,
same month, same week, or when or whatever. And lot of
times you'd find where a man had been arrested 30 miles up
the road and you got him again. And that made it nice.
That was great benefit to a trooper. A trooper had a lot of
tools to work with and a lot of tools he had to make for
himself. He didn't have the, thecomputer to work with like
he's got today. He didn't have all the nice conveniences,
just to pick up the radio and call in the tag number and get
all the information that you can get on the tag, or serial
number or drivers license number and all this. You didn't
have those conveniences then. But he made his own which was
very good and beneficial because it, it was real police
work. Real police work.
CW: I guess one of the most complicated systems that we've got
in police work today, that's whether you're in Highway
Patrol or anywhere, is the booking process to put somebody
in jail. It seems to get more complicated every day.
EH: Well I know it must be real complicated now because it was
getting that way when I retired. In fact it was getting to
the point that you almost couldn't put a person in jail.
And I'm sure it's gotten worse. I think that you were
probably on the turnpike and I was on the turnpike and we
for instance on time this women that was intoxicated, very
highly intoxicated, in fact she was just plain drunk,
staggering, falling drunk. And at that time you couldn't
put a drunk in jail and so what do you do with them? And we
like to have never figured out what to do with that woman.
And right off hand I don't remember, but anyway, I know we
spent all day fooling with that woman trying to figure out
some way to do something with her. Because you couldn't
leave her falling all over the turnpike. And she had
nowhere to go. And under the law a police officer had no
legal right to do anything really.
CW: It was simpler than that back when you first come on, wasn't
EH: Well you'd just simply go put them in jail. That's all.
The nearest town, it didn't matter where it was. Wherever
the nearest jailhouse was you drove. And every trooper had
a key to the jail. He walked in there and put them in
jail. Of course it wasn't quite as bad as I'll think of his
name in a minute, Tallahassee, he fell off the horse and was
paralyzed, what's his name. Stew.
CW: Stew Akers.
EH: Stew Akers. You know Stew Akers put his own wife in jail
CW: Is that right?
EH: That's a fact, in Ocala.
CW: I'm going to ask him about that when I see him. Ha, ha. I
didn't know about that.
EH: Yeah, and what happened was Stew's children were small and
his wife was taking the children to school for him. And he
had seen her run a stop sign. And he came home a couple of
times and told her, if you don't quit running that stop sign
I'm going to put your butt in jail. You know, being his
wife she kind of took advantage of him. So, this particular
morning he was sitting at that stop sign waiting and she
comes barrelling through. He went down and stopped her and
carried her up to the service station there, asked that
service station attendant there if he had somebody could
drive his kids to school, didn't say his kids, drive these
kids to school is what he said. But I'm going to take this
woman in. Parked the car there, took her in, carried her
into the county jail there in Tavares, I believe it was
Tavares, either Ocala or Tavares, one of them, he was
stationed in Ocala at the time, and a little outlying jail.
So he walked in there with this woman and opened the jail
cell and put her in there and slammed the door locked and
walked out. And he told the jailer when he walked out, he
said, I'll be back after awhile, I got to work an accident.
I'll come back and write you a ticket on that woman there in
a little while. He said okay and didn't think no more about
it. Late that afternoon the woman is still in jail and Stew
Akers hadn't come back to check on her. So the Corporal or
the Sergeant or somebody came walking in and the jailer
says, Stew came by here this morning and put a woman in jail
back there and he said he'd be back to write a ticket on it
and he said, he ain't never got back. I wonder what
happened to him. So the Sergeant or Corporal or whoever it
was went back and decided to see who it was and it was
Stew's wife. And so he come up there and said, you know
that's Stew's.wife. And so they let her out of jail. Stew
said she didn't ever run that stop sign any more.
CW: I'll betcha'.
EH: And so that just goes to prove one thing. Heard the old
saying, put your own grandma in jail? And better still, put
your own wife in jail. No that's getting pretty tight.
CW: Ha, ha.
EH: But he did that right there. Stew was quite a man during
his time on the Patrol. I don't know how well you knew
him. I worked with him several times. He and I got in a
lot of prisoner hunts one thing and another together. And
of course he was a sportsman, outdoorsman type fellow. As
the saying goes, the rougher the better. And we were up in
Wildwood one time after an old boy that shot and killed two
or three down in Tampa, kidnapped a woman, burned her up,
and anyway we was out running him through Wildwood. And
Stew came up there and we spent about three days together.
Now let me tell you, back in his day he was rough to stay
with in a day's time in the woods and stuff like that.
Because he didn't stop to eat. I guarantee you if he was
after somebody, he would get them sooner or later. Whatever
it took he got them. And we finally got him. But we spent
several days up there. And Stew wouldn't even stop to eat.
CW: I understand he was some kind of investigator too.
EH: He is an investigator, ain't no doubt about that. And like
I say, I worked with him enough that I know. And one time
he and I was up there in Wildwood and had a little old
softball game up there at Oxford. Stew was stationed up in
Marion County at the time when I was there in Wildwood. So
I drove by this softball park and a prison official came
running out there where I was and said, we just had a
prisoner escape. Well, what it was, it was the prisoners
playing softball out there that night, playing some town
people or something like that, and one of them run, got
away. Well Stew and I got a pretty hot trail of him and got
him running back through the woods there. And he got in an
old junkyard, used car junkyard. And of course we had
lights and we was looking in all them old cars and stuff and
one thing and another and not knowing that the man that
owned the place lived out there in an old trailer in the
middle of that junkyard. And the next thing Stew and I
knew, he had done cut down on us with a shotgun. And
covered us pretty well with buckshot. And of course Stew
being Stew, he said you know there ain't nobody gonna' shoot
me. Must be that prisoner, so he started returning the
fire. And as it turned out the man owned the place. And,
but we didn't even take time to try to find out whose it
was, we just went on in there anyway. But we were kinda' at
fault. That Stew was something else, he was some
investigator. Now he didn't give up. I'd say this, if you
could be caught, he would catch you. He'd catch you in a
minute. And there ain't no doubt about it, he'd put anybody
in jail, anybody.
CW: Were you involved in any of the riot squad operations that
we had back when we had the race riots in St. Augustine?
EH: Yes, I got all the riot business I wanted in St. Augustine,
I spent 17 days during Martin Luther King's thing in St.
Augustine. I guess you called them freedom riders or
whatever it might have been. I went swimming every morning
and every night in salt water with the uniform and all. And
it was quite an experience. Even my own daughter can't
believe sometimes, she's asked me about it several times,
and she can't believe some of the things that actually took
place back then. And, most of it was pretty true. We
guarded the beaches so the colored people could go swimming
every morning. We'd stand out there waist deep in water
with riot guns to keep the other people from coming in and
hitting them with ball bats and everything else. But it was r
quite a deal. And it was 17 days of it. It was every night
and every day.
CW: How many directors did you serve under?
EH: I served under Colonel Kirkman, Colonel Clifton, Colonel
Beach, that's it. Well, actually Clifton and Beach were the
Colonels but they were not the directors were they?
CW: I think we changed in what, '65.
EH: I'm just trying to think what was it.
CW: Became a division instead of a department.
EH: For instance, Mr. Davis was the director. And Colonel Beach
was under him. What was he called, deputy director?
CW: Executive director and division director. Colonel Beach was
a division director.
EH: I guess, right now I just can't tell you just exactly, but I
know that I served under Davis and then after him was, I
can't tell you right off hand.
CW: You've seen a lot of changes go and come, haven't you?
EH: Yes, for instance, when I come on the Patrol my starting ID d
number was 283. That was the 283 men in the state of
Florida. And that was it.
CW: We've got more sergeants than that.
EH: And that all the way up through Colonel Kirkman. And he was
number one naturally. He didn't mind telling you.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: If you don't think he'd tell you just give him a chance.
But he was the boss. And so you know from that as time went
on it got bigger and just tremendous changes. And of course
growing up with it you didn't realize the changes that were
taking place until you went on because you know it's like
anything else you get used to it. It's kind of like one of
your kids, they're around every day and they're growing
every day and you don't realize they're getting grown until
all of sudden they're ready to leave home. And you say, gee
I wonder what happened to my child you know. And that's
kind of the way the Patrol is too. But, yeah, it went
through a lot of changes. It went from the old to the new
to the newest I guess.
CW: It's still changing.
EH: Still changing, and it always will be.
EH: And this is hard for people to accept. As you get older it
gets harder and harder to accept and that's why I think that
when a man pretty well gets his time in he's just well to
get out because he's no longer really serving a purpose.
He's got to stay in the younger regime so he can cope with
what's going on today. And I'm sure you've run into this
CW: Yeah, we have.
EH: People don't think alike.
CW: We've had to, we've become a lot more public too and the
news media a lot since Director Burkett took over.
EH: Well I think a lot of things is brought this about. I think
some of the investigations throughout the Patrol has brought
some of this and some of the government, federal people has
brought up some things that's created a lot of problems.
Whether we created our own problems or they created them for
us I don't know but you know, as a result they was problems
anyway. And it's, so, as you say the news media, and of
course the news media is much bigger and greater now. It's
not unusual at all to go out here now with the satellite
system that they've got and, you know to run television at
the scene of an accident. No problem at all. They can
televise the scene no problem. Used to, you know, they'd
come out and take a picture and just a picture for the
newspaper. And they'd have to get some trooper to run the
print back for them to get it in the newspaper. These
things are gone. The computer age is here.
CW: Well, have you got anything else to add. I've pretty much
picked you brains.
EH: No, not really.
CW: I guess we've talked about everybody and everything.
EH: Well there's a lot of people we can talk about but they'd
probably talk about us too. Ha, ha, ha.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
EH: No, as a whole through my years I've worked a lot of men. I
was Sergeant for 17 years I believe. I was about the number
three Sergeant on the list at the time. I was Sergeant a
long time. And a lot of your top men today broke in under
me as Sergeant. Curt Hall, for instance, I remember when he
came on. A lot of those people worked for me or for some
reason I had contact with them. And this is a great feeling
to know that some of these men turned out so well. Some of
the men that I ran application for and run investigations on
that I helped get on the Patrol. It's certainly a good
feeling when you know that they make good men. Of course
I've had one or two that didn't turn out that well.
CW: Ha, ha, ha.
EH: I think we have those problems, but as a whole the ones that
I ran investigations on were very, very good officers.
Well, I tried to be a good officer when I was with the
Patrol and I was a dedicated man, very dedicated to the
Patrol. I know I made a lot of mistakes and did a lot or
things I shouldn't have done. But by the same token my
heart was in the right place even though I did some pretty
wild and crazy things when I was on the Patrol. I think
everybody has done that as they go through.
CW: We had a good time on the turnpike, didn't we?
EH: We had a good time on the turnpike. I've had a good time
every place I've ever been on the Patrol. You know, you
have your bad times, your bad moments, but again, when it
boils right down to it, we had a good life. A good career
and a good life. I remember when you and I traded those
cars off, you and I towed cars down to Arcadia.
CW: Ha, ha, ha, ha. We wouldn't drive them.
EH: They had all that kind of stuff.
CW: Broke our backs lifting them tow bars.
EH: Yeah, but had to get the job done, you know. We pretty well
had the money to spend any time we wanted to on patrol cars
or whatever I can never remember any time that you or I or
anybody else that ever worked with me or under me that
didn't have the Patrol at heart and actually took care of
the state's money better than we would our own. Now we
would try to buy things at a better price. We would try to
salvage stuff out of wrecked cars at a better price. And
just, just anything that we could do to save a little bit to
make the Patrol better. That's really what we were doing.
The bottom line of it, we were trying to save money to
improve the Patrol so that we could have more money. That's
what the bottom line was. And I think we did. But anyway,
talking about Judge Amidon, some couple of years after I
retired I guess, I was sitting out here back of the house
and heard this voice calling, "Hey, Sergeant, hey
Sergeant." And I looked over and it was old Judge Amidon.
A friend of his owned this cottage across the river and he
come right in here and visited. And, he'd come out here
about every week and as quick as he'd get out here he'd come
to that river and start hollering at me, want me to come
over there and talk with him. And he and I had many long
good talks right here after I retired. And he's dead now.
He died three years ago.
CW: I didn't know that.
EH: Yeah, he died about three years ago. And, they called me
but I wasn't able to go to his funeral. The old man was a
good old man and he loved his troopers. And most every
trooper he had he went out and talked to them and he could
still remember them by name.
CW: Justice was swift in his court, wasn't it?
EH: Yes sir. Well, everybody said if he wore a red tie to watch
out he's going to hand out a hundred years. Well of course
the story was that he had, he wore a red tie every time he
walked in that courtroom. He never wore nothing but a red
CW: But he handed out a lot of time with regularity too.
EH: Yeah. He was a funny. One of his funny things was he
believed that officers when sitting in court should have on
a long-sleeved shirt and a necktie regardless of what the
uniform of the day was, regardless of what time of the year
it was. When he walked in that courtroom that officer
should be dressed in long-sleeved shirt with a necktie. And
of course that brought on some more talk. What are we
gonna' do? We, in the summertime we don't wear long
sleeves. He said that ain't no problem. He said I'll meet
with the courthouse people, he said I'll get one of these
spare rooms around here. We'll put clothes hangers in them,
clothes racks in them, and every officer can bring a shirt
and tie and leave it here at the courthouse at all times.
And they will be under security, be watched, be locked at
all times. The maintenance man can let you in to get your
shirt any time you need it. So therefore there will be no
excuse for you to go in that courtroom without a
long-sleeved shirt. And he meant that. You could not
testify in his court in a short-sleeved shirt. That was
good. We had no objections to that.
CW: Yeah, I remember that.
EH: No objections at all to that.
CW: Well, I sure do appreciate your time.
EH: I can't think of well, of course there'll be a thousand
things I'll think of later on probably I'd like to say.
CW: This interview is concluded at 12:45 PM March 22, 1989, with
Edward L. Herring.