Title: Edward L. Herring
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007786/00001
 Material Information
Title: Edward L. Herring
Series Title: Edward L. Herring
Physical Description: Book
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007786
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


This item has the following downloads:

Binder87 ( PDF )

Full Text




MARCH 22, 1989



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?


EH: Moultrie.

CW: Moultrie.

EH: Moultrie.

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.

CW: Graduate?

EH: Graduated in Clewiston.

Graduated from high school in


CW: Big senior class I'll betcha'.

EH: Yes, we had 26.

CW: 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

sugar company.

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?

EH: Lakeland.

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?

EH: Nine.

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

industry, right?

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

were doing.

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?


EH: Wildwood.

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

troop commander.

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.

EH: '67.

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?

EH: No.

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

spare time?

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

turnpike also.

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

pilot rating.


CW: You were there right close to the airplane at Troop D,

weren't you?

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.

CW: Hot.

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


CW: Yeah.

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

several years.



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.

EH: Yeah.

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

drugs, too.

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.


CW: Amen.

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

went through.

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

permanent personnel?

EH: Three.

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

standard transmission.

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

patrol car.

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

that turnpike.

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

anything major.

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

didn't they?


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

wash them.

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.

CW: Guthrie?

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

one time.

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.

CW: Yeah.

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

problem too.

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.



University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs