DIVISION OF FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL ,
-50TH ANNIVERSARY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Interview with Captain C. E. Taylor, Retired
Employed with FHP 1940 1962
Interviewed by E. R. Peterson
Date Interviewed 2/9/89
ORAL INTERVIEW WITH CAPTAIN C. E. TAYLOR
BY E. R. PETERSON
ERP: Today's February 9th, 1989. Uh this is an interview with
Captain Clinton E. "Red Thunder Cloud" Taylor. My name's
Ray Peterson. The interview is being conducted at the
Lantana Highway Patrol station. The time is 8:30 a.m.
This is part of the FHP Oral History Project.
Captain Taylor, as you know, the FHP will observe its
50th anniversary in 1989 and this interview will
establish your knowledge and obtain your input into the
past history of the Patrol. So, for our files and for
the tape, will you state your name, please?
CET: Clinton E. Taylor.
ERP: Okay. Just following the outline, Captain, just to make
sure we kind of stay with what we need to get, what date
did you start with the FHP?
CET: May, 1940.
ERP: Okay and what was your rank and position when you retired
from the FHP?
CET: Captain. I was in excuse me command of the Turnpike
troop in West Palm Beach in 1962 when I was retired. I
had intended to retire at the end of the completion of my
20 years of service because in the '60's the retirement
of a Captain opened up a lot of vacancies up and down the
line and a lot of good men profited when one with that
much rank retired and departed the organization. And I
had recommended Bill Kaufman as my successor since he'd
put up with me all the years of the Turnpike, I felt he
was entitled to the promotion. And there was'some
problems at the end of my 20 years and we couldn't quite
make arrangements for Bill to ascend to the troop
commander's throne of Troop K. And I just stayed a
couple of years until the politics quieted down and got
out of the way and when I was assured that Bill Kaufman
was going to get my set of bars when I retired, I retired
and took the job as Director of the Florida State
Turnpike Authority the motivation being that in those
days, the pay was quite low and there a little more in
the Director's job than there was in the Captain's job.
I wanted to see if I could make a living without the
cop's image. I don't care if you're a six star general
in police service, in this society you're still a cop and
I wanted to see if I could make a living without the gun
and badge. And although I missed the Patrol and followed
it very closely, I haven't been sorry. I've been
successful in my career.
ERP: Well as Director of the Turnpike, that's what your job
was when you retired from the Patrol?
ERP: What did you do as Director of the Turnpike?
CET: In 1960 when we when the administration changed, there
was a new chairman of the Florida State Turnpike
Authority who in those days was the also the
administrative head of the Turnpike and John Hammer, an
insurance executive from Tampa, became the chairman and
asked Colonel Kirkman to assign me as Director of
Operations of the Turnpike Authority. And at that point,
Bill Kaufman the Lieutenant in Troop K became the Acting
Troop Commander and I took the job as Director of
Operations and managed the operations and administration
of the Turnpike from Miami to Ft. Pierce, the old bobtail
the original segment of the Turnpike.
ERP: Um hum.
CET: While the chairman spent the majority of his time in
putting together -the bondage and the necessary
engineering to extend the Turnpike from Ft. Pierce to
Wildwood. And then upon my retirement from the Patrol, I
took that job full time.
ERP: You were on like a leave of absence while you when you
first began the Director of Operations?
CET: Tantamount to that I was running the operations of the
Turnpike and Lieutenant Kaufman was the acting commander
of the Turnpike troop was one of the department heads
that reported to the Director of Operations.
ERP: Oh really?
CET: That was an interesting sort of a real comfortable
situation for all of us. You see, when historically I
watched Mr. Butler organize the Weight Troop of the
Florida Highway Patrol for which the Highway Patrol was
reimbursed by the DOT for the services and expenses and
operation of the Weight Troopers and Scales, I had
transferred out of our GHQ as Administrative Assistant to
the Director and was in command of Troop B the old which
was geographically the largest troop in the State,of
Florida at that time. I used to describe it in my civic
talks as running from the Suwannee River to the Atlantic
Ocean and from the Gulf of Mexico to (UNK) comprised of
17 counties and was quite an interesting representative
of field operations was the strong urban problem in Duval
County around Jacksonville and comparable problems around
the other places in the state and the Turnpike opening
was in the offing and one after talking it over with my
wife, I went into a staff meeting in Tallahassee one day
and while I was there, I told Colonel Kirkman that if he
hadn't made up his mind who was going to be assigned to
the Turnpike, that I wanted him to be aware of my
interest that I'd like to give it a whirl because it was
really the only thing new outside of the Weight Troop
that had come along in the Florida Highway Patrol since I
went with them in 1940. And the Colonel made the
announcement at that staff meeting in Tallahassee that I
was being assigned to the Turnpike and I had two bosses.
I reported to Colonel Kirkman for Patrol logistics and to
Colonel Manual, the chairman of the Florida State
Turnpike Authority at that time, for operational and
financial and logistical problems or anything new that
came up that required additional equipment such as fire
extinguishers on the high speed highway and found it very
exciting, found it real challenging. The I started off
in 1940 I came in I took all of my examinations and
received my original training and tutoring under
Lieutenant Hall in GHQ in Tallahassee in 1940 and late in
July around the first of August of 1940, there was what
they called the Tallahassee school. We occupied an
elementary school facility in Tallahassee and stayed in
the old Cherokee Hotel in downtown Tallahassee in those
days and since I'd just been through the training and
taken all my examinations I didn't have any problems with
the school. And rode a motorcycle in Tampa. I came back
to Tallahassee from Tampa for that August school in
1940. Bill Stevens from Pensacola was one of my
classmates. Ralph Robinson a Marine Corps Drill
Instructor and and had come right off of the police
department in Mcclenny as Chief of Police were in my
class and a number of others. It was a small class.
ERP: What school was it in number after the first?
CET: It was the second one.
ERP: It was the second one.
ERP: So the first one was in Bradenton and the....
CET: Bradenton in 1939...
ERP: And then yours was in Tallahassee...
CET: In 1940.
ERP: In an elementary school?
CET: Yeah. They occupied the facility there just before
school opened and after Labor Day in September I think we
ERP: How many weeks did that consist of?
CET: I think about six weeks as I recall. Last part of July
and all of August and I think I think we went home Labor
Day weekend. Something like that.
ERP: Did they, you say you rode a motorcycle?
CET: Yeah. I was assigned a motorcycle in May when I got
through with my training in Tallahassee and took it to
Tampa and then rode it back up to Tallahassee and then I
left Tallahassee on a motorcycle again after that fall
school or school number two, you might
ERP: Uh huh.
CET: Small class and ah..
ERP: Jay Hall was in charge of that?
CET: Jay Hall was in charge of that one, too. And it was the
most of us were pretty slender in those days, you know,
it was during the Depression and we could sit in those
desks those school elementary school desks without having
any problem. Only ones that had any problems were some
of our instructors including Captain Martin. He had a
little trouble getting in squeezing into the desks but he
was one of the instructors so he didn't he had to stand
up in the front of the class. But the Olin Hill and I
were the two first first two State Troopers to be
stationed in Hillsborough County. Olin Hill was in
Panama City in the early 1940's and when when I left
Tallahassee in May or early June to go to Tampa, Olan
Hill was assigned to a patrol car and I had a motorcycle
and we were the Highway Patrol team that first hit
Hillsborough and Pinellas County. We worked rode a
motorcycle from the Gulf of Mexico to the Orange County
line. I used to stop and visit with the sheriff in
Osceola County. We'd sit there on the old orange box and
whittle you know and ah...
ERP: Well, what brought you into the Patrol? How did you get
interested in it?
CET: I just I became interested through one of the original
graduates of the '39 school, Homer Clay was stationed in
DeLand and I met him -early on when he came there in
December and hark back to the Depression years of the
late '30's and early '40's the Depression was still on
until the beginning or end of the early part of World War
II. And as I recall, the youngsters in those days were
encouraged to seek out something with a retirement
benefit at the end of their career. Some Civil Service
or military or postal mail carrier job and the Highway
Patrol although I recall I was I'd been on a SRD which is
now the DOT survey party during summer vacations and left
college to go to go to work full time. I'd gotten to the
sumptuous salary of $115.00 a month and the Patrol was
ERP: No kidding?
CET: So it was a promotion and and even even though the salary
was only $125.00 a month the job was something of a
political plum. You had to have politics to gain the
opportunity to take the examination the old police
adaptability exam was the criteria in those days for a
the aptitude of being a police officer to serve the I
don't know whether it's still used or not but Jay Hall
and me acquired a reputation because he made a hundred on
the examination. The first in the history of the nation
and I came along in 1940 and made 99 on it so I didn't
ERP: No kidding?
CET: ...any backseat so there was some apparently some of the
psychology of the exam as I understood it was innate
public service and and both of us Jay Hall and and myself
that. made us like people and want to serve the public and
a good officer has to enjoy serving the public to be a
ERP: Wonder if they still give that test?
CET: I don't know whether they still use the test or not but
of course I was quite proud of that ...
ERP: I'll bet.
CET: Although Jay ah Jay made a hundred on the examination
Major Hagins gained the reputation of being hundred
called nicknamed "Hundred Percent Hagins" because he made
a hundred on a first aid at the Bradenton school and he
became the chief first aid instructor for all tue Patrol
schools henceforth and I took my first aid course from
him in Tallahassee in 1940 and then I guess he still was
able to be certified and still teaches first aid as far
as I know. He does a great job because he told us what
to expect and thanks to his training, we gained quite a
reputation for administering first aid to wreck victims
and when we worked in Tampa riding a motorcycle until
until Fred Cone went out of office and Spencer Holland
became his successor as Governor of Florida and during
the the inaugural detail, I was assigned the Highway
Patrol car in Tallahassee and as it wound up, I wound up
a with a car and a motorcycle because whenever we went on
a special detail the air races in Miami in those days,
the Orange Bowl Parade, the Gasparilla in Tampa, the
Georgia-Florida game, the Jacksonville and inauguration
in Tallahassee chap who came along in 1941 by the name of
Paul Tiller and I wound up being detailed to the
motorcycles in special events. Real good training. Paul
Tiller was the only trooper that we lost during World War
II. He was a native of Chipley. His dad, Dr. Tiller,
was an old-timey, country, family doctor out in west
Florida who everybody knew, big, big family. Paul had
three sisters and a brother and I got to know the whole
family because he was stationed in Dade City and I was
stationed in Tampa when I came on. We used to socialize
together. But when World War II was over, we learned
that Paul went into the Navy and a kamikaze Japanese
pilot went into his carrier and blew the gun turret off
the side of the ship and all hands in that turret
disappeared as result of an explosion. They never did
find his body. And he was the only man we Highway Patrol
lost to World War II although everyone of draft age was
encouraged to go ahead in a selective branch of service
and volunteer for World War II service and not wait to be
ERP: What happened to the Patrol during the World War II years
as far as manpower?
CET: It drifted off and dropped off. Jess Gillam was the
Director and we were all encouraged to go ahead into the
military and of course it was their own choice to do as
we want to and the final result was Jess Gillam was an
avid supporter of the draft and encouraged all of us of
draft age and the physical stature that meant that we
would be drafted to go ahead and select our branch of
service. And I had an occasion to arrest an Air CorpS
General from MacDill what is now MacDill Air Force Base.
It was called MacDill Field at the time and and the
General promised a real sincere interest in my military
career because of my arresting him for drunk driving.
And he intended to pursue my military career very closely
and take a deep personal interest in it. So I joined the
Coast Guard. Took an examination and made First Class
Fireman which was tantamount to a Buck Sergeant's job -
$78.00 a month pay instead of $50.00, which was pretty
good in those days and I had to go back to the General's
court martial in my Highway in my Coast Guard monkey
suit. It was a real interesting series of events there.
But I loaded him up I was in Seffner when he got involved
in the wreck with a selectee had just returned from Camp
Blanding and was visi-ting his family and the General's
drinking led him into the predicament. And it was sort
of irritating the General demanding that the selectee
salute about three minutes and I got tired of that and
locked the General up. Of course, he got out of
County Jail before I could get through writing
CET: He didn't stay too long.
ERP: Seffner's just outside of Tampa on 574.
CET: That's right.
ERP: I used to work that area.
CET: Interesting. Tampa is a good place for a rookie trooper
to start his career. There's never a dull moment.
ERP: You're right
CET: Miami or Jacksonville or one of the ..
ERP: That's right.
CET: ..bigger places. You learn a lot real fast in a place
like that. But I wound up in August of '42 on a leave of
absence from the Florida Highway Patrol going into the
Coast Guard. And interestingly enough, for that war, I
guess I was one of a very small minority of service
people who wound up in the same occupation as his
civilian work. I wound up in Coast Guard Intelligence
and was fortunate enough to be trained in an intelligence
course where we had the Secret Service as our instructors
and our classmates were from all the allied countries.
And the old timers in the Federal Bureau of Investigation
were quite candid in that the best investigative
intelligence training available in those days was by the
Secret Service. As proud as the FBI is of its
reputation, you know especially in those days, they still
the old timers told me many times that they aspired to go
to that same school and a number of them did in their
ERP: Um hum.
CET: There was quite an interesting...I had a coworker in the
Coast Guard by the name of Daryll Marsh who was in the
United States Secret Service and moved over into the
Coast Guard for his military service in World War II.
But it was his father who made the notorious briefcase
switch with the Kiser's agent in World War I that
shortened World War I, I don't know how many weeks or at
least he was given credit for it and because of that
particular case Daryll Marsh was sort of an honorary
appointee to the Secret Service as soon as he got out of
college he joined the United States Secret Service. Real
interesting chap because of Daryll serving in Coast Guard
Intelligence in Miami with me, we were privy to a lot of
coffee drinking sessions with the old time Secret Service
outfit. We had one agent stationed in Miami at that time
and because of Daryll's popularity in the Secret Service,
we were privy to a lot of things that that were not known
outside of intelligence circles when toward the end of
the war with Germany, Winston Churchill and Franklin D.
Roosevelt met at Hillsborough Mile, very exclusive
settlement in Broward County for the peace conference.
Nobody knew they were there. They came in and occupied
the two different private dwellings there and the Secret
Service contingent was responsible for protecting their
lives. They occupied adjacent private homes in the area
and was real real interesting real interesting to be
privy to that part of history. And since I've been on
this job with the Department of Natural Resources, I've
visited those places on the beach and seen the vegetation
that Winston Churchill planted while he was there.
ERP: Now where was this at?
CET: The Hillsborough Beach.
ERP: Hillsborough Mile, you called it?
CET: Hillsborough Mile, yeah. It's that area from Pompano
Beach to Deerfield on the coast. Very exclusive area and
the people are very proud of their history and the fact
that because of the security capability to block off
Hillsborough Inlet and the bridge at the north at
Deerfield, they'd have the same security that Palm Beach
brags about where they can block off the bridges and you
can't get in or out of Palm Beach. So it's the same
security and exclusivity that (UNK) and the Gold Coast,
Jupiter Island and places like that. They have a lot of
money a lot of name multi-millionaires that you read
about in the press. I came back out of let me see we got
into my Tampa...
ERP: So you were in Tampa until what, August of '42 and you
CET: '42 then I came back out of World War II in '46, April of
'46 and I'd been in touch with Colonel Kirkman during his
visits to Florida during World War II. Colonel Kirkman
left the Patrol as a Captain early on in '41 and he was
in the reserve as an engineer with the Corps of Engineers
and they activated -all the reserves in the Engineering
Corps because of their capability of building airfields.
Colonel Kirkman went to England and built many of the
airfields that the British RAF used during World War II.
He came back from England and transferred into the to the
Provost Marshal's Office and was in charge of the
military prisoners of war in the United States. Then
when he mustered out in World War II, he switched over to
the Air Force because Eglin Air Force Base was the
nearest military establishment in Florida of any size and
it meant that he could do his reserve duty his active
duty at Eglin Air Force Base and the Air Police function
there and it was from that that he retired as an Air
Force Colonel. When when Colonel Kirkman came back out
of World War II, an arrangement had been made through
Governor Caldwell and the changes in the law that were
subsequently amended, Colonel Kirkman came back as the
Director and he had threatened to move me to GHQ and I
didn't want to go. I was real happy when I came back out
of World War II and...
ERP: You went back to Tampa?
CET: I went I went to Bartow and we had problems in Ocala and
I replaced a Sergeant in Ocala and was promoted to
Lieutenant and moved to Tampa as the District Tampa
District Commander and following the Gasparilla
festivities and parade and the Patrol's participation in
the Gasparilla Day Parade, which was the biggest single
event in Florida at that time, attracting more people
than the Orange Bowl festival in Miami because of the
hundred mile drawing card that the Gasparilla had.
People could drive in a couple or three hours drive from
a hundred miles away. They consistently recorded more
people in attendance at Gasparilla than they did at the
Orange Bowl and before the growth of south Florida and
shortly after the Gasparilla Parade in February of '47,
'49, I got orders to transfer to Tallahassee and became
the Records Officer for the Florida Highway Patrol and...
ERP: What rank were you?
CET: I was Lieutenant.
ERP: Still Lieutenant?
CET: Still Lieutenant and at that time there was a problem
with press agents in state government. Everybody today
has a public information officer or research and
development officer or a PR function in their department
and there's no problem with it. It's a bona-fide
function of state government. But during those days,
there was a resentment against press agents as theycalled
them. And I was Records Officer and in that
responsibility had the job of converting that sort of dry
statistical data to something we could help sell highway
safety with and became the first Safety Officer that the
state had and developed the Safety Section of the Patrol
which placed a Safety Officer in each troop as staff to
the troop commander and I think there are additional
positions today so most troop commanders have more than
one Safety Officer and he has the same duties as the GHQ
Safety Officer does the Safety Officer in Tallahassee as
staff. to the Director and the local Safety Officers are
staff to the troop commanders.
ERP: Um hum.
CET: We uniformed the efforts of all the Safety Officers
throughout the state and had a special emphasis program
on a monthly basis and we coordinated that so that
publicity-wise we were all talking about the same thing
simultaneously. And one month would be pedestrian safety
and the other month would be bicycle safety and another
month would be night driving problems and another would
be vehicle inspection and we were promoting the various
aspects of highway and traffic safety which contributed
to the problem in an effort to head them off and reduce
the number of wrecks and fatalities and injuries in the
state caused by traffic. Then I moved (tape ended)
during this period of time even prior to 1949, in those
days we had biannual legislative sessions, '47, '49, '51
and biannual non-professional legislators at the time and
and we developed a legislative program and wound up with
the responsibility and were consulted on all safety
measures by the members of the legislature and their
their staffs and had input into any legislation including
driver licensing and the actual operation of our liaison
with the members of the legislature. Tom King, who was
long time director of the Driver License Division would
handle the Senate and I would handle the House of
Representatives. We worked closely together on the
legislative program and time that the the troopers
themselves were the most successful in passing
legislation. If we had a specific problem in an area or
with a specific member of the legislature, we would go to
the trooper in that area and find out what the problem
was and his stature and reputation was the stature of the
Highway Patrol in the minds of that Senator or
Representative and when he went to set down and have
coffee with a member of the legislature, he's the one
that passed our legislation before they ever came to
Tallahassee. I recall vividly Volley Williams in
Seminole County, who is now a Circuit Judge, had told me
in on my prior to the legislature going into session
meeting with him that he wanted Bob Harrison to have a
pay raise. When he arrived in Tallahassee at the opening
of the session, I contacted him and explained the
legislative program and he said Red, I'm committed to
make sure that Bob Harrison and his family have a little
ERP: Who's Bob Harrison?
CET: Bob Harrison's a retired Sergeant from the Turnpike...
CET: ..who's now deceased. His wife, Ouida, is retired from
the County Animal Regulation Department in Palm Beach
CET: And Bob in those days was stationed in Sanford and Volley
Williams and Brailey Odom didn't give a damn about
Colonel Kirkman or Red Taylor or Wallace Smith or Captain
Martin or Fitzhugh Lee or anybody else. He judged the
Highway Patrol by Bob Harrison's work in Seminole
County. Bob had come on at the Kissimmee school and I've
forgotten when that was but wound up working with me on
the Turnpike. And I promised Volley Williams that there
was a pay raise in our request for legislation at this
session of the legislature and and it was due to
scheduled to pass the House on a given day and I was
sitting up on the gallery observing and right in the
middle of our bill being handled by Colonel Ben Fuqua
from Manatee County and the House Volley Williams got the
action on the bill suspended and and signaled to me the
meeting downstairs in the committee room and I like to
broke my leg getting out of the gallery getting down to
that committee room to meet with him and Colonel Fuqua
and and we went in the room and he said, now, Red, don't
get mad. But he said is this the bill that gives Bob
Harrison the pay raise? I said you dumb son of a bitch.
I told you this twenty times already, what's the
problem. He said no problem, I just wanted to know,
don't he said cool off and he went back in and went
through his (UNK) of the pay raise bill passed at that
session. Scared me half to death.
ERP: I'll be damned.
CET: One man can do that, you know, in the legislature.
That's one of the interesting tidbits of the legislative
session and..Mack Britt is now deceased, a retired
Captain on the Florida Highway Patrol, used to come to
Tallahassee and do some lobbying with us and I looked up
one afternoon and there was Mack Britt in the House
chambers you know and I was talking to a member of the
House from a small county and we had asked for some
additional personnel and some more money to fund it and
some additional troopers. And that country legislator
had me cornered in the House and I had not yet introduced
the bill but I had about 98 or 99 co-introducers already
signed the bill. And he got me in the corner and said
now Red when this bill passes he said, I want old George
down here I want him to be made a Corporal. He's a nice
guy and he's my friend and we go fishing together. And
old Sam over there, he needs to be a Lieutenant and and
and James he I want him to be First Sergeant. I said if
you don't mind, would you take your name off of this
Goddamn bill. He said how come. I said what we do for
you, we've got to do for every other member of the House
and there ain't that many damn vacancies. We can't how
in the hell am I going to do this for you and not do it
for everybody else who asks the same question. You can't
CET: And he got mad. He got real upset and scared Mike Britt
half to death and we went back to the Martin Building and
told Colonel Kirkman what had happened and Captain Britt
said Red has really screwed up our legislative program.
We're not going to get a damned thing. That was one of
his members of the legislature and he was a Captain in
Bradenton at that time and he said you have really done
undone all the good work I've done. And about a week
later, the same representative called me over and said
you know Red I've been thinking about what you told me.
He said you're right. He said I want my name on that
bill but he said that you can't you can't obligate
yourself or Colonel Kirkman wouldn't ever go for
something like that. And what he didn't know was that
you could threaten Colonel Kirkman with something like
that and he'd run like a damn billy goat you know with
his tail on fire and promise him the world. And it hurt
his reputation in the legislature. But I just told him I
said hell there's no way we can do it. He said hey I got
to thinking about that and you're right. He said you've
got a good reputation among the members here and if you
say something we can put it in the damn bank. And he
said I appreciate your being candid with me. He said I
got mad and I got over it and he said we're still friends
and shook hands with him. No problem.
ERP: But in fact, back then, promotions did sometimes hinge
quite a bit on the politics....
CET: Exactly, that's exactly right.
ERP: And that's how, I guess the Patrol moved along at that
CET: And a spineless administration that was apparent at some
of those times permitted some good old boys to be
ERP: Um hum. I think it's time for a break.
Okay, we're back on the tape and we were talking about
the political promotional process.
ERP: You were saying something about about that.
CET: We were aware that politics controlled the purse strings
of the budget of the Florida Highway Patrol. It also had
some influence in the promotions at that time and the
public relations and glad-handing of the troopers who
were smart enough in that particular area get them some
promotions a lot of times. We no we started off or when
I came along in 1940, we had a system of financing by
driver's license. Historically, when the Patrol in the
late '30's was organized, they were an illegal
operation. They were traffic inspectors under the then
SRD which is now the DOT and they were uniformed and
their police authority, however, came from the
appointment by the sheriff in the counties where they
worked as a deputy. And when Fred Cohn took office, he
abolished the traffic inspectors and the SRD and really
did the new Patrol a. favor because in 1939, Fred Cohn was
still governor, Dan McCarty was Speaker of the House.
Through the efforts of and exuberance of the Junior
Chamber of Commerce and the sage, wise guidance by the
American Legion, the Department of Public Safety Bill was
enacted in the state legislature in 1939, financed by a
fifty cent driver license. And subsequently, we found
that the income from driver licensing was limited.
Consequently, our growth was limited accordingly. So in
the advice that I had from those who considered the
Highway Patrol a fair-haired department of government in
their experience. One of them just died day before
yesterday Bud Gautier from Dade County who in his day was
the only senator from Dade County was one of our major
sponsors with the Highway Patrol and safety legislation.
But we had income that we were producing through our
efforts other than the driver license. We had the fine
and forfeiture fund that went into the county revenue and
the county commissioners loved us because if we had a
working bunch of troopers in the county, their fine and
forfeiture fund was higher than the counties where we
didn't have as many troopers. We had the assessments
from the weight troop in those days so we combined all of
those incomes from all sources including the driver's
licensing and showed how much income resulted from the
efforts of the Department of Public Safety, Driver
License Division and Division of Florida Highway Patrol.
And I was an advocate of operating directly out of
general revenue. Take our chances every two years we
would get an appropriation by the legislature from
general revenue. And we had a lot of problems with that
legislation because we had what was considered in those
days a trust fund, marked money from the sale of driver
licenses. And that was restrictive because you know
every time we wanted more money, we had to ask for the
driver's license to be raised and that was increased
taxation and the legislators didn't like it. And it was
finally decided in the opinion of Colonel Kirkman and the
governor and the cabinet that if we couldn't justify an
appropriation on a biannual basis from the general
revenue fund, then we didn't have any business being a
part of Highway Patrol. So we moved over and
subsequently in the second or third legislation following
that, there was a move to remove all trust funds, all
earmarked funds, everything had to come through the
general revenue fund. And that's when the Patrol really
started growing. When we were able to prove to the
legislature that there was a need for our services and we
did grow and really you can look at some other agencies
in Florida who were stymied because they did not approach
the problem in the same way that Colonel Kirkman guided
our approach and move over to general revenue fund. We
did not enter into the subterfuge of offering 24-hour
service until we had enough troopers to handle it. It
was 1954 or '55 before we even kept our Highway Patrol
radio stations on the air 24-hours a day. Formerly,
prior to that time at 11 o'clock at night, the radio
operator would sign the station off and sleep in the
station and be subject to call in the event of a wreck or
an emergency. But then, in about '54 or '55, we during
which time I was the commander of Troop B in Lake City,
we put on a rotating schedule basis, we had a trooper
working out of each station 24-hours a day. One would
come on at 11 o'clock at night until 8, 7 or 8 o'clock
the next morning. And he was driving an awful number of
miles to get to a wreck when the trooper who was sleeping
right next door to the wreck could have gotten out of bed
and handled it and a lot of them did. But we'd still
have that kind of service today where the midnight
troopers cover sometimes two or three of the smaller
counties and and give 24-hour service but at least we
have enough people today to give 24-hour service. The
other agencies around the state have endeavored to give
24-hour service without an adequate increase in their
strength to really handle it. And in the final analysis,
we if we're going to grant special privilege or cater to
any group, we should cater to the honest, law abiding
CET: And make ourselves available and in the public eye during
daylight hours and then on the weekends when the public's
traveling. Give them service. Help them out. Change
their tires. Give them gas if they run out of gas as
well as enforcement. But we in 1956, I moved from Lake
City to the Turnpike and found a real interesting
situation with a little bobtail Turnpike and a very
economy-minded administrator, Colonel Thomas Manuel, who
was the first chairman of the first Turnpike Authority.
And we agreed upon and received the allocated funds for
enough troopers to provide 24-hour service on the
Turnpike, which was the only police operation state
police operation in the state because the Highway Patrol
has police on the Turnpike. And to find out the secrets
and the pitfalls and the things that were mandatory to be
done in a limited and policing your limited access
facilities such as the Turnpike and the
December 1956, I visited all the toll roads from Illinois
to the New York Throughway. And I'd sit around the
Turnpike Authority headquarters and visit with the police
commanders and patrol commanders and the Turnpike
administrative people and listen to all this high level
philosophy and then at night I would relay across those
roads with a trooper or maintenance supervisor or toll
collection courier, someone to find out if all this
philosophy was really practical and if it worked. And I
made a list of the do's and don't and Bill Kaufman
called me a couple- of years ago and asked me if I knew
that the 25 years ago we had opened the Turnpike to
traffic and cut the ribbon and Governor Collins came down
and rode in a Chrysler convertible and the damn car
stopped and like to tossed the governor out of the car.
And I said Bill, I don't know what you've got on your
mind, but I'm not that damn old. You know, I didn't I
wasn't involved in that thing. Time sure flies but we
opened it in January of 1957 and won the awards through
the National Safety Congress for the safest Turnpike
operation in the United States.
ERP: How many troopers did you nave on there when you first
CET: We had a real mess. We had no Turnpike communications
and we had to depend upon the regular low band FHP radio
and we had to permanently assign troopers and some
borrowed troopers that were out there on temporary duty
until we could find out really what the manpower
requirements were. And within a few weeks, we got our
Turnpike communication system into operation and
eliminated the FHP radios and really the Turnpike
communication system was the secret to the success of the
Highway Patrol on the Turnpike because I could sit in my
car at the airport in Miami in those days and talk car to
car to a trooper down in Ft. Pierce. Then after we
extended it, we could do the same thing to Ocala.
CET: And it created something of a management problem because
some of the troopers would persistently ask a supervisor
what to do on a case and we resolved that by explaining
to them on the radio in as diplomatic fashion as possible
that they should use their own discretion but they'd
better be right. But we had...
ERP: How many times have we heard that?
CET: Yeah. You can now cross tie on the Turnpike radio and
talk the same distance but it's a...we had real close
liaison with the toll collectors and never had any
holdups during my command on the Turnpike.
ERP: They had a lot of traditionally they used to maintain
facilities on the Turnpike, I believe, for the troopers
to sleep during the night, didn't they?
CET: Oh yeah. One of the fringe benefits. We had barracks,
we had posts at Pompano, West Palm and Stuart and the
single troopers lived in those barracks on the posts. We
provided sleeping quarters and in return, they were the
first callouts when we had a wreck after hours, after
night. We granted the same privilege to married officers
with mobile homes. We provided parking facilities and
utilities, garbage collection and telephone service at
the interchanges on Turnpike Authority land. And
ultimately we felt that we should not ride a good horse
to death so we charged them $5.00 a month rent for the
mobile home. And then when Bill Barnett would come down
to the pistol matches and the shoots we had guest
quarters at the troop headquarters in West Palm Beach.
We could sleep two or three people there and that didn't
reduce our popularity any by providing that kind of
hosting service. And we kept the troop pistol trophy
championship all the time I was out there. If, you know,
three of us met along side the road, we'd have target
CET: And we had a the Turnpike provided us with reloads and we
reloaded our ammunition there in charge of the First
Sergeant, who was Duke Randall when we started off. Duke
came down the Turnpike from Lake City with me and Bill
Kaufman came over from Ft. Myers. And we'd have our
regularly scheduled post meetings and regular staff
meetings. We had a weekly staff meeting for lunch every
Monday and emphasizing...see we had some good old boys on
the Turnpike that -had never had any management or
supervisory training and we had to go through the
training to offset the habits of troopers who'd been
there fourteen, sixteen, eighteen years. Their most
comfortable posture was out on the road stopping
violators and writing tickets. And they were not
comfortable in a management position. So we had to
change this environment to make them more at ease in
supervising than in...they knew how to do the job. But
they we had to train them in management. We did that on
the job. The staff meetings were a management tool that
we used for training purposes.
ERP: Every Monday you had a meeting?
CET: Every Monday at noon we had a staff meeting. The
Turnpike was new and we didn't know anything about
operating a Turnpike and we had to learn. So...
ERP: You were just feeling your way around.
CET: Sometimes we'd change our rules twice a week. We had to
develop the things that were best. We had a running
start because of my trip across the northern toll roads
and the do's and don't that were generated there. But
traffic was low in those days. We had you know maybe
5,000 a day and you could lay down in the traffic lane
and not worry about getting run over. But we were the
monitors and inspectors for the Turnpike Authority on the
patron services. And I found out, for example, the first
week we were in business that we had six oil companies
doing business two at each interchange, two stations at
Pompano, two at West Palm and two at Stuart/Ft. Pierce
service plaza. And we had six different prices for the
same service. We had city service who would go anywhere
in their zone for $3.00 and Sinclair charged by the hour;
it was $9.35 anywhere in their zone. So I said look to
the chairman as soon as I found this out I said this
wouldn't look good on the front page of the Miami
Herald. We better straighten it out and he said well go
ahead and straighten it out. In those days, we didn't
make a move with relation to the patron service without
the AAA. All the AAA had a representative on our price
schedule for gasoline prices, for food prices, for
everything. And the contracts required that those people
provide products and services for not to exceed the
prevailing rate in comparable establishments along the
route of the Turnpike. And they even participated in
price wars or cut rate gasoline prices when the price was
when the stations were feuding over on U.S. 1 or 441,
they brought their prices down on the Turnpike also,
which they should, you know. We were interested in the
end result of encouraging more service on the Turnpike.
People wouldn't use the pike if they thought they were
going to get price go-uged.
CET: So we were the Authority's hatchet man. We ah Colonel
Manuel was the banker and was real adept at assigning
fancy titles and jobs but no more pay. I was the Safety
Director for the Turnpike Authority and the
Communications Officer, and the Transportation Officer,
so as Safety Officer, every time that there was an injury
of a Turnpike employee, there'd be a trooper looking at
him with a pad in his hand making an investigation so we
didn't have any malingering claims on Workman's Comp. We
constantly won the award for the lowest Workman's Comp
rate of any comparable organization. And the same thing
with patron injuries. If someone slipped and fell going
up the steps up to restaurants or in a service station,
the claims were practically negligible because they
wouldn't lie to a trooper who was standing there
investigating. So our men got the advantage and benefit
of investigative training also.
ERP: Um hum.
CET: And we had a problem. We would get men out of the
Academy like all the other troops did and look around and
find out that he'd been on the Turnpike for two years and
never investigated a wreck involving two vehicles. We
had them work out there two years and never filled out a
wreck report because no wrecks had occurred on their
shifts. It was unfair to keep a rookie on the Turnpike
for two or three years because in his formative years he
needed diversified training. So we'd move him off and
get him on the narrow roads so he could learn something
and further his career. You know you had to learn to
drive all over again when you left the Turnpike because
the driving was so completely different. But we promised
that we stopped the old policy of goofing off and getting
a transfer. If a man felt like he wanted to go somewhere
and didn't like his job, he would screw up and the troop
commander would move him somewhere else to get rid of
him. Well, we stopped that. We said if you want to
leave here, you've got to be a top trooper. You've got
to be a top dog. And it wasn't long before I felt
personally the reaction because at the staff meetings,
the other troop commanders would say hey, Taylor, you got
a trooper that wants to leave down there? They'd say
I've had a couple of your men and boy they're top hands
when they come off of the Turnpike. We were in a
constant training and retraining and in-service training
posture there that..it paid dividends. Unfortunately, I
had the unpleasant task of having to terminate some
officers who'd been around for 16 or 18 years that were
not trooper temperament. They should have been
terminated in their first year while they were on
probation. And because of the lack of good management
skills, their supervisors had been involved in a
popularity contest instead of bearing down on the trooper
and changing his work habits and making a top hand out of
him, they had given him good evaluation and performance
scores, performance evaluation scores and let him stay
on. I had a very unpleasant mission when one of the
senior troopers sort of took advantage of a sergeant who
was too lenient and let him swop shifts a couple of times
and he left early and came back late and went off and
partied all the time lhe was gone and came back to work
the daytime shift in violation of the rules which said
you have to get a reasonable amount of sleep before you
go on watch and he'd driven...was driving down the
Turnpike and went sound asleep and ran into the back end
of a toll paying patron. And I was upset because he had
taken advantage of the sergeant and (tape ended)
ERP: Okay. It's February 9th, 1989 and this is the
continuation tape 2 side 1 of tape 2 continuation of the
interview with Captain Major Inspector Clinton E. Thunder
Cloud Red Taylor.
CET: Where'd you get the Thunder Cloud? It was Red Cloud.
ERP: Red Cloudi
CET: Red Cloud.
ERP: I'm sorry.
CET: I've still got that cartoon that shows the Indian and the
arrows in the toll plaza.
ERP: I don't know why I was thinking I keep saying Thunder
GET: Yeah, it was Red Cloud one of the nicer things.
ERP: How'd you come with that handle? How'd you come by it?
CET: Stu Collins, Howard Collins was a pretty good
cartoonist. And he would..he had a great sense of humor
and he would come up with a cartoon every once in a while
and this was one of his cartoons and it showed a bunch of
Indians in war paint and the toll plaza in Ft. Pierce
full of arrows..pierced the toll plaza, you know, and the
toll collector was screaming "Who in the hell is Red
Cloud?" But his cutest one..one of the cleverest ones,
we had a policy on the Turnpike, historically, when
Governor Warren was down at Tampa for the Gasparilla
Festival one year, Lieutenant L. W. Brazzell brought his
car down from Tall-ahassee and Governor Warren flew in.
And Brazz drove the Cadillac down somewhere on U.S. 19,
he and a buzzard had a parting of the ways and Brazz
pulled up to the Floridian Hotel in Tampa with a buzzard
halfway through the windshield of the Governor's
Fleetwood Cadillac. And I recall when we opened the
Turnpike that the buzzards were not acclimated to the 70
mile an hour speed limit on the Turnpike and if there's
anything disastrous looking as old, stinking buzzard with
the windshield broken out of a car, you know, lying half
in the front seat, half on the hood of a car that was
running too fast. So we developed a policy that required
the troopers and the maintenance personnel to eliminate
dead animals from the roadway or anything that would
attract buzzards. We'd equip the troopers with shovels
and rakes and they called the things, those tools, they
called them 'coon spoons' and 'snake rakes.' Collins,
Stu Collins came up one time with a picture of his patrol
car southbound, just north of the Pompano toll plaza, and
he had driven by a dead dragonfly in the roadway. And
old Red Cloud had raised the lid in the median and was
saying "Collins, what about that snake rake you just
passed?" He said I would appear out of the blue, you
know, and find them doing something that they'd need to
correct or not doing something they should be doing.
ERP: How did he publish his cartoons?
CET: He'd just draw them.
ERP: Just draw them.
CET: Show up on the barracks, bulletin boards somewhere.
ERP: Any of them ever make it in the trooper magazine, they
used to publish?
CET: No, they never did that I know of.
ERP: That h.irnde really stayed with you, though.
CET: Yeah, it sure did. That was one of the nicer ones.
ERP: That's how I always heard of you when I was a trooper.
CET: Red Cloud?
ERP: Yeah, Red Cloud. Somehow or another I transposed that to
Thunder Cloud later.
CET: Yeah, right.
ERP: But I remember it.
CET: Yeah, the "Red" part of it used to remind me of when I
had some hair and the "Cloud"....I had..I was widowed in
November. In fact, my wife and I were, my first wife and
I were supposed to come to the Turnpike and start
developing plans and policies and programs for Highway
Patrol in conjunction with the rule making authority of
the Turnpike and communications. I came aboard as police
and communications commander and our communications was
one of the most progressive and advanced of its day. The
microwave carrier, we've had we've had the microwave
telephone as a as a fringe benefit so that we had free
telephone service in each one of our posts along the
route of the Turnpike. And we had to reverse the calling
procedure where you used to use your number first and use
the station or car you were calling first in case the
microwave didn't lock in and you would cut off the first
part of your message in a hurry or in an emergency
situation. And we would say Turnpike from 301 or Parkway
from 301 instead of 301 Parkway.
ERP: I never understood why that was done.
CET: It was because the system was a little bit slow in
locking in. If I were in Fort Pierce and talking to a
trooper around Miami, the microwave towers, which are
about as far apart as AT&T long distance telephone
company towers, 20 to 25 miles apart, they had to all
lock in. It was instantaneous almost but occasionally
you would, in an emergency, you would cut off the first
part of your transmission so we reversed the calling
procedure instead of saying 301 Parkway we'd say Parkway
ERP: That way you'd get...
CET: They'd get the 301 even if they missed the Parkway,
they'd know 301 wanted something and you'd better
answer. But the disciplinary problems I had observed
that when Lieutenant Butler organized the weight troop
that the trooD commanders would bless him with all of
their best troopers. They sent the screw-offs, using a
nice word for it, to get rid of them and...at the time
Colonel Kirkman announced I was going to organize a
Turnpike troop, I suggested that he might reconsider
their policy instead of sending me all their culls, to
send me a good officer occasionally, you know, because I
could use all the help I could get. But they didn't. It
was just human nature, you know, not to send you your
most desirable and best performing officers. They'd send
the ones that were disciplinary problems. I promised
them that they'd be good troopers if they stayed. They'd
be top hands by the time they left the Turnpike and as it
turned out, they were. I had very few disciplinary
problems that went anywhere. We'd handle our own. We'd
invite them, you know, to spend the day off talking to me
in the glass castle, you know.
ERP: What did you call it, the glass castle?
CET: Well, that was the office on the second floor of the West
Palm Beach interchange.
CET: You know, all glassed in.
ERP: All that glass.
CET: Yeah, Vincent enjoys it now. But they had to explain to
their wives why they were in there talking to their
sergeant or lieutenant or the little tin god, the troop
commander, instead of being at home taking their kids
fishing or taking their wives shopping or doing
something. But it didn't impact their pay. We'd get
their cooperation without going on their record. When a
man reported in, we'd turn a sheet in a notebook and say
this is all clean, this is where you're starting. I've
known you for a long time and your. reputation is
preceding you has preceded you but I think you need an
opportunity to straighten out and do right, fly right.
And most of them did.
CET: We had some that we had problems with but...
ERP: Any notable troopers that were under your command that
came up through the Patrol and achieved rank.
CET: Well, Bill Kaufman left the Turnpike and became
tantamount to a Colonel as a division head in Highway
Safety and Motor Vehicles and retired top hand is in real
poor health. I talked to him a couple of weeks ago.
He's got an emphysema problem as has MargarCt.
ERP: I understand he was just recently interviewed for this
CET: Yeah. That would be quite interesting.
ERP: I'd like to read that one.
CET: Yeah. Duke Randall came to the Turnpike as First
Sergeant. He served with me as First Sergeant in Lake
City and I had a number of people who went through the
appropriate channels (UNK) down to the Turnpike from my
old Troop B headquartered in Lake City. Harry Darrill
retired as a First Sergeant. W. W. "Red" Johnson, who was
commissioned a battlefield captain in the Marine Corps in
World War II, became the First Sergeant, succeeded
Doyle. Bill Carlisle retired as a Lieutenant and he was
assigned to Colonel Manuel as his aide and Bill retired
and died a short time later from an aneurysm, a real
painful death. Bob Harrison retired as a Sergeant.
Darrill, Harrison and Carlisle were the first troopers to
be stationed on the Turnpike but came down here on a
guard duty assignment, really. As segments of the
Turnpike were completed, a problem developed in that the
local hot-rodders used those sections as a raceway. They
came in to the Turnpike in the final construction days in
1956, before the Turnpike was opened and we.had a number
of contiguous property owners who were issued passes to
traverse those sections of the Turnpike before they were
opened to traffic. A real interesting and gratifying
experience on the Turnpike. It's the only thing new that
had come along since 1940 except the weight troop and it
was a real challenge to put it together. We had an awful
lot of fun.
ERP: How long did you stay as the Director of Operations on
the Pike after you retired from the Patrol?
CET: Four years.
ERP: Four years. You became Sheriff.....
ERP: ...for a short period of time.
CET: Yeah. We were in a Turnpike Authority meeting in Tampa
when Mr. Hammer was chairman, John Hammer. And Hammer
didn't drink coffee and he didn't smoke. I was smoking
in those days and he'd drink his tea and talk and we were
about to have a nicotine fit, you know, to get out and
get a cup of black coffee and have a cigarette. And one
morning during our meeting, the secretary came in said
Mr. Hammer the Governor'- on the line. Well, we got the
hell out, you know, to give him the privacy the rank
required. And it was a storefront office and we went
right next door to the drugstore and the girl had just
brought my coffee and I'd just lit up that cigarette, you
know, when the secretary came and said Red, the Chairman
wants you in there right now, PDQ. So, I had no coffee,
no cigarette. I went in and Mr. Hammer put his hand over
the phone and said just a minute, Governor. He said, Red
the Governor wants to appoint you Sheriff of Palm Beach
County. When can you be in Tallahassee? Well, that was
a Monday morning. I said, you know, how about..I got
stupidly thinking about what I had to do and I said how
about Thursday afternoon. Well, that afternoon at 2
o'clock, I was in the Governor's office. I was on that
damn Turnpike Aero Commander and went to Tallahassee to
confer with the Governor and...
ERP: Who was the Governor?
CET: Ferris Bryant.
ERP: Ferris Bryant. Did he know you before?
CET: Yeah, I was Sergeant in Ocala and Ferris was the
representative in the House of Representatives in Ocala
from Marion County. I knew him and he had a problem
here. The Sheriff had been removed for perjury, for
lying, to the grand jury. And he had appointed a
political supporter, D.A.B. Widener the third, and
Widener had embarrassed everybody in the county and the
Governor had to fire him and he wanted somebody to bail
him out. So I was in fact an employee of the Governor
anyway employed by the Turnpike Authority. So, I took
the job and John Kirk had been Sheriff and defeated
himself. Martin Kellenberger had been elected to the
office, a Republican, and it was a protest vote against a
16-year incumbent, John Kirk had elected Martin
Kellenberger. John had started his own road patrol and
John, Jr., had..was running the show and they got a
little high handed and abrupt and created a lot of
animosity. And the word had gotten out that..the
opposition put the word out that if John were re-elected
that he was going to step down and get the Governor to
appoint John, Jr. as Sheriff and John, Sr. was going to
retire. And Kellenberger went in and against the advice
of his lawyer, one of the best lawyers in the Palm
Beaches, he went in that Grand Jury room with the
admonition from his lawyer whatever you do, tell them the
truth. Don't ever lie to the Grand Jury. Well, he went
in. The Grand Jury said, Sheriff, did Lou Carroll ever
work for you and he said no. Did you ever put him on
your payroll and he said no. They said did you ever use
any other funds of your office to hire Lou Carroll; he
said no, which waz a blatant outright lie because Lou
Carroll was being paid as an informant out of the
Sheriff's investigative fund. The Sheriff said I don't
have to tell anybody why I spend that investigative fund;
that's a confidential fund. So, the Grand Jury
recommended his indictment and removal. And D.A.B.
Widener had gone in and he made the State Attorney mad
and the judges mad and just...I had met Pete when he was
appointed by Happy Chandler as Superintendent of the
Kentucky State Police when they changed from a Highway
Patrol to the State Police. Pete went in a gun-happy,
badge-happy kid. Pete's grandfather was a butcher, came
over here from Germany at the turn of the century and had
the meat contract to provide all the Armed Forces with
meat all during World War I. Made him a mint of money.
Pete said..told me when he passed away that he inherited
a hundred million dollars. There was three hundred
million dollars in the estate and he was one of three
heirs and he never really knew how much money and doesn't
today know how much money he's worth. When you've got a
hundred million dollars (UNK) make a million or so
dollars difference in your net worth. But the Governor
said talking about Monday's trip to Tallahassee, said you
go back and tell Pete Widener for you all to be up here
Thursday afternoon. I said, you know, Governor, you
hired Mr. Widener. You call him if you want him told
anything. You tell him. I'm not going to tell him he's
fired. So he called ?ete and told him to fly on up to
Tallahassee Thursday. And I went out and met him at the
airport, you know, Palm Beach International, thinking
we'd have a chance to chat about some of the intricacies
of office and hell, he jumped up in the co-pilot's seat
as soon as the pilot took off. Well, Pete flew the Arrow
Commander around all the clouds between West Palm and
Tallahassee and I sat in the passenger compartment
reading a funny book. And we didn't get to talk about
the Sheriff's Office any until on the way back we got
weathered in and stopped in Sarasota and we got to talk
about the office a little bit. It was real interesting.
I served a brief but distinguished 71 days.
ERP: Oh, did you? I thought it was longer than that.
CET: No. The Senate was in session. Ralph Blank, who just
passed away, was the Senator from here and he decided he
better take some active duty in the military and he ran
out from under me. And the Senate could not bar Widener
ERP: Well where'd you go? Did you go back to the Turnpike?
CET: I went to the..yeah, I went back to the Turnpike and I
stayed there awhile. And went to work for the then
Florida Securities Commission as a Palm Beach
investigator for 11 counties in this area for the little
SEC, little state level SEC. White collar crimes, real
interesting and challenging. And they changed the
Governmental Reorganization Act of '69 abolished the ..a
lot of the bureaus and functions of the cabinet members
and put the old Florida Securities Commission which was a
three cabinet administered function under the State
Comptroller's Office. And he had a supporter by the name
of Seth Edward Bishop, a private investigator from Miami,
who had Pan American's uniformed security contract at the
Miami International Airport. And Gerald Lewis brought in
Bishop as one of his chief supporters and top hands. And
I knew I was gone when I saw Mr. Bishop's name on the
list because we had a securities fraud case in Stuart
that involved about a million, three or four thousand
dollars in Indian River, Martin and St. Lucie County and
Richard Stone was a friend of Earl Faircloth's, who was
the chairman of Securities Commission at the time. And
he was appointed Receiver for this firm and they were in
those days what we called the five percenters. Savings
and loan were paying 3 and 3 1/2 percent interest and the
retired community members in that vicinity found out they
Mabyis..has the record of being the shortest serving
counsel to the Sheriff of anybody in the State of
Florida. I think he was Sheriff..he was my counsel for
about a month. But we couldn't find Kellenberger to get
him to come back and he was scared to come in,
remembering what had happened when Kirk was there. And
old big Red, he's about as bad as big John, you know. I
finally..Bob (UNK) was the radio news announcer for local
WGNO and he just died last year. I knew he and the
Sheriff were good buddies so I called Bob. I said Bob,
bring the Sheriff on over here. He said how'd you know
he was here. I said you just got through telling me.
And be brought him on over to the Sheriff's Office and I
turned the office over to him very cordially. No
problem. I scared the poor old man half to death. He
had a stroke, you know, and he had to leave the office.
Bill Heightman was appointed by Claude Kirk to take
ERP: So that was in what, '67, '68?
CET: Let's see. I was Sheriff in '62 and Kellenberger went
back in in '64 general election. And then sometime after
'65, '66, I guess, Kellenberger had a stroke and
Heightman was appointed. When the motorcycle gang was
running rampant around here and we had a lot of publicity
out of that.
could make five percent, ultimately 5 1/2 percent on
their investment by switching from the savings and loan
to this security investment
certificates in the security firm. And there was no
advertising. They found out about them on the
shuffleboard courts, church circles and on the golf
course. And they went under and took eight or nine
hundred investors. They were small investors and in
interviewing, I didn't interview eight or nine hundred
but I interviewed a representative number and they hadn't
been solicited. They had all found out about it and
being a cynical cop, I figured that most people were
victimized in the securities fraud area in those days
because of their own greed. But I found out that in
talking to these people, I did a dangerous thing in
computing their increased income in my head and I'd say
Mr. Jones you took this investment out of your savings
loan and bought these certificates and you got about nine
dollars a month more in spendable income. And some of
them would get 16 dollars. They'd say yes sir, Mr.
Taylor, but I've got a three-party telephone now that I
couldn't afford bef.ore. Proud parents like yours and
mine wouldn't ask their kids for a nickel. Their
productive days were gone and they had no way to increase
their income except change their investment, a little
nest egg. At the time they were talking to me, they
didn't realize it was gone. That shock hadn't hit them
yet and they real proudly were telling me about how sharp
they were to get this investment and get that little bit
more. One fellow said well, I paid all the doctors and
don't owe the hospital anything and the drugstore's
paid. Real proud. And it dawned on me that we were
faced with increased inflation and taxation and these
people were dead-ended. They had nowhere to go. I
inflation hadn't reduced their spending power, they could
have lived comfortably throughout their retirement. But
I don't know what happened when they lost their original
savings, the little nest egg that was coming in. Some of
them got whacked pretty hard. But the firm went broke.
Richard Stone was Bill Singer's son-in-law, Singer of
Royal Castle fame. Richard Stone, who subsequently
became Secretary of State and United States Senator would
take you to lunch at the Royal Castle and buy you a damn
hamburger. He was the Receiver for this firm. I was in
my Securities office in West Palm one day and in walks a
friend of mine who was an intelligent investigator,
private investigator, and Bishop, Ed Bishop. And in the
course of the business of the visit, I found out that his
purpose was to obtain from me our subpoenas duces tecum
and individual subpoenas, which the Securities Commission
had authority to issue, but he wanted to use them to find
assets for these defunct corporations that he was helping
Richard Stone with. And he was bemoaning the fact that
the state only paid ten cents a mile for reimbursement
for the use of the car. And they were both driving
corporate Cadillacs and using the defunct corporations
money and credit cards and drawing, the state allowed
full receivership expense accounts at ten cents a mile,
claiming that they were driving their own cars. The
crooked bastards. Well I got into the thing and
maneuvered around and got the federal court, had an FBI
agent friend in Tampa who had done receivership work and
got the federal court to order that receivership case
moved from Stuart to Tampa to federal court (UNK)
Florida. Richard Stone paid back $45,000 that he
admitted he had taken out of this firm. Plus with other
stolen that we couldn't track or didn't have the
accounting staff to track. I refused Bishop's request
for the subpoenas and he said well call your boss. And I
said you call him but make damn sure you pay for it
because my budget won't allow me to pay for it. And he
never did call my boss. He didn't get the subpoenas and
I made (TAPE ENDED). Betts...
ERP: Tom Betts. Yeah...
ERP: ..Tom took over the Academy.
CET: Yeah. But I was in my office one day writing a damn
report and our Director of the Securities Commission
called me and he said Rob, as you know Robbie has retired
as Chief Investigator and he said I want you to find me a
Chief Investigator. I said well okay, Tom, I'll sort of
look around I said your problem is you don't pay any damn
money. And nobody wants to work for nothing these days.
And you didn't have any appropriations. But anyway, we
got Bob Prince conned into taking the job. You know,
Chief Investigator for the Securities Commission sounded
better than corporal.
CET: He hadn't been working for us three months until the
legislature raised the pay and a corporal was making more
money than our Chief Investigator. Bob says you did me a
dirty turn. Bob is now Assistant Director of the Alabama
Securities Commission, has been for several years.
ERP: No kidding.
CET: Ever since he ran. for Sheriff in Leon County and got
beat. But Bishop had us both fired. Bob sued Gerald
Lewis. I got reinstated. Cost the taxpayers $18,000 to
reinstate me and give me my back pay. And Bob settled
out of court with Gerald Lewis. He sued him for
defamation of character and breach of contract and a
little bit of everything. But I never will forget a
corporal was making more than our Chief Investigator.
But we had some input into changing our pay scale and Bob
called me to Tallahassee one time and said we need some
more money. And we got the money up on the same level
with the State Attorneys investigators and Attorney
General's investigators and ad LE ad drew about three
or four months of that new high pay. The front page of
the Tampa Tribune had Richard Nixon, Bud Dickson..Bud
Dickinson and Red Taylor all on the front page of their
scandal sheet at the same time when I got fired. Miami
Herald the same damn way. The same time Nixon was
disgraced in the country, Bud Dickinson and I were
disgraced in the state. Crazy.
ERP: That's something.
CET: But it cost the taxpayers all that money to get me
reinstated. Then I left and was in the investment
banking business for awhile. Only time I made any money
in my life when I was a compliance officer for a firm in
Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. And stayed there about a year
and DNR advertised for an investigator and I called Bill
Carlton and the lady said Mr. Strickland will talk to you
and I said well this ad says Mr. Carlton. She said well
Mr. Strickland is going to take care of it. I said,
fine, yes sir, Mr. Strickland, this is Red Taylor and he
said Captain Red Taylor? And I said yes sir and you're
interested in this ad that Mr. Carlton put in the paper,
Captain? And I said who in the hell is this and it was a
deputy sheriff that I met that worked for Sheriff
Stoutamire, criminal deputy or the do-all deputy back in
those days in 1940 in Tallahassee. He was the Chief
Investigator for the Johns Comnmittee when they w afnt after
all the homosexuals in the school system. When Sheriff
Stoutamire retired as Sheriff and became Chief of Police,
Strickland went over and became a detective sergeant at
the Tallahassee Police Department. And I met him and his
wife one night when I first came on the Highway Patrol at
a party at the Armory in Tallahassee and we touched base
over the years every once in awhile. He'd need something
or I'd need something. Called and I hadn't seen him in,
God, 20 years, I guess. And a peculiar thing about the
job, they had dual standards. One was in engineering and
the other was in investigative law enforcement work. I
had majored in civil engineering as a freshman at the
First General College in Gainesville in 1935. I was one
of the guinea pigs. The General College was a
continuation of high school, a general education and they
just abolished it last year. They don't have it
anymore. The approach to proceeding from high school
when you don't know what the hell you want to do or be
and as it turned out, I had qualified with the personnel
division of the Department of Administration and had my
certificate of eligibility on the engineering and the
investigative side. After I got out of the Comptroller's
Office, I called personnel and had them send over a
certificate of eligibility to DNR and Strickland hired me
as an engineering technician at DNR. That was 11 years
ERP: You're still with them?
CET: Yeah. Still at the public trough.
ERP: Let me go back to where you were born.
Where were you
CET: DeLand, Florida, November 2, 1917. I'm 71 years old.
ERP: You're a native, then.
CET: I'm a native redneck from Volusia County.
ERP: Living here all of your life.
CET: Yeah. I came down to this coast in '56.
ERP: Where are your parents from?
CET: My mother was from West Virginia. My dad was from Ohio.
I lost my dad when I was seven years old and my mother
passed away in 1977.
ERP: You were raised around Deland.
CET: Went to school in DeLand and the University of Florida
and Stetson University and walked out of an economics
class in Stetson in 1939 and never did go back and ygt my
degree. Probably should have. Probably should have gone
to law school when I got out of World War II and be a
rich, famous lawyer by now. I might be hiring retired
troopers as paralegal.
ERP: Might be good for some of us.
ERP: You have brothers and sisters that are alive?
CET: No, my sister passed away, had polio, both kinds of polio
and apparently got polio and conceived simultaneously up
at Virginia Beach. She was a civil service employee
working in the District of Columbia. We got a call, we
were in Tallahassee at the time, we got a call my sister
had polio. And we went to DeLand and picked up my mother
and we went up to the District of Columbia. One of the
most horrifying experiences of my life was looking in the
window and seeing my sister there in that iron lung. She
survived and moved out to Phoenix to a drier climate and
ultimately passed away. Her little heart just gave out
on her. The second child, she was out of the iron lung
50 minutes when a second child was born and her picture
was in the paper in that iron lung and everything, all
over the country. Th. ilrst time that had happened and
she improved to a certain point and they recommended a
drier climate because Washington's down in the swamp, in
a hollow. And she moved out to Phoenix, took the
respirator with her on the train and never went back in
the iron lung. She used that respirator occasionally.
They remodeled the house in Phoenix and made a bedroom
downstairs where the garage was and she sort of ran the
household from the bed there. When she passed away they
had a snowstorm, had winter between here and Phoenix and
my brother, half-brother from California came down to
Phoenix to represent the family and my brother from new
York came to DeLand and I went to DeLand to be with my
mother who didn't appear and my brother represented us at
the funeral. She, of course back during the Depression,
that was a sought-aft-er job, civil service job.
ERP: Oh my goodness.
CET: She got out of Stetson and went up there and married a
guy from Texas and they had two children. I've got two
nieces and the oldest one never got married. The
youngest one has a child.
ERP: Were you married when you came on the Patrol?
CET: No, I was single. I didn't get married unt Il ca:m back
out of World War II. In '56, I married my first wife and
lost her in Lake City before I came to the Turnpike. We
were already scheduled for Turnpike duty when she passed
away and Colonel just transferred me down here. It was
good therapy. I found out after a few weeks that I
couldn't work 24 hours too many weeks in a row, you
know. It was good therapy for me.
ERP: Then you got remarried?
CET: Yeah. I remarried in '63 and that's the reason I'm
reluctant to retire. She can barely tolerate me two days
a week. If I stayed home seven days, she'd leave me and
I'd have to find another one and I'm too old to start
looking. I've got a-good one.
ERP: Did you raise any children?
CET: No, no kids. God's will, I guess. Lost my first wife.
We had ten happy years of marriage and then I remarried
in '63 and still got the same gal, Peggy.
ERP: So, I think I read in the little resume on you that you'd
gone to Northwestern University at one time.
CET: Yeah, while I was stationed in GHQ in the fall of'5i I
was awarded a fellowship by the Automotive Safety
Foundation, which was quite an honor, and went to the
Police Administration Course at Northwestern. We
had..Jay Hall was a graduate of the National Academy and
that was shorter and less expensive and the Colonel never
did lean much toward the nine month course at
Northwestern. And I was a graduate of the last World War
II short course. They stopped this in the fall of '52
and went back to the nine month course in Police
Management because they just didn't have enough time to
give a guy a four year college education in nine in six
months. And I went up to Evanston in the fall of '51 and
they had the worst winter in the history of pneumonia
junction. I like to froze to death, my first experience
with snow. And...
ERP: Florida boy, I tell you.
CET: Yeah. I had two troopers from two lieutenants from
California were my classmates and had a number of
illustrious police officers in my class. And I was
elected president of the class, had a Frank McGiveney of
Arkansas State Police (UNK) he got out and politicked for
the damn job. I didn't want it, you know, I was up there
to learn something and got elected accidentally I guess.
Frank (UNK), the originator of the Traffic Institute at
Northwestern University, was the Director of the course
at that time and he made his mark in police training by
that's quite a course now. They send traffic engineers
up there, judges, traffic court judges conferences and
every legal division. They don't generate the rapport
that the National Academy does. The FBI gives the
academy graduates a lot of support and backing and a lot
of PR. The classes are too damn big. They've got..they
used to have a 150 people in the National Academy
classes. I don't know what they have today.
ERP: I think they get 250.
CET: Yeah, that's right. That's sort of like a conference.
CET: That's so damn big. We only had 22 people in our class
ERP: NA, I think, has cut way back on expenses. So they may
have cut back on the class sizes, too, because they can't
pay all the expenses out of the Federal Government like
they used to.
ERP: And of course, you know the state and the city, they
probably can't afford to say. So that was..you have any
other like formal schools, formal educational experiences
that you were exposed to during your years...
CET: As Administrative Assistant to the Director when I was
promoted to that job in Tallahassee shortly after I
arrived there in '49, Colonel Kirkman put me in a
position of liaison with the State and Provencial section
of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and
the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
and I represented Florida and the Director at the
Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances and
Uniform Signs and Signals Committee. And the
responsibility there was rounding, it was beautiful, it
gave me a chance to sit down with some of the big names
in police service around the country and I helped put
together the regior.al IACP meetings when Colonel Kirkman
was Director, chairman of the region, you know. One of
the most picturesque people I met was Gib Carroll, who
was Superintendent of the Colorado State Police and IACP
had the standards, you know, for the police service and
we weren't supposed to put uniformed trained police
officers in administrative duties and take them off the
street or off the road. We were supposed to hire
civilians, you know, to take those jobs and officially
utilize our trained manpower and Gib Carroll was a
picturesque individual, fancy, three or four hundred
dollar boots and this Indian jewelry, you know, and a
leather string necktie and cowboy regalia. Real expense
stuff, nothing cheap about it. But he was a Ford dealer
in a little town in Colorado, you know, and I said
Colonel, what kind of cars do Arizona troopers drive.
And he said, by God, Fords, what do you think? I'm a
Ford dealer in Colorado Springs. Somebody said, Colonel
Carroll, IACP's got these standards of using civilians in
administrative positions and I was wondering about
the..your communications officer, who's the
communications officer in the Colorado State Patrol. He
said well he said I tried a civilian for a long time and
he said all I could get out of him was (UNK) and language
that I didn't understand and he said well I've a got a
uniformed lieutenant is my communications officer. He
said all I give a damn about on that radio, you know, is
can I hear and can they hear me and that's all the
technicality I've got. And we asked him who his supply
officer was, you know, and it was a lieutenant. He'd
done the same thing that we had done, you know, using the
civilians who couldn't speak the language, you know, the
management concepts in police work the same as in a damn
factory or in industry or anywhere else,, but you've got
to talk this language like a policeman. You can't have
some civilian come in. They won't buy it. They're a
bunch of damn prima donnas. We were both prima dorinas in
our day and we didn't believe it if somebody said it and
he wasn't wearing a badge.
ERP: That's right.
CET: It's that damn simple
ERP: Not going to take any orders from no damn civilian.
CET: No! That's exactly right.
ERP: That's about right.
CET: It was..
ERP: Were you...
CET: We'd wind up in the National Safety Congress in the
Traffic Section of Chicago in October and have some input
into the national policies and the do's and the don't.
Captain Annette commanded the throughway in New York; he
was my counterpart. And the temperament of police in the
north is completely different that it is down here.
We're a service organization. We don't hesitate although
sometimes I've seen them..I wish I had my radio working
and you could yank them up by the back of the neck when
they pass some stranded motorist and don't Lim. service.
But Annette didn't believe it could be done unless it was
police service. He's retired down here in north Miami
now. But one of our policies on the Turnpike to engender
better public relations and help entice more traffic onto
the Turnpike was giving away gasoline. The first day we
were open, a trooper ran out of gas. He just..you're not
acclimated to turnpike driving. In the higher speeds,
you use more gasoline than you do on the narrow roads and
you..the first thing you know, you're out of gas. And we
had Sebring cans. I've got one in my car now. It had a
neoprene seal on it and you put that spout down and hook
it down and it won't leak. You can through it around or
do anything and there was no patrol cars lost from
exploding gasoline cans. But Annette called me one day
and he said you and your Goddamn gasoline. The
throughway wants me to carry gasoline in my cars and I'm
not going to do it. And he tried to get an injunction
against the throughway...
CET: ...for giving away tax-paid gasoline, but he didn't get
anywhere with it. This was just an idea of not doing
anything that wasn't demanded of him and required under
the law as official police functions.
CET: They didn't do it.
ERP: Not service oriented at all.
CET: You know, we didn't hesitate to do those things because
that's the way we built the Highway Patrol.
CET: We built it on that basis. But we hired retired people
as toll collectors, you know, when I went in '56 when I
went to the Turnpike, we were on a..state employees were
on six day week or five and a half day week, 48 hours, 44
hours. So Colonel Manuel said we're going to do
something for the people we've enticed to come to Florida
and keep it green by bringing their money and we're going
to hire retired people for toll collectors. Dave Erwin
like to died. We put them on a 40 hour week and paid
them $235.00 a month. Everybody else was working six
days, you know. And we got the most fabulous record in
Turnpike history because of the accuracy or reversely the
error factor of the toll collectors. We engendered some
competition among those people and they were
competitive. We had a comedian by the name of Bob Odom,
who was the maintenance superintendent. The first guy
that died of a heart attack was 80 some odd years old
working at the Golden Glades Interchange. Monday morning
8 o'clock staff meeting, got around to Mr. Odom and the
Colonel said anything to report, Bob? And he said well I
got no problems in maintenance unless somebody's got some
questions for me but he said the other morning when Mr.
So-and-So died down at Golden Glades, he said I was at
the one mile post, went down there to see if I could be
helpful and you might be interested to know that the
ambulance pulled up and picked up three toll collectors
before they got the dead one. Dave was Dick's brother,
you know the former Attorney General's brother. He was a
policeman in Tallahassee before they run him off and they
always thought he could do a better job than any trooper
could and I had some problems with him over the years as
Director of Tolls.
ERP: How about the uniform and equipment. You've seen, I
guess, an evolution of the uniform somewhat and the way
the troopers were equipped.
CET: Initially, the Colonel wanted to copy the New York State
Police hence the Stetson hat that you still wear. And
that was modified somewhat when Mingle was a captain and
came down from Ohio as chief instructor of the Bradenton
school and they never did change the hat. Ohio State
Patrol uses a flat brimmed campaign type hat that sort of
hard to keep straight when you get it wet but the
policies were pursued after successful experience in
Ohio. Ohio, every southern police organization has a
northern counterpart. Indiana State Police were the
trainers and the parent organization for the Alabama
Highway Patrol. We pursued Ohio's policies after we got
started on the uniform from New York even the swivel
holsters and the lanyard leather lanyard on those swivel
pistols. And in 1940, I wore a Postal Telegraph
uniform. Blue with orange stripes. Looked just like a
Postal Telegraph delivery boy which you don't even
remember. As contrast Western Union and Postal Telegraph
were competitive in those days and they both wore
uniforms. Western Union was a green type sort of
military dull drab outfit. Postal Telegraph was
flamboyant with big old wide orange stripes and bright or
blue dark blue trousers, shirts. And Colonel Mengle
maintained his relationship with Colonel Kirkman up until
Colonel Kirkman passed away. Mengel died two years ago
at age 88 over in Cape Coral. He was a judo .expert and
every time we'd have a program come up, I remember Jay
Hall.went to Ohio to study the auxiliary system which
started in Ohio. They used veterans, American Legion,
members. That's one of the best public relations shows
we ever had. And right now, I think you've got a few. I
don't think there's ever the spontaneity or the
enthusiasm that we had when we had the veterans. Because
of the basic training innate to a veteran, we didn't have
any disciplinary problems and now you take anybody, I
guess. Anybody that's willing and stupid enough to spend
their spare time.
ERP: Out there riding in a car.
CET: Yeah. Like Joe Cheveroli to get insulted by Ed Redding.
Ed..Joe's been a real good friend as you know to the
FE?. Still is.
ERP: Yeah. Always will be, I guess.
CET: Oh yes. The...
ERP: Well, you've seen a lot of changes.
CET: Yeah a lot of progress. Still you know the most
important man in the outfit is the trooper dealing with
the public on a day-to-day basis and the only reason
they've got captains and ma ors and corporals and
sergeants is to service that trooper emotionally and
mentally and physically and besides the equipment and
flashlight batteries and tickets and tires when he needs
them and keeping his car in good running order, you've
got to be able to send him out to do a day's work
emotionally capable of handling it and mentally trained
on how he can 1 ell a falling too closely ticket easier
than he can sell a speeding ticket. Keeping him equipped
and gung ho emotionally and morale is a very elusive
ERP: It really is.
CET: But you need to consider, I know my command always got
tired of my repetitious admonition at every staff meeting
saying, you know, the most important guy is that trooper
out there dealing with the public hour to hour, minute to
minute on a day to day basis. And at one of the staff
meetings, one of the sergeants says so and so ain't worth
a damn. I said what's wrong with him here a week or so
ago he was the best trooper you had. Well, he wants a
transfer. I said could that be because his sergeant
ain't worth a shit? What's wrong. My problem then was I
turn around to make a telephone call and if it got a
little lengthy, the sergeants would be back out on the
damn road working traffic, you know. They were
comfortable doing that. It was supervision that was
strange to them. And it degenerated into a, you know,
the troopers coming out of the Academy are sharper every
class, you know, they get better and you're faced with
Academy graduates that are smarter than some of your
ERP: Yeah. That's right.
CET: And it's hard to bring them up and keep them abreast.
Brain-pick these guys you learn something. You know,
they got a lot more training than we did. Think back.
This is true. I'd say you know it could be the
supervisor's fault this guy wants a transfer, wants to
leave. I said he's unhappy because his supervisor ain't
worth a damn. You know, when you took stock and examined
yourself, it found out to be true a lot of times. But we
had to develop a lot of morale-building policies that
gave the troopers on the Turnpike a little edge over the
narrow road boys because they were stuck out there behind
a fence, you know, they were kidded about the kind of
work they were doing, and who they were working for and
what they were doing out there as contrasted to the
narrow road boys. So we, you know, we shortened the
hours, lunch allowance and meal allowance and encouraged
them to spend it at the restaurants on the Turnpike.
They were on duty all the time they were out there as
long as they had that damn uniform on. But it was
real...we had good morale. We had..I went into Colonel
Clifton's office one day when I was in Tallahassee (TAPE
ERP: 9th, 1989. This is tape number three side number one, a
continuation of the interview with...
CET: Red Taylor.
ERP: Captain, Major, Inspector Red Thunder, Red Cloud Taylor.
We were talking about the incident that occurred when or
the conversation you had with Colonel Clifton about
ordering an air conditioned car.
CET: As was my normal practice on a trip to Tallahassee in
1960, I went through channels through Lee Simmons and
Reed Clifton and in the course of bringing them up to
date, I suggested that I would like mighty well to order
my new troop commander's car for the Turnpike troop as an
air conditioned vehicle. Clifton admonished that I knew
that if I got my car air conditioned I was going to be a
son of a bitch and I retorted that I already was and with
an air conditioned car, I'd be a cool son of a bitch.
But anyway I went on into the Director's office and
Colonel Kirkman approved that purchase as long as the
Turnpike was paying for it and the Highway Patrol didn't
have any money invested in it so that bore out my bet
with Colonel Clifton that within five years, the air
conditioners would be where they should have been all
along, with the trooper working on the roadway. Even in
safety education work, we had a problem getting all hot
and sweaty on the way to a civic club to...
CET: ...give a talk and you really couldn't really do police
work and be presentable for a civic club or school or
veterans organization meeting and now that they have air
conditioned cars, it makes the trooper a lot more
presentable and a lot more efficient really. But I
recall that New York State the Turnpike Authority New
Jersey State Turnpike Authority Police Special Chrysler I
had was the cause of a lot of comment I'm sure. I know
as a working trooper, I always with a lot of peon in me
like everybody else (UNK tape was blank) then to have
an unmarked car and a better vehicle because one day I
aspired to drive one myself as I got promoted and the
scuttlebutt got back to me pretty quickly that the
troopers on the Turnpike were kidding their counterparts
on the narrow roads that the Turnpike commander was
driving an air conditioned car, what was their troop
commander driving. Again, it goes back to that old
philosophy that we aspire to. something better and we
admire those superiors who have something better because
one day we're going to sit in that same chair.
ERP: That's very, very true.
CET: But one of the outstanding mnomtents in my career was J.
Eldridge Beach had left the Highway Patrol because he
didn't hire out to be chauffeur and in GHQ we had
assigned him the task of driving the Colonel and Mrs.
Kirkman, which didn't appeal to Eldridge's aspirations to
be a good street cop and he was a topnotch policeman.
But he showed up one day on the Turnpike to retread with
the Turnpike troop and did an outstanding job and I
understood his relationship with the former Speaker of
the House and president of the Senate and where he was
headed and as it turned out, he left the Turnpike and was
promoted right up the ranks until he became Director.
But one day when he was working on the Turnpike, I headed
south out of West Palm Beach or Okeechobee Boulevard
Interchange office and down north of the service area at
Lake Worth, Beach -was parked perpendicular to the
Turnpike, you know, and standing out by his left front
fender saluting the passing motorists. And I pulled over
to be brought up to date on the grapevine and chatting
with Beach for a few moments. As I started to leave,
across my vilonr flashed this computer printout of the
form 125, which I carried in my mind pretty prominently
in those days and I said, by the way, Beach, has anything
anybody said anything to you recently about your damn
48-hour cards. He said, no sir, but someone ought to.
He said I haven't written the first one this month. No
sir, but someone ought to, which was the truth. I don't
)know what his probl e wos, but there it was well into 1he
month and he'd made an adequate number of arrests and
warning tickets but he hadn't written the first 48-hour
card. And Beach was real a real good observer. He would
identify the driver and he would recognize the headliners
in the Palm Beaches. The movie stars that played over at
the playhouse and the other dignitaries that we only read
about on the front page and Beach would recognize them
either as a passenger or as the driver of a car on the
Turnpike and stop them for whatever reason he had, you
know, and come back with an autograph or something from
every one of them. He was a good observer and super
sharp and got his share of complimentary letters as he
was retraining, retreading as we called it on the...
ERP: On the Turnpike.
CET: ...Turnpike. But then he went right on up to Troop B to
Gainesville and then to Lake City and then into
Tallahassee, you know. He had an illustrious career. I
never was real specially enthusiastically pleased that
Beach didn't make use of his legislative friends who were
at the University of Florida when he was playing football
there. I thought he had a marvelous opportunity to get
back to the State Police Department organizational
concept that all of us aspired to and make the
specialists departments of Game and Fish and Division of
-Mrine Patrol and thi .g like that because I think the
Highway Patrol is a natural recruiting ground from the
uniform division into criminal and plainclothes
investigative work. And I know that when Governor Kirk
was governor the move in the legislature came from south
Florida to make the Patrol the State Police and because
of some problems that they that were imagined with the
FDLE, our people fought it and admitted to me later that
they were wrong in so doing, that they never would have
been subjugated to Bill Reid, which was their concern.
They'd been in there a long time and had their and were
entrenched and we just missed a grand opportunity during
the Kirk administration to become a state police and
expand and we lost a lot of men, you know, that's the
reason we've got so many outstanding FDLE agents that
came off the Highway Patrol.
ERP: Yeah, that's right. They're staffed from the FHP.
CET: Bob Tinvorne left us. Bob was a rookie on at the Stuart
post of the Turnpike, just started I think his first week
or so and we had a service station holdup in Delray Beach
and the idiots entered the Turnpike at the Delray Beach
Interchange and the word went up and down, you know, to
be on the lookout for them. The toll collector at FL.
Pierce called and
said those bandits are here at my
station, what's I do? And I came on the air, I was
wandering around one of those nights and said to tell
them to pull over and park, tell them to pull over and
stop, which they did. And I had gone over on the outside
FHP radio and called for a trooper from Ft. Pierce to
help intercept them up that way and he pulled up and Bob
Tinvorne from north end pulled in behind them and they
had plenty of police help by then. Incidentally, the
toll collectors have the same police authority as a
trooper on the Turnpike under the rules and regulations
but they were never permitted to exercise it because they
were retired people and we didn't want to subject them to
the hazards of police service. But the bandits didn't
know that the collector wasn't a policeman, you know, and
they just did what he said, pulled over and stopped.
Well, in a very few-minutes, Bob Tinvorne called and said
these are the people that held up the station but we
can't find trooper so and so from the Ft. Pierce station
and I can't find the loot. We know they got a certain
amount of money but we can't find it. I said well did
you ask them what they did with it. 10-54. And I said
well ask them. So he did and came back in just another
few minutes and said the money was up on top of the glove
box under the dash. They'd stuck it up under the dash.
Nobody knows more about a crime than the guy that did
it. He found that out real shortly.
ERP- Nothing like asking them, to
CET: Bob went up to Brevard County and ultimately went to the
National Academy and was one of their top criminal
investigators. He investigated the death of Wess Slappy,
who left the Patrol to run for sheriff in Columbia County
in 1956 and was defeated and became a tag inspector and
was stationed in Cocoa. He had a stepson who was
emotionally troubled and came down to West Palm Beach one
day and picked up a new state car and drove it back to
Cocoa and as it turned out, he walked in the motel room
where he and his stepson were staying and his stepson
beat him to death. Killed him right there in the room,
upset because of some disciplinary action that Slappy had
taken. Yeah, I guess J. Eldridge Beach was probably the
most prominent graduate of the Turnpike troop. Brady
came back and retreaded with me, you know.
ERP: Did he?
CET: Yeah. Major Brady.
ERP: Yeah, a lot of successful retreads.
CET: Yeah, yeah. We had the best. We had the cream of the
ERP: I retrejaded %ith Captain Johnny Hicks in M-iamu .
CET: Yeah, he was a great guy.
ERP: He was, I tell you.
CET: Except for those damn cigarettes. That was heartbreaking
to me. He got emphysema.
ERP: Yeah, I tell you the older we get, the more friends that
we see, you know, you lose to cigarettes one way or the
CET: Charlie Goodland was married last week, retired Chief of
Police in Belle Glade. He trained an awful lot of
troopers. You get over there in the Glades, you know,
and you're sort of isolated. He what was the guy's name
from Miami that got shot to death after he left Miami?
CET: Yeah, the Bear Bertrand. Bill Barnes and I were in the
Kiwanis Club together, the retired police chief in West
Palm Beach and Bill was a cocky, feisty, contentious
little bastard. And Bertrand stopped him on one of the
expressway roadways in Dade County one night and stopped
him for speeding. Bill got into a knock drag..knock
c own, drag out argument w: th Bertrand, which didn't gqt
him anywhere because Bertrand made up his damn mind that
one way he was going and that was the right way and that
was it. But Charlie Goodland trained Bertrand when he
was in the Glades for the Patrol and Bertrand says, Chief
get your Goddamned speedometer calibrated and it just
blew Barnes' mind, you know, that a policeman
would..trooper would have the audacity to tell the Chief
of Police to go get his speedometer calibrated and Bill
came back up here and took it to the police calibration
shop here and the damn thing was off.
ERP: Oh really?
CET: And he drove all the way back down there instead of
calling Bertrand or Stephens or whoever was Bertrand's
troop commander. He went all the way down there and
chased Bertrand down to apologize to him.
ERP: No kidding.
CET: Took Olive with him. Took his wife with him.
ERP: Well I'll be darned.
CET: And lie said I made an ass of myself and you were right.
He said I went and took it up there wherever the police
care calibrated. You were right.
ERP: Well I'll be darned.
CET: And he apologized. Paid his damn ticket.
ERP: I'll be darned. Isn't that something?
CET: It was interesting. And Bertrand got shot. I never..I
was always a little bit critical about our evaluation of
the shootings because we were never able to get other
than grapevine feedback and never really had some
in-service training time devoted to what should have been
done or what we could do in the future to keep from
getting shot. It was a gap in our in-service training
program. Because that's when you learn something is when
a man gets shot. You got to separate all the chaff from
the gossip and grapevine, 10-56's from the troop and then
there have been a number, you know, that were
ERP: Yeah, there's been too many of them shot.
ERP: Too many shot.
ERP: Very violent police work.
CET: Were you around when Russ Garris got shot?
ERP: No that was probably went on maybe when I was on the
CET: It was over in Lee County and this chap had murdered an
elderly couple out at Ft. Myers Beach and set their house
on fire and was on the way back from that. Didn't have
any rear lights and Garris stopped him, you know, and he
took a shot at Garris and Garris nailed him right between
the eyes, his first shot. And they had Garris in the
hospital and he had a hole in his britches and a hole in
his leg where the thug shot him. Someone said, Russ,
what happened? And that idiot Garris says you know I've
been having problems with my first sergeant. I couldn't
get a new pair of britches and he said he finally got me
a brand new pair of britches that weren't turned in by
anybody and never been worn. He says that son of a bitch
shot a hole right them, made me madder than hell. He got
him right between the eyes.
ERP: And then Garris would say dang.
CET: Yeah, yeah. He pulled out on 41, you know 441 and ile
didn't know anything except there was a car without any
rear lights or no tag lights or what the hell ever he
stopped him for, you know, and he rolled out of the car
and started up there and the guy shot him right through
the leg. Flesh wound as it turned out.
ERP: I knew he had been shot and he had shot the guy, but I
CET: Yeah, he killed him.
ERP: What year was that in?
CET: God, I don't even remember.
ERP: Must have been before '60...
CET: Garris was with me on the Turnpike. That's another
distinguished graduate of the.Turnpike. How many times
has he been married? Five or six? Some unusual number.
ERP: I'm not sure.
CET: We'll ask him.
ERP: Yeah, we'll ask him about that.
CET: Right. But he. as undoubtedly the true comedian of the
Turnpike troop. There was never a dull moment when he
ERP: What a guy. He's a good friend. Well, any closing
thoughts, anything you'd like to impart to the (UNK).
CET: You mean right in the middle of this...
ERP: Right in the middle.
CET: ...we're going to stop?
ERP: We're going to stop right in the middle.
CET: Russ Garris. He's run out of tape. You need to send him
some more money. Yeah, I wish I could remember. I need
a roster here to refresh my mind because all of our
troopers were top hands. You know, we didn't have any
culls on the Turnpike.
ERP: No, not on the Turnpike. Not when you got through with
CET: Yeah, yeah.
ERP: When you got when Chief Red Cloud got through with them,
they knew how to find the in's room after thact.
CET: We weren't entered into a popularity contest, but we
had..G. B. Stafford had a protest meeting in Tampa when I
was Lieutenant over there and he got all the troopers
together, you know, to get them a new lieutenant and they
didn't get very far with it. They couldn't find anybody
they wanted to come to Tampa. And then in his career, he
went to Miami and Toby Bass run him off and where did he
come to get some help on his appeal was right to my
CET: Yeah. Stafford's a good friend. He's done alright.
Finally retired for the second time I guess.
ERP: Oh did he? I didn't know.
CET: Yeah. He's no longer in Taiilahassee. He..I saw him at a
retired troopers meeting in Palatka shortly after he
retired from the civilian post as planning officer or
ERP: That's what he was.
CET: Yeah. broke in under me in Tampa when I was a
district lieutenant. Had a radio operator down there
named Gardner Ralph Gardner was a Tampa police
dispatcher, came to work for the Florida Highway Patrol
at that little old Tampa station. It occurred to me that
we were having a lot of 10-21s and that we had radios in
our cars, two-way radios and microphones you can talk
over, you know, and the radio operator..this happened on
Gardner's shift. And at a district meeting one day, I
said listen ya'll got a radio message, give it to the
trooper and if not, just call him the next time he stops
for coffee. Don't have him 10-21 all the damn time. It
just barely get out of the drive-in or service station
and you got him 10-21ing again. So that, you know, that
went over like a lead balloon and that night on the way
home, what happens -but I get a call to 10-21 and it just
galls the hell out of me and I said Tampa, if you've got
a message, give it to me; if not, it can wait until I get
home. He said okay but your neighbor called and said to
tell you her husband's going to be out of town tonight.
Little old Tampa, you know, it went all over the middle
part of the state, down there in Bradenton and Ocala and
everybody ran that. I never did live it down. But
the..we had prowlers in the neighborhood, you know, and I
said you just, you know, call the station when Mr.
Johnson's leaving and let me know. So Gardner put out
right on okay Mrs. Johnson called and said to tell you
her husband's going to be out of town again tonight.
ERP: My God, I'd have killed him. I'd have killed him.
CET: They all get even, you know.
ERP: Oh Lord Almighty.
CET: They could really do that.
ERP: That was cute.
CET: Joe Gallop was in Orlando and I was in Tampa. We had a
problem, personnel evaluation. All of Gallop's men were
99 and 100 percent. Never goofed up, never made a
mistake and I realized that in trying to be honest and
fair and use the personnel evaluation as an improvement
tool, that I was screwing my own men. You know, they
were being downgraded in an effort to get them to do
better and yet the other, my counterparts, the other
lieutenants around were giving their men high scores.
And I was afraid, you know, it was going to reflect
adversely on some damn good supervisory personnel. Jim
Prater was my sergeant. Jim's, of course, retired in
Palatka now. When Colonel Clifton died, Helen Randall,
Duke Randall's wife is living in Paiatka and she got the
call from Jewell, who was in Ormond Beach. Jewell called
Jim Prater and Jim Prater called me from Palatka to tell
me about it and the teletype. Burkett had put out the
teletype some two or three hours before but, you know, it
just saidClifton had died. It didn't say to notify
anybody. I still got a bone to pick with him about not
notifying us. Hell, Ralph Robinson was the first
sergeant I ever had on the Highway Patrol and he was dead
and buried six weeks before I knew he was sick. Ralph
Robinson was stationed in Brooksville and his claim to
fame was a murderer that he apprehended in Brooksville
and he found the dead body in the trunk of the car. He
was nosing around in the back of the car and there was
some blood dripping out of the trunk and he solved the
notorious Pinellas County murder and got promoted to
ERP: Well, I'll be darned.
CET: I came across what looked like a plowed field one night
out in..on the..toward Seffner, Mango and Robinson had
tangled with a drunk FBI agent and the agent knew about
as much judo as Ralph did and the agent wound up with a
broken collar bone and a broken arm and he was drunk and
immune to the application that Robbie made, you know.
And he just wouldn't stop and I helped load and handcuff
him and load him up and get him in the car. But he was
as much a man as Ralph Robinson was and Robbie was, you
know, a Marine sergeant. One night I knew I was headed
to have my skinny red ass badly beaten. I stopped a
bunch of Marines. Robbie went on back into the Marine
Corps before I did, went into the Coast Guard in World
War II. And I stopped a carload of drunk Marines. How
stupid can you get?
ERP: Outside of town?
CET: Outside between Mango and Seffner one night. They were
out partying, you know, and having them a good time.
They started to pile out of the car and I slammed the
door on one leg and got him back in. I said, now look,
ya'll just left Parris Island and Ralph Robinson used to
work for me. I was his Goddamned sergeant. You think
he's tough? You're fixing to get another Goddamned
lesson. And Goddamn if (UNK) they were in his platoon.
Every damn one of them.
ERP: No kidding.
CET: And I told them that lie, you know, and they had a great
deal of respect for Old Red.
ERP: Well I'll be darned.
CET: I told Robbie that story the next time I saw him and he
couldn't believe it. 3ut he was tough. This was in the
tough Marine days. He came out of the Marine Corps in
peace time, you know, in 1939. Took the chief's job in
Macclenny and came on the Highway Patrol in that 1940
class I was telling you about. That's when he came on
the Highway Patrol. He married Faye, Faye Ellen was his
secretary there at Bartow'when he married her. He wound
up in Panama City. Wish I could think of. There weren't
too many...Lieutenant Whitehead from the Georgia State
Patrol was our instructor in police courtesy. Attach a
police badge to any course you wanted to teach but make
sure the badge is there before you teach it. And he was
our public relations instructor. In 1940 there was an
awareness of our PR mission. Back in those days, to help
build the Patrol. See the Marine Patrol's only got about
250 officers statewide. Their trying to give 24 hour
service on the boats and on their land surface duties.
Just the wrong thing to try to do.
ERP: Yeah. Plus I believe they've got a narcotics unit. They
do a lot of narcotics.
CET: That's right. That's right.
ERP: They don't have enough people to cover it.
CET: They should withdraw, retrench and give service to the
law abiding citizens on the holidays and weekends and
boat courtesy and everything and build the outfit and
then give the 24 hour service. They got some, you know,
I'm amazed at the number of troopers that are over there
working. They lateral over there, you know, because
their tired. I facetiously refer to this job as beating
the hell of writing traffic tickets from the backed of a
motorcycle but it gets boring.
ERP: Yeah, it does.
CET: And where else can you go and, you know, have a pretty
good boat and all the gas you can use and the only
problem they tell me is every time they cast their
fishing rod, it's hooked up to their radio and (UNK) they
get a call on the radio. That's sort of a deterrent.
ERP: You know, I've always said I never have known of any
organization that in the state government that required
more out of their people than FHP requires out of the
troopers. Being radio responsive, being responsive
through subpoenas, to this to that, to re-educating
themselves, to being under control under all
circumstances or in control. And, you know, the other
state agencies do different type of enforcement that goes
on. Those officers aren't held to the same line that
ERP: As far as I know, it doesn't appear that way.
CET: I deplored the weakness in management that permitted the
union to get started in the Highway Patrol. I think
that's the first indication of bad management is when the
people start talking about a union. And it hasn't been
successful either way. I know it's created a lot of
management problems and I recall Captain Martin would
come back in to Bartow, his car full of uniforms. He'd
check somebody out, fire their asses and they were gone.
And what's the sheriff's name from Tampa who was a member
of the legislature? Representative.
CET: Blackburn was a trooper in DeLand and Captain Martin went
up there one day and got in an argument with him and
fired him. He went back to Tampa and was elected
sheriff. Did him a favor, really.
CET: But you've got to have discipline to have morale adnd if
you take it away from your basic supervisors, you
just..there's no way to build morale unless they've got
respect for that supervisor. He's got to have a certain
amount of authority. And I'd like to see just a complete
re-evaluation of the pay scale and I know they made an
effort but they still don't have the differences in the
pay ironed out like they should and move the lobbying
back to the troopers and you'd get the pay back up
again. You've got to divorce yourself from the Marine
Patrol and the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and
the campus police. And they latched onto a good thing
when they got the legislature to come under the same pay
scale as the Highway Patrol. But now it's stagnant.
It's just sitting there, what 46th or 48th in the damn
nation and it needs to be re-evaluated and let each earn
his own pay raises. What danger is there to being a
campus policeman? You going to get mugged by a homo
student or what? It's inequitable.
ERP: That's right. It's very inequitable. It really is. I'm
with you, I think that it needs re-addressing. It
doesn't seem like that they can get out of the quagmire
because of the union. Basically the union so strongly
wants to keep them all together. (TAPE ENDED)
CET: ...opportunity to make money moonlighting. How many of
them are making a fortune moonlighting? You know, if
they're working the daytime shift the last hour or so
they're not going to do anything that will make them late
for their moonlighting job. Economically, they shouldn't
be second-class citizens.
ERP: Yeah. That's very true. They should be brought up to a
pay scale where they can live.
CET: Absolutely. And the communications system is going to
take awhile to upgrade it, but they're going to get some
more troopers killed before they, you know, what is it on
Alligator Alley they get out..run out of contact with the
ERP: Well, more closing stories. More parting thoughts? We
may not be around for the next 50th anniversary so...
CET: I don't know.
ERP: ...we better get it all in now.
CET: Why not stick around awhile? There's no use being a
short timer and...
ERP: Well, if my back doesn't get any better I may not make
CET: Oh me.
ERP: I think we've pretty well covered the outline. You
cormmLented on-..you were talking about the changing
uniforms and you were talking about wearing that bell...
CET: Postal Telegraph.
ERP: Yeah, Postal Telegraph. Well, where did you go from
there? Like, when did ya'll get an official uniform?
CET: Well, that was official for that period of time or that
administration. That was Bill Reed from Lakeland was the
Director at that time and then when he left and (UNK)
Gillam came along, they went back into something more
conventional. The dark green with the orange piping,
which was not an unattractive..it wasn't as glaring as
the Postal Telegraph uniform, as the blue with the wide
stripes. But then they went into a green with orange
piping, which was subdued but attractive and then they
went from that to the Army officer pinks. We inherited
that out of World War II, I think. The Eisenhower jacket
and the khakis or pinks that were..they're now wearing.
I still think they could come up with some of the
synthetics. Today they would be more comfortable and
less expensive to launder. These are Hagers, which my
wife throws them in the damn washing machine. Why can't
they do the same thing with the Highway Patrol? They
need some serious study on the uniforms. They have to go
to the drycleaners. I think the polyesters and manmade
fab ics today are coolCr and more durable and look great.
ERP: Yeah, they do. You can..you can (UNK) in the
CET: That's right.
ERP: Shirts, too, if you get them right.
CET: Yeah. That was a fringe benefit, you know. I went from
$115 per month with the SRD to $125 with the FHP but I
got my working clothes..
CET: ..my transportation.
ERP: That meant a lot, really.
CET: '40 Ford with a bulletproof windiuhield.
ERP: It did have a bulletproof windshield?
CET: Yeah. An old thick thing.
ERP: Was that by design? That's the way the Patrol ordered
them with bulletproof windows?
CET: They ordered them with the bulletproof windshields. For
one reason, we weren't too far from the Al Capone era,
you know, and...
ERP: Yeah, that's right.
CET: Let's see, in Lake City I had Johnny Jurgen...who was my
district lieutenant in Lake City and J. W. Hagins in
Jacksonville and Clint Hancock in Palatka. And then Gib
Godwin came back out of the war. He stayed an extra five
years after the last of our troopers got back from World
War II and he shows up in Lake City. Let's see, Jurgen
moved into Tallahassee and Godwin took his place there.
Jurgen's son was wi-th the Marine Patrol, I mean he's the
one that's got a son with FDLE, isn't it?
ERP: I'm not sure.