DIVISION OF FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL
50TH ANNIVERSARY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
INTERVIEW WITH TROOPER BERNARD WASHINGTON
APRIL 4. 1989
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY TROOPER BENJAMIN FRANKLIN HOLLINGER, JR.
BH: The subject is the Florida Highway Patrol Oral Project. The
interviewer is Trooper Benjamin Franklin Hollinger, Jr. of
the Florida Highway Patrol. The place is the Florida
Highway Patrol station, 2515 West Flagler Street, Miami,
Florida. The time is 9:00 AM. The Highway Patrol will
observing its 50th anniversary in 1989. This interview will
establish your knowledge of and your input into the past
history of the Florida Highway Patrol. This is tape 1 of
this interview with Trooper Bernard Washington of the
Florida Highway Patrol. Trooper Washington, I would like
for you to give me your full name, spelling your first,
middle and last name, please.
BW: Trooper Bernard Washington. Bernard, B E R N A R D, last
name, WASH INTO N.
BH: Trooper Washington, do you recall the date that you started
with the Highway Patrol?
BH: Can you give me the date?
BW: It was around December of, December 25, 1983.
BH: Can you give me your date of birth?
BW: February 24th, 1954.
BH: And, can you tell me where you were born?
BW: I was born in Lake City, Florida.
BH: Tell me a little bit about your childhood and about Lake
BW: Well, I attended elementary school there in Lake City which
was Minnie J. Neblack. And I was more or less raised up on
the farm there. I attended high school in Lake City,
Columbia High School.
BH: Tell me a little bit about your mother and father.
BW: My mother, she is deceased.
down in Lake City, Florida.
My father, he's still living
BH: Was your mother living during the time you got accepted for
the Florida Highway Patrol?
BW: No, she wasn't.
BH: What kind of work does your father do?
BW: He's retired from Graham Jones Paper Company.
BH: And how many brothers and sisters do you have?
BW: I have two other brothers and two other sisters.
BH: Are any of your family members in law enforcement?
BH: Give me your sisters' and brothers' names.
BW: My oldest sister, Theresa Washington; my youngest sister,
Lilly Mae Washington; my younger brother, Willie Washington;
and my oldest brother, Ellis Washington. Which he's in
Texas, 20 years in the military.
BH: So, most of your childhood was right there in Lake City.
BW: Yes, it were.
BH: Prior to your graduation from high school did you hold any
jobs, while you were going to high school?
BH: Where did you work at, for, while you was in high school?
BW: It wasn't high school, mainly I worked my way through school
doing a little farm work in the afternoon. We lived on a
BH: What did youall raise on the farm?
BW: Tobacco, watermelons, peas, corn, cows.
BH: And after graduating from high school, what was your first
BW: First job I went, I joined the Florida National Guard. And
once I returned I done a little other farm work and then I
started working for the Department of Corrections.
BH: So the first job you had was when you joined the Florida
BH: And what year did you join the Florida National Guard, do
BW: It was January of '74, '73.
BH: And, you still in the National Guard at this time?
BW: Yes I am. I'm working on my 16th year.
BH: What rank do you carry in the Florida National Guard?
BH: Trooper Washington, are you married?
BW: Yes, I am.
BH: Can you give us your wife's full name?
BW: Yes, my wife's full name is Felicia Ann Washington.
BH: Where did you meet Felicia at?
BW: I met her in Lake City, Florida.
BH: Did youall go to the same high school or?
BW: Yes, we did.
BH: Did you know her during, while you was in high school?
BW: No, I didn't.
BH: How long after you graduated from high school did you meet
BW: It was right at eight years.
BH: So you met Felicia after you had been away to the National
Guard and came back.
. 1 I . .
BH: Do youall have any children?
BW: Not at this time, no.
BH: What type work do your wife do?
BW: She's a driver license specialist with the Division of
BH: Is that with the state of Florida?
BH: The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles?
BH: How long has she been with the department?
BW: Right at five years now.
BH: And she started off as a, as what with your department?
BW: She started off as a driver license examiner.
BH: And she worked her way up the ladder to the position she in
BW: Yes she did.
BH: Well she done did well with Drivers License then, didn't
BW: Yes, very well.
BH: She's like a supervisor, isn't she?
BH: Okay, okay. After you met your wife, Felicia, and how long
it was before then youall got married?
BW: Six to seven months, six to seven months we got married.
BH: And during that time you worked for the Department of
BH: When did you start with the Department of Corrections?
BW: I started back in '77.
BH: As a Corrections Officer I?
BH: And, and how long were you with the Department of
BW: I worked for the Department of Corrections up 'till '83 when
I applied for the Patrol. The last part of '83.
BH: Can you tell me some of the places you were stationed at
while you were with the Department of Corrections, your
first, what was your first duty station with the Department
BW: Back then it was a reception and medical center there in
Lake Butler. Then at Union Corrections there in Raiford,
Florida. Then I made Sergeant and transferred to Baker
Correctional at Macclenny, Florida.
BH: During that whole time did you and Felicia, by this time you
were married. Did Felicia go along, go with you when you
made those changes, moves or?
BW: At the time I wasn't married. At the time. Of course I
made Sergeant and before that Baker Correction and at that
time we was married.
BW: What did you start off. What kind of salary did you start
off with the Department of Corrections?
BW: At the time we was like $296 every two weeks.
BH: And then when you made Sergeant how much did your pay go up?
BW: Approximately $680 something every two weeks.
BH: So you and Felicia married and then you Sergeant in Baker
Correctional Center up in Macclenny.
BW: Yes, Baker Correctional Institution.
BH: And did that time did she move there to Baker or did she
stay in Lake City?
BW: Well both of us stayed in Lake City.
twenty mile drive.
BH: A twenty mile drive.
BW: Back and forth.
BH: And then after Baker you went to Macclenny.
last correctional facility you was at?
It was just a, a
That was the
BW: That was the last correctional facility I worked until I got
on the Patrol.
BH: What got you interested in the Florida Highway Patrol?
BW: Well up in north Florida area the Patrol up there was well
respected and always admired them whenever I seen them over
the road and when me cousin Al Loftin joined that. Once he
joined and actually he was stationed here in Miami, Florida,
after coming to visit him and he would take me on the road
occasionally and I really admired him and the Patrol
itself. That's pretty much what it's about. I joined the *
BH: Well you're talking about trooper Alfonso Loftin?
BH: Okay, after coming down here and riding with trooper Alfonso
Loftin you made a decision to join the Patrol, did you talk
to Felicia about joining the Highway Patrol?
BW: Yes, I did.
BH: And what did she say?
BW: She more or less advised me whatever I decided to do she
would stand by me.
BH: Did youall talk about the danger that you might have to be
transferred to Miami and all that? That if you made it
through the selection process when you joined the Patrol?
BH: All right, so now you decided to join the Highway Patrol and
where did you apply for to get a application to join the
Highway Patrol at?
BW: There in Lake City, Florida. i
BH: At this time when you got in the selection process, were
they still having everything done in Tallahassee or was they
doing it in the troop like they do at the present time where
the applicant just goes to the troop and pick up the
application, or did you have to write to Tallahassee to get
BW: At the time I picked it up from the troop.
BH: Okay, did they have a recruiter up there in Lake City?
BW: Yes, Trooper Buddy Hoe.
BH: So the Highway Patrol had changed from the time when Al
Loftin came on where they had to go all the way to
Tallahassee for everything. So you were able to talk to the
recruiter right there in Lake City and he gave you all the
information about the Highway Patrol that you needed.
BW: Yes I did.
BH: Who was the background investigator for the Highway Patrol
there in Lake City? Who did your background?
BW: Background investigator for the troop there, Trooper Roy
BH: And how long did it take you to go through the selection
BW: It was approximately four to six months.
BH: Did you take a polygraph examination?
BW: Yes I did.
BH: Do you recall the polygraph examiner? Did you go to
Tallahassee for the polygraph or you took it there in Lake
BW: It was given there in Lake City by I think it was a Sergeant
Duncan at the time.
BH: So after the background was completed did you have to go to
Tallahassee for anything in the selection process?
Everything was done right there in Lake City?
BW: Everything except the oral boards which was done at Tampa,
BH: So you had to go down down to Tampa for the oral boards?
BH: After you made it through the selection process and all
that, what happened then? After, did you get hired or what,
BW: Yep. Once I got through the selection program I more or
less started as a trainee.
BH: You started as a trainee. All right when you started as a
trainee did you get a chance to ride or do anything, or you
just went there at the station or?
BW: I got a chance to ride on the road with the troopers.
BH: What trooper, do you recall the trooper that you did most of
your training program with in Lake City?
BW: Yes, Trooper Ken Robbins. I rode with him quite a bit. And
BH: Was these black troopers, white troopers?
BW: They was white troopers.
BH: How many, during the time when you came on the Patrol how
many minority troopers they had on at, in Lake City? Or did
they have any?
BW: During the time there was no minority troopers in Columbia
County, Lake City.
BH: No females or nothing ?
BW: No females.
BH: When you came on the Patrol in 1983, who was the Director of
the Highway Patrol at that time?
BW: Colonel Burkett.
BH: You call him Director Bobby R. Burkett?
BH: All right, you're on the Patrol, and you a trainee and you
riding, did you have any problems since you was the first
minority to be in Columbia County over there? How did the
troop receive you? Did you have any problems with your
troop commander, with the district Lieutenant, with any of
the Sergeants or the troopers that was assigned to Lake
City, Columbus County. How did, tell me a little bit about
BW: Well, it was myself and another female that was working
there as trainees and so she was on one shift and I was on
another shift but me personally I never experienced no
problems. The troopers that I came in contact with after
introducing myself to each other they talked to me about the
Patrol and about how much they enjoyed it and I never
experienced no, no kind of a problem there. The Major,
Major Eglin, he was real kind to us.
BH: So, during your training period you had a good time there in
Lake City. Everybody was professional and did you from the
impression, was your impression of the Highway Patrol
changed.any from what your impression was before coming on?
Like, I know you rode with Trooper, Trooper Al Loftin and I
know he was very professional, but from being in Lake City
did you see any difference or everybody was professional
just like he was in Miami?
BW: Yes, the troopers that I came in contact with -there in Lake
City, ones that I rode with, they were very much
professional and dedicated.
BH: -So, after, how long was you a trainee in Lake City before
going to the Academy class?
BW: It was approximately two-and-a-half months.
BH: What kind of a salary did you start off with as a trainee,
do you recall?
BW: It was approximately $13,800 or $13,900 a year.
BH: So you, now you on the Florida Highway Patrol as a trainee,
you're a Sergeant in the Florida National Guard and did the
Patrol, did you have any problems with your training with
the National Guard after joining the Highway Patrol as a
trainee or did they work with you where you could go to your /
meetings on the weekend and did youall have meeting what
every two weeks or once a month?
BW: We had weekend, we had meetings, drill they called it, one
weekend a month and two weeks out of the year. And since
I've been with the Patrol, I've been able to work my
schedule to make the meetings and there's no problems with
the Patrol itself.
BH: And participate in the Florida National Guard without any
BH: So the Patrol that worked with you toward that end.
BW: Yes they have.
BH: Okay. So now you've been there in Lake City for two months,
you ready to go to the Academy. So how was the first dayat
the Florida Highway Patrol Academy?
BW: The first day was.
BH: I know youall had to get there on Sunday evening so I know
you had a great experience that first day. A lot of new
faces and everybody scared. Tell a little bit about it.
BW: Yes the first day we reported I think to Trooper Karasek,
Sergeant Karasek. He was there waiting for us and everybody
was kinda' little nervous, little scared. Trying to get
organized, trying to get assigned to your different rooms
and what not. And it wasn't too bad of an experience with
me due to the fact of my military background. I had went
through basic training which was about like the Academy.
BH: All right. Now what happened to Felicia while you, after
you left to go to the Academy. What'd she do? Did she stay
in Lake City? Did youall have a home in Lake City?
BW: Yes, we had a home in Lake City and she continued to work.
She was clerk with the Clerk of Court there in Lake City.
BH: Did youall own youall's house or was you renting?
BW: We owned it.
BH: Do you still have a house there in Lake City?
BW: No we don't.
BH: Oh, youall sold it?
BH: So now that you're in the Academy and do you recall how many
applicants was showed the first day for the Academy, that
Sunday. Do you recall the number that they told you?
BW: Yes it was right at 60, approximately,
BH: So how many was there the next morning when youall got up
for the first PT class, physical training?
BW: There was still 60. Everybody was still there.
BH: How many left the first week do you recall?
BW: Well I recall no one left the first week.
BH: Everybody hung in there.
BW: Yes, everybody hung in there.
BH: And this training was taking place in Tallahassee at the
Florida Highway Patrol Academy?
BW: Yes it was.
BH: Do you recall the makeup of your class? Do recall how many
black males or black females or white females? How many was
in your class, minorities?
BW: No, not exactly but it was pretty much an even number of
BH: What kind of attitude. Did youall have people that had
different type attitudes or how was youall treated the
staff. I know the Director came out that first day and the
staff and spoke to youall. How did you see Director Burkett
kept when they talked to youall that first day?
BW: Well everybody and me myself I was very impressed when they
come out and talked and said a speech, and spoke to the, the
BH: Did Governor Graham come out too. Did you get a chance to
speak to Governor Graham at the Academy class during
youall's training anytime. Come out and have lunch with
BW: We seen him but it wasn't that, that. He was more or less
toward the end on the graduation we seen him.
BH: I know that in 1982 the Highway Patrol went to a, a, a
change and well did youall hear anything about that change
during youall's, while youall was in the Academy? I know
that Colonel Beach was retired and then Director Burkett
took over in the latter part of '82, the first part of '83.
So did youall, you were a trainee during that time. What
did you hear out in the field during that time?
BW: Well when that, well let's see when I was a trainee there
Colonel Burkett were, he had took over as the Director and
me and Kirkland didn't hear, I didn't hear too much.
BH: But you know that a lot of changes were going on because I
think the Highway Patrol got very into DUI and certain
things had to be done and activities, there's a lot of
people had to get up and go to work. Did you hear anything
about that while you was in Lake City. Training officers
that you were riding with during that time?
BW: Yes, yes, they were talking about some of the changes had
been made and they was under a new Director and things had
BH: So how long was your Academy class?
BW: Around 13 or 14 weeks.
BH: Around 14 weeks. How did, how did you feel about the
training? Did you feel the training was adequate? Did you
feel it could have been improved, or how did, how was the
feeling of the rest of the applicants in your class?
BW: Let me personally that that the training was good and
adequate. Most of the recruits there, they felt the same
BH: So did youall get a chance to go home very weekend or did
youall, was youall still on the six-week rule like the
previous Academy class where you could only go home six
weeks without a limitation of how close you go out of
Tallahassee in the training period or youall didn't have no
BW: No I think my class went out previous when they started to
let, well they could go home on the weekends.
BH: Did youall have boxing as part of your physical training?
BW: No that had just went out.
BH: Youall didn't get a chance to participate in the boxing
BW: No we didn't.
BH: So now, how many people left in the class? It's about the
third or fourth week of the Academy class and everything
moving right along and you're doing good, your wife is a,
and you've been home to see her and she done came up to see
you so how many people left in the Academy class about the.
When youall started losing applicants out of the Academy,
BW: It was more or less during the eighth or ninth week when
they began to drop out.
BH: What about the female that was a trainee over there in Lake
City? What happened to her, did she make it or is she still
on the Patrol or what happened?
BW: Yeah, she made it and she went to New Port Richey.
BH: What is her name by the way?
BW: Her name is Lavada Curry.
BH: Lavada Curry. Did you know her in Lake City. Was she a
Lake City young lady or born and raised there or she came
from somewhere else?
BW: She was, she was born and raised there in Lake City and more
or less a distant cousin.
BH: Is she on the Patrol right now?
BW: Yes, last I heard she is now stationed over in Tampa.
BH: So, she is doing well. Do you ever talk to her or?
BW: No, I hadn't seen her since we left the Academy.
BH: So now that, at just about end of the Academy everything is
going good and what kind of equipment did you receive while
you was proud to graduate from the Academy? What did they
BW: They issued me a weapon, my uniform, badge.
BH: You say they issued you a weapon.
BW: Yeah, they issued me weapons.
BH: What kind of weapon did they issue?
BW: At the time there was a Smith and Wesson 357.
BH: Was it a model 19 or model 27 or what? Do you recall?
BW: I think it was a 27.
BH: While you was
in the Academy did you qualify on the range
BH: You enjoyed that on the range?
BW: Yes I really enjoyed the range, skid pad, the physical part
of it itself. Academic part.
BH: So youall graduate. How many people graduated in your
class? Out of the 60?
BW: It was right at, I think it was 56 that graduated.
BH: So youall lost about four?
BH: So when did you find out you were coming to Miami. What
week of the Academy class they told you you were coming to
Miami? Or you knew when you first got there. What did it
on your letter who they told you they hired you to report to
the Academy class. What did your letter tell you, tell you
you were goin'? Your temporary assignment was?
BW: My temporary assignment was, I think it was at Macclenny,
Florida during the time I was a, as a trainee there in Lake
City. When I received my orders and stuff to report to the
Academy it was Miami, Dade County.
BH: So you found out you was going to Miami, you talked to your
wife about it, what did she say?
BW: Well she at first she said she had to kind of think about
it, but that same day she come back and said that regardless
of where I go, she, she right there for me.
BH: So when you finished the Academy class and you ready to go
to Miami. How many, did youall get in any off time before
reporting to your first duty station? Or did you have to
report right away?
BW: I think that at the time it was a couple weeks.
BH: When you went to the Academy was it during the wintertime or
BW: It was winter. It must have been the winter. It was a
little cool at the time.
BH: Did youall have a lot of people to be out with colds and
sickness or anything like that?
BW: No, we didn't have too many. One or two.
BH: So youall, you and your wife come to Miami and you ready to
begin your career with the Highway Patrol. What district
were you assigned to when you first reported to Miami?
BW: District four.
BH: District four. And at the time who was the commander of
district four? Who was the troop commander for Miami when
BW: Major Gracey. He was the commander.
BH: Major Paul E. Gracey, your present commander of Troop E?
BH: Okay, and who was your district Captain?
BW: My district Captain was Captain Harvey Sholtz.
BH: And your district Lieutenant?
BW: Was Lieutenant Kent Taylor.
BH: In 1983 when you first came out to the Academy I think don't
get the wrong, we hadn't gone to the district concept. I
think we just had one and two. And you were assigned to
district two wasn't you. I believe. And that would have
BH: I think that was under Lieutenant Woods, wasn't it?
BW: Okay, ah.
BH: And you were assigned to district 2 but the Lieutenant at
that time was Lieutenant Manning D. Taylor.
BW: Yes it was.
BH: And the present Lieutenant now is Lieutenant.
BW: Kermit Taylor.
BH: Kermit Taylor. My, Troop E done changed a lot since you
been on the Highway Patrol hasn't it?
BW: Yes, pretty much.
BH: I think when you first came on they didn't have full
Sergeants. Full Sergeants in the whole troop?
BW: Yes, before.
BH: And now what they got 20, 24, 26 Sergeants?
BW: 24 I believe.
BH: 24 Sergeants.
BW: Troop E has grown.
BH: Do you remember when you first reported to the troop, how
many troopers was in Troop E? If I'm not mistaken I think
it was about 125, 150, wasn't it? Near about, 1983?
BW: It was at the time I believe it was around 120, 130,
somewhere in there.
BH: And now Troop E is what, 250 troopers in all.
BW: About 250 strong, yeah.
BH: Just in Dade County.
BH: And not counting the Keys. So Troop E has grown a lot. So
how do you, how would you describe some of the people that
you have been involved with since you've been here in Troop
E. Let's start with your present district. Let's start
with the Troop E commander and just go down the ladder all
the way down to the Sergeant who is your immediate
supervisor and tell me a little bit about them. I know,
tell me a little bit about the troop commander of Troop E,
Paul E. Gracey.
BW: Well, I think that Major Gracey he's, he really impresses
me. He, I feel like he's a good troop commander and the
Captain I have now, Captain Wippel, he impresses me. He's a
good Captain. My Lieutenant, Lieutenant Taylor, he, he is a
good Lieutenant. Also my Sergeant, Joe Smith, probably
daily. They really impresses me they, to me they are very,
they are very professional and they seem to really know
their jobs. They are concerned about the troopers over
there, the job itself. And I have, I have really enjoyed
working for these people. And never really had no problems
with none of them.
BH: Okay, Trooper Washington, when we were talking about your
education I think we talked about high school. Did you get
a chance to attend college, any college while you was before
coming on the Patrol?
BW: Yes, I took some classes at Lake City Community College in
Lake City, Florida.
BH: And did you go one year or two years or how many years did
BW: Right at, it was a year.
BH: A year. And also when you working for the Department of
Corrections you had to be certified as a correction officer
and you went to an Academy for that too, didn't you?
BW: Yes, Department of Corrections, CTI they called it,
Correctional Training Institute.
BH: Well what is, where was that institute located at?
BW: That was located there in Raiford, Florida.
BH: How long was the training there at that institute?
BW: It was right at four weeks.
BH: So you passed that with no problems and became a corrections
BH: So now that you're in Troop E and talked about your
supervisors and all, when you reported to Troop E what kind
of equipment did you receive as far as a patrol car?
BW: Well, when I first reported I was in my patrol car.
BH: Did you get a brand new car or?
BW: No, I received a '83 Dodge.
BH: '83 Dodge. And what else, what other equipment did you
receive when you came to Troop E?
BW: A shotgun, first aid kit.
BH: Did you have a handheld when you first came on the Highway
BW: When I first came on, no I didn't.
BH: What about a bullet-proof vest?
BH: Did you get it in the Academy or after you got to the troop?
BW: If I ain't mistaken it was after I got to the troop.
BH: All right, when you first came on the Highway Patrol can you
be, what type of emergency equipment did your car have?
What did, what kind of blue light did you have on your
patrol car, the ones in Lake City have a trainee and the one
on your '83 Dodge when you got here in Troop E?
BW: Well at the time they, we had the old, old bubble they
called it and when I reported here to Troop E, on the Dodge
that I had it was one of the old bubbles.
BH: And then Director Burkett changed it around and got that
jetsonic bar light.
BW: Yes, yes at this time time on my '87 Mustang I have a
jetsonic bar light.
BH: How many new cars you done had since you been on the Highway
BW: Just one.
BH: And that's the '87 Ford Mustang you got now?
BH: How you like that Mustang?
BW: I like it. It's a good pursuit car. It handles good.
BH: Do you think that was a wise choice for the Director to give
the trooper options to pick a Crown Vic and a Mustang,
whichever one they want?
BW: Yes I think that was a.
BH: Do you know any other highway patrols that let the trooper
pick what type of vehicle he wants to drive on duty?
BW: No, Florida Patrol the only one.
don't have that choice.
Even the other agencies
BH: So you think that Director Burkett has as the Director of
the Highway Patrol has brought the Highway Patrol a long
ways as far as equipment wise and as far as bringing the
Highway Patrol policies and procedures up to par where
compatible to the other agencies and the time.
BW: Yes, I do. I feel like he has really done an excellent job
BH: How would you, if, if you had to describe Director Burkett,
how would you describe him?
BW: Well, me personally, I feel like he's a fair man. He's
doing, has done quite a bit for the Patrol since he's been
in there, and every time I see him I get a chance to meet
with him I shake his hand and talk a little talk and he's
just really seems to be a fair man to me.,
BH: Back to your patrolling on the Patrol. Have you had any
patrol car accidents since you've been on the Highway
BW: No, I haven't.
BH: Have you had any kind of problems with anyone since you've
been on the Highway Patrol?
BW: No, I haven't.
BH: As a minority on the Florida Highway Patrol do you feel that
the individual the supervisors that you have been involved
with who have supervised you over the years, have they been
fair and treated you equally as a person. Do you have any
BW: The supervisors I have worked under since I've been on the
Patrol I have had no problems with them. They have treated
me fairly and I have no complaints with them.
BH: So, in other words, I can faithfully say that the Highway
Patrol has been good to you. You feel it's been good to
you, department and all.
BW: Yes, the department itself has really been good to me.
BH: And I understand also that we talked earlier, your wife
works for the department too, the Department of Highway
Safety and Motor Vehicles. And she's stationed here in
Miami too as a officer.
BW: Yes, she's stationed here in Miami.
BH: Since you've been on the Patrol, there've been a lot of
changes. I know right now we going through a lot of changes
as far as activity wise and do you feel that, do you know
any way that you know of that would improve the moral of the
troopers to helping them do their job better to want to go
out and write more activities. Do you know any solutions to
help motivate or get the trooper more interested and to
doing a better job?
BW: Do you mind repeating that?
BH: Do you know of any way that solutions that you can help
motivate trooper to want to go out and do a better job or be
more professional and write activity and patrol their
zones. Something to help motivate them. Do you, or you
think it's left up to the individual to motivate themself to
want to go out and do a good job?
BW: Yes, I feel like it's up to the individual himself to want
to go out there and do a good job and but other than that I
feel like with the good model type equipment we have, the
Mustangs the ones that want the Mustangs or the Crowns.
The, the new type weapons, the automatics, the Python and
what not. Right there I feel that pretty much it helps a
trooper to be motivated and the ones I've been affiliated
with seem to be out doing good jobs, writing good activity.
BH: Okay, as a minority whose duty with the Florida Highway
Patrol, have there have been any problems as far as dealing
with the public or fellow workers or with the black
community. I think you live in a black community, told it
was a black community. It pretty well more community
there. Have you had any problems with anyone since you've
been here in Miami?
BW: No, I can't say that I have. I seem to have been able to
get along with everybody whether it's fellow workers or
neighbors or with the public, I haven't really had no
BH: What about when you were in Lake City as a trainee. I know
you being the first, you and that female, Trooper Curry,
being the first minority, did youall have any problems
dealing with the, by being the first minority there, with
the public? We talked about coworkers, did you have any
problem with the public there? Did you get a chance to
write any citations to anybody while you was a trainee?
BW: No I didn't. I more or less observed more or less. But I
didn't have no problems there you know with the public.
BH: What do you feel with your knowledge of the Patrol, is the
greatest of compliments during your time with the Patrol? I
know I think you done represented the Patrol, the Patrol on
several occasions at different functions.
BW: Yes, I remember the public guard, field FTO, field training
officer, and there was several functions that I have
attended on behalf of the Patrol.
BH: How do you feel about the field training officer program?
BW: I` think it's a good program and the FTO school that I
attended seemed like it was a good school, a good program.
I really enjoy being a training officer there at camp.
BH: When you came out of the Academy, I think we probably
skipped over it, and reported to Troop E, you had training
before being turned loose on your own as a trooper, how long
was your training period?
BW: It was two months.
BH: And do you recall the training officer at that time?
BW: Yes it was Trooper R.E. Addison.
BH: Tou talking about Trooper Raymond E. Addison?
BH: And, how did you, how would you mark him as a training
officer. What kind of mark would you give him?
BW: I'd give him a high mark. He was a good FTO. He was hard
but he was fair and he really knowed his job. And.
BH: Do you think that, that, that training program with him
helped you got started on the right foot as far as meeting
the department, the goals at that time. I know you had
goals back then in 1983 that we had to meet and that the
Director had to meet. Do you think that he helped you meet
those goals that. And this is tape two with my interview
with Trooper Bernard Washington concerning the Florida
Highway Patrol 50th Anniversary Oral Project. Okay, Trooper
Washington, I think we left off at your compliment with the
Florida Highway Patrol. You indicated that you were part of
the color guard and you been representing the Florida
Highway Patrol at other functions. Besides from salaries,
if you was given a chance, what improvements do you think
you could make for the division for the future. Do you know
any improvements that you right off hand that you could make
yourself if you had any power and the chance to do so?:
BW: Yes, I would, I would more or less hire more troopers or put
more troopers on the road. And I'd encourage the troopers
to participate in the promotional exam.
BH: I, I want to ask you a question, how would you score
Director Burkett and his staff on running the Highway
Patrol? Would you say that they done an excellent job with
managing the Highway Patrol with the amount and the limited
amount of resources that they have to work with?
BW: Yes, with the limited amount of resources they have to work
with I personally feel that Director Burkett and his staff
are doing an excellent job. And expect it would work if I
had the power I would more or less give him the power
himself to do more for the Patrol. Which he, -I know he
would like to but his power is just limited.
BH: Do you feel the Highway Patrol role in the state of Florida
for as a law enforcement agency should be expanded to other
areas such as drugs, drug enforcement, other criminal
activities that taking place, place in the state of
Florida? Do you feel that the role of a state trooper
should be expanded or do you feel that basically the traffic
accident, auto theft should be the basic principle for the
BW: Me personally feel like the traffic and the auto theft
should be the basis.
BH: Do you have anything else you would like to add at this time
at the conclusion of this interview?
BW: Well, I'd like to thank you Ben Hollinger for doing a fine
job on this interview. You was one of the troopers that
when I met here in Dade County that really impressed me on
the wearing of the uniform and job knowledge and I would
like to say that the Director himself, Colonel Burkett, that
again doing an excellent job and I feel like he's really
changing and accomplishing making more changes with the
Highway Patrol for the better of the Patrol.
BH: Trooper Washington, I want to thank you on behalf of Mr.
Garris who's over the 50 Anniversary Oral Project and on
behalf of the Director and his staff who participated in
this program and we want to thank you for, for your
representation and information that you have related to us
in this interview. Thank you Trooper Washington. This is
the conclusion of this interview. The time now is 9:15 and
today's date is April 4, 1989.