Title: Pembrook Burrows, III
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007791/00001
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Title: Pembrook Burrows, III
Series Title: Pembrook Burrows, III
Physical Description: Book
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Bibliographic ID: UF00007791
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Interview with Sergeant Pembrook Burrows III

Interview by Trooper Benjamin F. Hollinger, Jr.

Date Interviewed March 28, 1989

L !1 .

BH: ...and the time is 12:40 p.m. I have present with me

Sergeant Pembrook Burrows of the Florida Highway Patrol. I

am Benjamin Franklin Hollinger, Jr. of the Florida Highway

Patrol. I am interviewing Sgt. Burrows for the Florida

Highway Patrol oral history project program. The interview

is taking place at 710 Executive Drive, Executive Center,

Apartment 4-34, in West Palm Beach, Florida. Sgt. Burrows

as you know the Florida Highway Patrol will observe its 50th

anniversary in 1989. This interview will establish your

knowledge of and your input into the past history of the

Patrol. For the record I would like for you to give me your

full name and if you would spell each name.

PB: My name is Pembrook Burrows, III. First name is

P-e-m-b-r-o-o-k B-u-r-r-o-w-s.

BH: Okay Sgt Burrows what date did you start with the Florida

Highway Patrol?

PB: May 15th, 1972.

BH: Where were you born?

PB: West Palm Beach, Florida.

BH: Can you give me the date you were born?

PB: September 17th, 1948.

BH: And prior to coming on ....becoming a trooper, can you tell

me where you were living prior to that time?

PB: I was attending Jacksonville University, Jacksonville,


BH: Let's go back to your earlier days, where.....you indicated

before you were born...did you attend elementary school

in... (unk)

PB: Palmview Elementary School. It is also in West Palm Beach.

BH: Did you attend high school in West Palm Beach also?

PB: Yes, Roosevelt High School.

BH: Upon finishing high school, what did you do then?

PB: Upon finishing high school I worked one year as a car jockey

after my first year out I obtained a two year scholarship to

attend Brevard Junior College which is in Cocoa, Florida,

and from there to Jacksonville University on another two

year scholarship.

BH: Where you involved in any sports activity while you were

attending high school?

t 0

PB: Yes, basketball.

BH: And after attending high school you then worked a year

before attending college?

PB: That's correct.

BH: Did you play any kind of basketball while you were at the

junior college?

PB: Yes, I played all four years of college basketball.

BH: Did you get a scholarship to Cocoa? The junior college up


PB: Yes, both Cocoa Junior College, I'm sorry Brevard Junior

College and Jacksonville University.

BH: Did you receive a degree from college?

PB: Yes, I have an AA degree from Brevard Junior College.

BH: Let's go back a little bit, what about your parents? Your

mother and your father, are they still living?

PB: Both are still living and are here in West Palm Beach.

BH: What did you receive your degree in upon completion of


PB: Just general education.

BH: Did you ever serve in the military?

PB: No I did not.

BH: So the only civilian jobs you have had while you ... since

high school was just being a car jockey.

PB: I've had summer jobs working in junior college with (unk)

transfer which is a moving and storage company here in West

Palm. I also worked for Wagner Security Agency in Cocoa at

Cape Kennedy for a summer and once I left Cocoa and went to

Jacksonville I worked again in the summertime for the same

guard corporation for the summer.

BH: After completing college and receiving your degree did you

do any kind of teaching in the public school system?

PB: No more than as an intern and upon completing four years in

Jacksonville I then started to work for the Jacksonville

Sheriff's Office in a new program that was called "police

youth affairs" and that program was primarily dealing with

troubled youth as a part of the school system.


BH: What reason or two or three reasons why got you interested

in being a Highway Patrolman?

PB: Probably as a youth....... troopers were looked at that time

as being the best law enforcement agency they represented

the state it showed when they stopped you that they were

being courteous; however, they were still doing enforcement

duties and that impressed me.

BH: Okay, when you applied for the Highway Patrol were you still

working for the police department in Jacksonville?

PB: No I was not......well yes I was....it was in the summertime

and at that time I was being drafted by Seattle and NBA and

(unk) to play pro basketball.

BH: What happened to that draft in basketball?

PB: I went to Seattle for about three or four months at that

time I was 13th man on Seattle's roster and they carry 12.

Miami Floridians had an opening for me and I wanted to go to

Miami to play with Floridians because it would have put me

much closer to home as opposed to being out in Seattle;

however, Seattle still had contract rights to me and it

never did materialize.

BH: Where was the Floridian team located at?

PB: In Miami.

BH: And so you gave up the aspect of going to pro basketball at

that time?

PB: I did.

BH: Where did you first initially pick up your application for

the Florida Highway Patrol?

PB: In Jacksonville, Florida, at the Jacksonville Highway Patrol


BH: At that time were you recruited by a recruiter or did you

just go in on your own seeking information about the Highway


PB: I went on my own seeking information.

BH: How did the people that you contacted there receive you as

an applicant for the Florida Highway Patrol?

PB: I talked with Lt. Smallwood who was in charge of the

station. He was the one who gave me the application and

told me about the Patrol and what to expect if I was

accepted on the Patrol.

BH: Can you tell me what year was that when you first picked up

your first initial application for the Florida Highway


PB: Sometime early 1972.

BH: At that time were there many blacks or minorities on the

Florida Highway Patrol that you knew of?

PB: No there were not. They were two prior to me, in fact I

remember reading about Alphonzo Lofton being the first black

trooper while I was in college at Jacksonville.

BH: During the time that you applied for the Highway Patrol and

talked to Lt. Smallwood, did you contact Al Lofton to talk

about the Patrol to see what kind of benefits or...?

PB: No I didn't...I had only seen the write up in the paper that

he had been hired. I didn't know where he was stationed and

I had never met him at that time so all my basic information

was being obtained from Lt. Smallwood.

BH: After receiving the application from Lt. Smallwood and

filling it out, where did you send your application at that


PB: I returned it to Lt. Smallwood who in turn checked the

application and forwarded it on to Tallahassee.

BH: How long was it then before you heard from Tallahassee

concerning your application for employment?

PB: Approximately a month.

BH: During the.....did they conduct your background in

Jacksonville or was your background conducted in Palm Beach?

PB: Partially in Jacksonville for the two year period there and

I am sure it was forwarded through Brevard where I attended

junior college and then forwarded it back to West Palm, my

home town.

BH: Did you meet the investigator, the corporal I think at that

time was doing backgrounds, did you meet the corporal that

did the background check on you?

PB: No I didn't. Lt. Smallwood was my main contact and I dealt

basically with him.

BH: When you were dealing with Lt. Smallwood concerning the

Highway Patrol, did you think he gave you a total picture of

the Highway Patrol both positive and negative? Was he

encouraging? Or did you feel like he was maybe not giving

you the full information of....?

PB: I felt Lt. Smallwood was being open with me and giving me

all the insight he had. There was very little negative that

he told me about. Everything he gave me was positive and

encouraged me to follow it through.

BH: After having your application sent to Tallahassee, what was i

the first step you went through as far as the selection

process to get ready for the Florida Highway Patrol? Do you


PB: Yes I went...... I received notice in the mail to notify

Tallahassee if I could come to Tallahassee on a certain date

and time to be tested.

BH: Was the Highway Patrol giving entrance exams at that time?

PB: Yes they gave everything in two days in Tallahassee at the

Training Academy everything from the entrance exam, the eye

test, the physical, all of the test was done in two days

including the oral interview.

BH: How did you do through the testing in Tallahassee? Did you

receive favorable consideration from the staff there?

PB: I think I did and I think too they were basically pulling

for me to make it is the impression I got.

BH: After going through that part of selection process, what

happened after that?

PB: I returned back to Jacksonville and was turned down.

BH: What was the reason you were rejected for employment?

PB: One reason I was rejected was they said I had one bad tooth

and it was a medical problem that could be corrected and the

other one was because of my eyesight.

BH: How did you overcome to rejection that had noted to you?

PB: On the tooth being drawn it was just a matter of going to

the dentist and having two tooth drawn because they said the

teeth being bad would cause me to miss work; therefore, I

had the tooth extracted by a dentist. On the eye

examination the problem which was told to me by the

optometrist in Tallahassee at the time was we were in the

classroom for several hours taking the test with my name

starting, my last name starting with a "B" I was the first

one that went into the room to have my eyes tested. The

optometrist said you were going....because I went from

several hours of reading print into a dark room to be tested

he thought that may have had some type of bearing on my eye

test. It was his recommendation that once I got back to

Jacksonville to have my eyes rechecked which I did.

BH: And after having your eyes rechecked back in Jacksonville,

what happened then?

PB: I submitted the letter from the second eye specialist and

Tallahassee again rejected it.

BH: How did you overcome that rejection?

PB: Went back to the same optometrist a second time and had him

recheck my eyes a second time and this time requested he

give me a letter indicating his findings as well as his

license number, office number, and. home phone number so

Tallahassee could call and verify they he had checked my


BH: And what happened after you submitted all that information

to Tallahassee?

PB: It was accepted.

BH: After the .....after being rejected by your eyes a second

time how did you overcome?

PB: I went back and had my eyes re-examined a second time and

submitted the letter back to Lt. Smallwood and at that time

it was accepted.

BH: After being accepted for the Highway Patrol Training Academy

how long was it before you got an opportunity to attend the


PB: It was approximately 2 or 3 months. I was hired and put on

the job training prior to reporting to the Training Academy.

BH: Where were you stationed for this on the job training?

PB: I was stationed in Pensacola, Florida, Escambia County.

BH: Were you considered part of the Highway Patrol trainee

program at that time? Did they call it that? Did you wear

a uniform and what was the role prior to going to the

Academy? How did that take place?

PB: You were assigned..they were role duties as a trooper prior

to being released on your own the same as it is now with the

exception of it is not considered a trainee program. You

are assigned to someone who is responsible to train you to

familiarize you with the area to show you what reports go on

what form and how to investigate an accident and how to

determine who is at fault for an accident and what occurred

that caused the accident. After being trained for a month I

was released on my own.

BH: So what you are telling me is that you were hired as a

Florida Highway Patrol patrolman and you were assigned to

the Pensacola, which is Troop A, and you were given a

uniform with patrol car and gun and assigned to a trooper to

familiarize you with the area?

PB: That is correct. During that time that was allowable by law

because of the time period involved in getting someone to

probably stay enthused about the job and because the

Training Academy was so far off that they were allowed at

that time to hire people with the understanding that they

had to attend school within a 12 month period of being


BH: Alright, after .... how long was the training period you

said before was one month?

PB: Approximately one month to a month and a half.

BH: Who was your training officer when you first came on?

PB: Trooper Charlie Johnson.

BH: What type individual was he?

I & ; .

PB: Very good individual in my opinion. He was real fair with

the people. I think he was more than fair with me. He had

a lot of patience. Impressed upon me that the most

important thing I assumed was being fair and courteous to

the public and at that time he was in charge of the Highway

Patrol Auxiliary so he was used to working with men and he

also taught at the junior college, the breathalyzer course,

so in my opinion he was a very good instructor and made a

very good impression upon me.

BH: So you can safely say that Trooper Charlie Johnson

exemplified all the things that you thought about the

Florida Highway Patrol?

PB: That is correct.

BH: Okay, after getting on your own being a first black trooper

in Pensacola area and being the first black trooper in Troop

A, let's go with the aspect of the employees, how did the

people that..... the civilian personnel and the ....your

coworkers who was actually troopers, receive you as a

trooper there in Troop A?

PB: I think I was received rather well. I think also that I had

Lt. C.C. Wiggins who was the District Commander of the

Pensacola station to thank. I had heard that prior to my

arrival that they had made mention that a black trooper was

coming to Pensacola and again heresay his impression was

that he would treat a black trooper as a trooper as any

other trooper and there would be no segregation or

discrimination there.

BH: How did it go with the general public as a trooper?

PB: Of course I think most of the blackS in Pensacola were happy

to see me and I think that it made an impression with the

kids in that area to see that Florida was hiring minorities

as troopers. I have had very little problems although there

have been some problems because I was black and a trooper in

northwest Florida especially in those areas because

Pensacola is on the Alabama line and there were some people

who I could tell didn't necessarily like it and I am

assuming that it was because I was black although sometimes

whatever happened to me may have happened to a white

trooper. I have stopped people who never say a word to me.

I walked up and greeted them and explained the violation

told them what action I was going to take and how to take

care of the citation and them never said a word other than

sign the citation and driving off.

BH: Can you think of any one incident that really stands out in

your mind that occurred to you while you were in Pensacola

as a trooper when you first came on prior to the Academy?

PB: In regard to experience or ....?

BH: Or maybe saying an encounter with a civilian that really was

obnoxious to the point of unreasonably?

PB: Yesi but I had a very elderly female who at an equipment

check was stopped for no driver license. I issued the

citation and apparently she was not aware that I could issue

her a citation. She was under the assumption that black

officers could not issue citations to whites nor could black

officers arrest whites and apparently because

the........carry over I guess from Charlie Johnson of being

patient I explained to her on several occasions that if she

did not sign the summons I would have to arrest her and take

her to jail and there was also an elderly white gentlemen

there that helped me by explaining to the lady that all she

had to do was sign the citation, appear in court, and show

her driver license and handle it in that matter as opposed

to me taking her to jail.

BH: I believe you said before that you patrolled the highways of

Troop A in Pensacola for about 3 months before going to the


PB: Yes.

BH: Do you recall the Academy class that you were in? The

number? How many?

PB: 42nd.

BH: Do you recall how many minorities were in your class?

Females, ispanics, etc.

PB: There were only 3 blacks.

trooper, Roger Clark and mysel:

Jonas Jacobs who is still a

BH: Were there any females?

PB: No.

BH: After...while you were in the Academy class, how did the

Academy staff treat people? I know that by now several

minorities have been through the Academy. How did the

Academy staff receive you?

PB: The Academy staff I think received us well. There were very

few problems while I was at the Training Academy and at that

time Captain Barnett was in charge of the training and we

had Lt. Oliver, Sgt. Strickland, and Cpl. (Unk).

BH: Did anyone.....

PB: Excuse me his name was Cpl. Payne.

BH: How many patrolman showed up for your Academy class in all,

do you recall?

PB: I think approximately 50.

BH: Do you recall how many graduated?

PB: Approximately 45 or 42.

BH: For the names of the minorities that you called was in your

class I can say that all of them completed the Academy

class. I believe all of them are still on the Patrol.

PB: Yes.

BH: How was....can you describe any courses that ya'll took

while you were in the Academy?

PB: We took first aid courses, criminal law courses, accident

investigation course, public speaking, basically the same

courses that are being taught now.

BH: While you were in the Academy training, were you required to


PB: Yes.

BH: Who was the boxing instructor at that time?

PB: I'm sorry at the time I went through basic Academy, no we

had defensive tactics that was taught by Corporal Payne and

Captain Barnett.

BH: Let's go back for a minute, who was the Director of the

Florida Highway Patrol at the time when you first came on?

PB: When I became employed it was......at the time I became

employed Elridge Beach had just been made the Colonel.

BH: Do you feel that at the time Colonel Beach really pushed for

minorities on the Florida Highway Patrol? Him and his


PB: I believe they did before they had assigned recruiters I

used to do some recruitment in the west Florida area from

Jacksonville all the way over to Pensacola. I think he was

putting forth the effort. Also, during his time there was a

meeting called of all minorities that were employed to

report to Tallahassee to address recruiting of minorities

and to get input from the minority troopers as to what could

be done to recruit more minorities.

BH: Okay you indicated just then that you handled some

recruiting for the Patrol from Troop A all the way over to

Jacksonville. Did you do that prior to going to the

Training Academy or after?

PB: No this was much later we are talking several years later

because at the time of the meeting there were probably 20 to

25 minorities at that time and each class after our class or

the class that I attended had numerous minorities in it.

BH: Did you attend the Academy class in the winter months or

during the spring?

PB: During the spring or summer. May through September.

BH: And upon completion of the class you were reassigned to what


PB: Back to Pensacola.

BH: How long were you stationed in Pensacola?

PB: Thirteen years.

BH: And during your tenure at the Troop A station in Pensacola,

what are some of the assignments that you did for the

Patrol? You indicated recruitment, is there anything else?

PB: Recruitment, prior to being promoted to Sergeant I was a

Homicide Investigator. I was in charge and coordinated the

Auxiliary for Pensacola District and that's about it.

BH: Do you recall how many individuals dropped out of your

Academy class?

PB: Yes approximately 5 to 7.

BH: After becoming a Homicide Investigator and then being

promoted to Sergeant, Troop A was your main duty station for

the first 13 years on the Patrol?

PB: Yes. I also was on the riot squad which is now called the

SRT team.

BH: And can you go back and tell me what year that you were

promoted to Sergeant?

PB: 1984.

BH: And at that time, how many minority Sergeants were on the

Highway Patrol?

PB: There were none.

BH: So are you saying that you were the first minority to become

a Sergeant on the Highway Patrol?

PB: Yes sir.

BH: And upon being promoted to the rank of Sergeant, you were

reassigned to what troop?

PB: Troop L, Lantana, Palm Beach County.

BH: In order to get the promotion, how did you go through the

promotion procedure? Did they have test or were you picked

by being one of the longest blacks on the Highway Patrol?

Can you tell me?

PB: I was given the test as everybody else was and promoted

because of your test score. At that time evaluation was

still...still played a part in it in the overall score.

BH: During the time....you took the test several times before,

haven't you?

PB: Yes.

BH: And during that time....they had what they call point system

where you gained a half a point for every year you were on

the Patrol?

PB: That is correct.

BH: Do you feel that the point system kind of held you back from

being promoted sooner?

PB: To a degree but I think you need something to account for

the experience of the person and I think it is....I can see

it today (unk).....that don't necessarily agree with

seniority. I think I went through the same phase everybody

else. I didn't necessarily like the seniority until I

obtained some seniority and I think it is fair.

BH: While you were ....being reassigned to Troop L as a Sergeant

and I think promoted, had they done away with the point

system when you got promoted or were they still on the point


PB: They still had the points I believe.

BH: So in fact the points really helped you get promoted after

being 13 years. That would make you have 6 1/2 points.

PB: Correct.

BH: Do you feel that the highest test score on a test for a

supervisor's position is going to make the best supervisor?

PB: No by all means. That means that that person is (unk)....

information and retained it and can do good on test scores.

I think it should be......that experience should count for

something as well as the information retained from the books

but I would rather see both.

BH: Do you feel that the system...the present system that we

have now is the best?

PB: Without the points?

BH: Without the points.

BH: Its 1:20 and I still have Sergeant Pembrook Burrows of the

Florida Highway Patrol and this is side 2 of the taped

interview into the Florida Highway Patrol oral history

program. Back to my earlier question we were talking about,

do you feel that the present system as being promoted to a

supervisor position and that is by scoring the highest score

on the test, do you think it is the best?

PB: No I think you need more than just the written test to

assess someone. At the present time, some stations have

gone to what is called an assessmentt center" and at this

assessment center it covers all of the responsibilities or

many of the responsibilities and duties of the Sergeant.

Our test is only a written test. The other states have gone

to an assessment center, have the written test, have the

oral test and what is called the "in basket" test which is

checking reports and it covers the duties of a Sergeant as

opposed to just one thing it being the written examination.

BH: Then you feel that the Director of the Highway Patrol should

have more input into who is selected to be a supervisor?

PB: Not necessarily on the....... not less than a Troop

Commander, no. I think when it comes to his administrative

staff he should and I would find it hard for the Director to

know 300 Sergeants to know if they are or should be

considered to be a supervisor.

BH: Okay, let's go on.... since you have been on the Florida

Highway Patrol, has there been any equipment changes in your

years as a trooper?

PB: Yes many. When I came on we had only a 2 channel radio but

now we have gone to a 4 channel radio and we are looking

forward to going to the 800 mz which will have many, many

channels. When I came on we only had one blue light and now

I understand there are two bulbs and now we are going to the

aerodynamic type bar lights. The walkies, hand held walkies

are something that was needed. We have gone from large 440

Dodges to 2 door Mustangs and I am sure based upon the

economy of the fuel and the price of fuel that it has helped

and I think it gives the person an option as to whether he

wants a large car such as a Ford LTD or a small 2 door

Mustang. We have gone from the cross draw holsters to right

handed holsters and again the option as to whether you want

to wear the cross draw or the right hand or strong side type

holster. When I first came on we only had the one (unk)

jacket that was supposed to protect you no matter what kind

of weather and now we have gone to the much heavier coats

with a lining as well as a windbreaker. So those are some

of the things that has changed since I came on.

BH: Okay, now that you are a Sergeant and you did your tour of

duty in Troop A and you have been transferred or reassigned

to Troop L, Lantana, your first....tell me how were you

received here in Palm Beach County as a Sergeant? We will

start first with the Department employees including the

troopers that you supervise and your supervisors and on down

through the clerks that work in the station?

PB: I think I was received rather well. I did not have any

problems. My immediate supervisor was Lt. Rogers who was

also a trooper in Pensacola with me so we weren't strangers

to each other. Also, in playing in the Police Olympics

basketball, Major Ray Peterson was the Troop Commander and I

met him because we played on the same team together so I

think I was received very well. I didn't have any problems.

BH: How.....were you the only minority Sergeant in Troop L?

PB: Yes.

BH: How long were you......I understand there was a female that

was a Sergeant here for a short period of time.

PB: That is correct.

BH: How long were you the Sergeant before she was promoted?

PB: Approximately 2 years.

BH: So you can say that your tour of duty as Sergeant in Troop L

so far there have been no problems?

PB: No more than any other new supervisor would have to


BH: When you first arrived here, who was the Troop Commander of

Troop L?

PB: Major Peterson.

BH: And who is the present Troop Commander?

PB: Major Driggers.

BH: His first name please?

PB: William Driggers.

BH: Can you describe any difference in the Florida Highway

Patrol from when you first came on to the present day?

PB: Other than equipment wise?

BH: Other than equipment wise as far as when you first came on

you had Eldridge Beach as your Director and now you have

Bobby R. Burkett as your Director. Can you compare the

difference between those 2 individuals as Director for the

Highway Patrol?

PB: Comparison........ I think both Directors were good

Directors. I think Colonel Beach would give a trooper the

impression that he was a (unk) trooper that he had been

there and basically did not.....I think he led by example

more so and because the Patrol was smaller when I came on I

think you could do that. My highest ID was 897 when I came

on indicating that there were only 897 troopers. During

Colonel Burkett's time that number has almost doubled and I

don't think he can have the visibility of 1500 or 1600 men

and women as opposed to Colonel Beach who only had half that

number. I think we have progressed quite a bit under

Colonel Burkett or Director Burkett excuse me. In respects

that when I came on you basically only dealt with three

forms the accident report form, warnings for cards and a

ticket book and now under Colonel Burkett's era we have

progressed with respect that we have the necessary forms to

put certain information on. An example being (unk)....on an

accident report and under Director Burkett we have an

incident report to which we can put incidents on as opposed

to putting everything on the accident report. I think also

the change from throughout the state where as a beginning

trooper you could put any criminal charge on a citation and

it would go through the court system. Now we have the

criminal arrest report. We now have an incident report that

we can put down information or court information pertaining

to that case that would give the state attorney a better

overview of what the charge is and why the charge was made

and what supporting information you have to support the


BH: During Director Burkett's command of the Highway Patrol did

most of the equipment changes come under his era such as the

sonic lights, the removal of the cross draw holster,....

PB: Yes most of those things came under Colonel Burkett.

BH: The hand held radios and now even most of the new bullet

proof vests come with shields.

PB: Right.

BH: So he has made a great impact on the Highway Patrol?

PB: He sure has.

BH: Do you feel under his rule he has given troopers new outlets

besides working traffic.

PB: I think he has done and is doing as much as he possibly

can. I have seen budget requests where he asks for other

outlets such as troop training officers, felony teams and

things of that nature, background investigators, recruiters,

and I think that any trooper that wants to get out of

traffic after he has done his time with respect to gaining

experience that there is something else for him to do as

well as court liaison officer and what have you.

BH: Since Director Burkett took over the Highway Patrol in 1982,

do you think he has exceeded in efforts to promote and get

qualified minorities on the Highway Patrol?

PB: Yes I think he has and it has been proven with respect to

that we now have recruiters where under Colonel Beach's

reign we did not and I think it was in the making at the

time Colonel Beach left that we were in the process of

trying or about to implement recruiters in order to obtain

minorities for the Patrol.

BH: Sergeant Burrows do you feel that Director Burkett has put

forth and is putting forth a diligent effort to get

minorities to take the test and be promoted?

PB: I think he is. I think he is doing as much as he possibly

can within the powers that he has. I think also in order to

get not only minorities but anyone to really want to take

the examination that you have to number one have the

adequate pay in that now in south Florida you earn the extra

money which is $5000.00 a year for being in south Florida

and it is hard to get a minority to leave the $5000.00 to

transfer out of that particular area into north Florida or

central Florida knowing he is going to lose money to gain

the rank so I think he has done as much as he possibly can

do to prevent which he has control over to try to get

minorities to take it but again it is going to take the help

of the legislature and the structure of the pay in order for

minorities in the south to want to leave to promote to go

into central or northwest Florida.

BH: Do you know any other way for yourself that could benefit or

maybe help get minorities promoted quicker in the Highway


PB: No more than the pay and if the pay....the salaries offset

or if there is a pay raise for a person coming out of south

Florida into central or north Florida then I am sure you

would see more minorities in the south taking the test.

BH: Okay tell me.....generally tell me how you look upon your

career with the Florida Highway Patrol.


PB: I look at my career as being a good career being a state

trooper is something I have always wanted to do since

childhood. It is fulfilling a life long ambition of being a

trooper. I would hope to promote and continue being with

the Patrol and as I promote I look at it as a stepping stone

into being a part of a great organization as well as the

challenge of going to newer areas and still being a state


BH: Can you name any other details you were assigned to since

being here in south Florida, while you were in Troop A, one

I bring to mind is being assigned to the Inaugural detail of

Governor Bob Graham at the time he was inaugurated as

governor of Florida?

PB: I have been assigned to many details and by being assigned

to those details I think I have gained quite a bit of

experience. Some of the things I did while in Pensacola I

was auxiliary coordinator, I got to coordinate security on a

derailed train that was carrying toxic fluid and I helped

set up and coordinate the security with respect to moving

people from their homes and transporting the demolition team

to come up and destroy the train or the toxic material on

the train. Also, I went through 2 hurricanes as a trooper

working security on homes that had....where the people had

been removed for safety reasons. I also worked a plane

crash while in Pensacola and those have basically been the


ones in Pensacola. While in south Florida..... well I was

still stationed in Pensacola I did attend and was assigned

to the Inaugural ceremonies for Governor Graham it was

basically platform security during him being sworn into

office. While in south Florida I have been assigned to the

Vice Presidential detail which was a transportation detail

security during his stay in Palm Beach County as well as in

Martin County. I also attended the Pope detail in Miami and

again it was a security detail (unk) SRT on call team that

was there and also I attended the Miami riots.....I also

attended the riots in Miami in 1980.

BH: Also did you receive any kind of a reward for saving a

person's life?

PB: I received a Red Cross award and certificate that was signed

by the President of the United States and it was presented

to me by the American Red Cross.

BH: Can you tell us some of the details surrounding that

incident where you saved the person's life.

PB: The incident occurred the....I was on the midnight shift a

passing motorist advised that there had been an accident

with an overturned vehicle approximately 1/2 mile from me so

I responded to that location and found the vehicle

overturned and the driver had been thrown out of the vehicle

and checking for injuries on the driver I noticed that the

person had stopped breathing so I performed mouth-to-mouth

resuscitation until the ambulance arrived.

BH: This incident occurred in what troop, Troop L or Troop A?

PB: Troop A.

BH: While you were a trooper in Pensacola?

PB: Correct.

BH: During the.....you also indicated earlier that you played in

the Police Olympics was this during the time you were in

Troop L as a Sergeant or did this occur while you were in

Troop A?

PB: It occurred while in was in Troop A.....a little background

on that....the Sheriff's office throughout the State of

Florida sponsors what's called a Police Olympics. At these

olympics there are approximately 30-40 different type of

events that are being....police officers are attending these

events and participating in these events. You have of

course basketball, archery, weight lifting, judo, pistol

shooting, bowling, tennis, golf, swimming, diving and all of

the normal olympic events, table tennis is another one that

they have. These police officers throughout the entire

State of Florida be it local police departments, sheriff's

office, state and federal law enforcement officers can

participate in the Police Olympics. It is held annually and

one of the local sheriff's office in the state sponsors the

Police Olympics. It is a very enjoyable time. It is

approximately 4 days to 5 days the olympics is in session

and you are competing against other police officers by age

group to compete for awards and I think the olympics is a

very good organization that puts it together to give other

police officers throughout the entire state to meet fellow

police officers throughout the State of Florida.

BH: Also, let's go back a little bit.... during the time that you

were coming on the Patrol did you have any problem with your

height as far as them having a vehicle for you to use as a


PB: Yes that was another reason I was turned down because I was

too tall and in talking with Lieutenant Smallwood his advise

was to make an appointment to see at that time the Colonel

was Reid Clifton about my height so I made an appointment

with him and went over to Tallahassee spoke with him and

hopefully pressed upon him how determined I was that I

wanted to be a trooper. He in turn had a patrol car to come

by GHQ for me to sit in and I sat behind the wheel and he

sat on the passenger side 'and asked me if I was sure if that

is what I -wanted and I assured him it was. He said he would

waive the height requirement and by the way he is 6'10".

BH: Okay, during that time did you go into the Academy during

his tenure as the Director or was it after Eldrige Beach was

the Director?

PB: I went to the Academy while Eldrige Beach....I was hired in

May and at that time Eldrige Beach was the Director.

Colonel Clifton had just retired but it was during the

change over. When I applied Colonel Clifton was in charge

and when I got hired Colonel Beach was.

BH: Did they make any special arrangements to the patrol car to

make it a little bit more comfortable?

PB: Yes we had to pick the seat up and move it back.

BH: And since that time I know there was a period of time during

the Patrol that we had smaller cars like the 85 LTD's, did

you have to...ever get a chance to use one of those or did

you stay in the big 82 LTD up to the time they went back to

the big Crown Vics.

PB: I still had a big Crown Vic even during that time period.

BH: Was that car specially ordered or was that one left over

from the 82 model?

PB: It was just one left over from the 82 models.

BH: Has there been any areas that we didn't cover? By the way

for the record how tall are you?

PB: Seven even.

BH: Just recently...maybe several months ago were you pictured

in the (unk) magazine in something that occurred in


PB: Yes I was fortunate enough to obtain a free trip to

Australia as an ambassor to promote goodwill between the

United States and the State of Florida and the Australian

Police Department and I got to spend approximately a week

and a half there and I was sponsored by one of the local TV

stations from Australia known as Network 10.

BH: And...how did you....did you enjoy your trip?

PB: Very much so.

BH: Anything else you would like to add about your Australian


PB: I had a very good time. I got to meet a very many

Australian police officers and the exchange of information

and I am sure you have those police officers over there who

have never been to the United States so they basically

wanted to know about the United States and about the

Mustangs and about the uniforms and we exchanged quite a bit

of information while I was over there.

BH: During....have you had any other problems while you have

been on the Patrol as far as inspections where you know they

have a monthly inspection as far as your patrol car, your

appearance, your weight, your height, have you had any

problems with any of those areas?

PB: Only one minor problem with my weight and that the

Department came up with some guidelines in respects to your

weight had to be in proportion to your height. Also with

that same guideline it said that if you felt that your

weight was not in proportion to your height that you could

seek medical advise or seek the opinion of a medical

physician. I went to the Health Department in Pensacola to

see how much a person 7 foot tall could weigh and in the

general order there was....it did not cover people that were

7 foot tall. In checking with the Health Department it was

found that there is no available data on how much a person 7

foot tall is supposed to weigh.

BH: When all of this took place did it take place under Director

Elridge Beach or under Bobby Burkett the present Director

when you had the problem with the weight?

PB: I want it to be under Colonel Burkett but I am not 100 per

cent sure when the policy came out.

BH: I think the present policy now with the Highway Patrol is

that if the doctor gives you a written slip saying that you

can be at that weight so that you can perform your duties of

a trooper ....the weight policy (unk)

PB: That is possible right.

BH: Have you had any patrol car accidents or have you been

suspended for any reason since you have been on the Highway


PB: Yes I have had one patrol car accident.

BH: And when did this accident occur?

PB: In Escambia County.

BH: How long had you been on when it occurred?

PB: One.....it was probably less than a year it could have been 6

months or so.

BH: And how many patrol car accidents have you had that you can



PB: Probably 6 or seven maybe 10.

BH: How many chargeable?

PB: Just the one.

BH: Can you give some details of that accident?

PB: I struck a barricade primarily.

BH: Just (unk) accident against an object?

PB: Right.

BH: And you were given some time off?

PB: Yes.

BH: Do you feel that you were treated fairly?

PB: Yes.

BH: Has there been any other suspensions or any other problems

since you have been on the Patrol that you would like to

bring that come to your mind?

PB: No.

~ ~- t~

BH: Is there anything that you consider noteworthy that you

would like to comment at this time?

PB: Yes, in closing probably I look at myself as a pioneer for

those behind me with respect to things that I hope to do to

make it easier for the next minority that is following to

maybe be accepted a little bit better or to make it a little

bit easier for him that it won't be anything new to the

majority of the people that they have seen minorities in

supervisory capacities before and it has been an accepted

thing. I think it basically comes with the change of the

times whereas when I first became a trooper I think there

were very few whites that had attended high school with

blacks and probably the only other contact they would have

had would have been primarily as the military. This day and

time I think the majority of the high schools are integrated

so I think most whites are used to being around minorities

therefore they have a better understanding of minorities

which is basically that minorities want the same things that

any human being wants is an opportunity to obtain a good

job, to earn a living for his family, and to have the things

that any human being would like to have.

BH: Do you have anything else you would like to add?

PB: No sir.

BH: On behalf of Mr. Russ Garris and the Director of the Florida

Highway Patrol, we want to thank you for your time and this

oral history program and you should be receiving a copy of

the interview in the near future. Thank you.

PB: Thank you. /


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