Interview with Benjamin Hollinger, Jr. February 8 1989

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Interview with Benjamin Hollinger, Jr. February 8 1989
Hollinger, Benjamin Jr. ( Interviewee )
Peterson, Ray ( Interviewer )


Subjects / Keywords:
Florida Highway Patrol Oral History Collection ( local )

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license:
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'I. f




FEBRUARY 8, 1989


** a v

RP: Today's date is March 29, 1989. This is a recorded interview

with Trooper Benjamin F. Hollinger Jr. My name is Ray

Peterson. Interview is taking place in West Palm Beach. The

time is 12:50 p.m. The purpose of the interview is for the

Florida Highway Patrol Oral History Project The Florida

Highway Patrol will observe its 50th anniversary in 1989, and

this interview will establish your knowledge and your input

into the past history of the Florida Highway Patrol. For the

files, please state your name.

BH: My name is Benjamin Franklin Hollinger, Jr.

RP: Ok. Where are you presently stationed, Benjamin?

RP: I am stationed at Troop E in Miami.

RP: How long have you been there?

BH: I've been there going on almost eight years now.

RP:- And'your present position?

BH: I'm a trooper and I

Investigation Section

Investigation Section.



assigned to the Background

the Florida Highway Patrol

RP: Ok: Let me take you back then to before you were born.

are your parents from?


BH: My parents are from Alabama and (UNK) they still live in

Alabama in a small town call Monroeville, Alabama.

RP: What's that near?

BH: Ah, it's between Mobile and Montgomery 100 miles either way

southwest section of Alabama (UNK).

RP: That's where you were born?

BH: Ah, I was born in Marengo County, which is about three or four

counties over in a little town call Linden, Alabama but after

I was born my mama because her mother lived there at that

time. When she had me, she was there with my mother because

my father was a school teacher and he taught in a county two

or three counties over. So back during that time because

(UNK) the mothers always took care of the daughters when she

was going through a pregnancy or labor. So I was born in

Linden. So shortly after I was born I moved to Repton until

my father complete building our home in (UNK).

RP: And your dad was a school teacher?

BH: Yeah.

RP: What did he teach?

BH: He taught in a rural area of black belt of Alabama out there

near uh the Mississippi line. He was a (UNK) teacher. You

don't hear that much about them, especially in South Florida.

But in rural counties they have what you call (unk) teachers.

that teach young men how to farm, how to have livestock, how

to be carpenters, bricklayers. It's a very (UNK) job that he

had also because his training he was also the (UNK) agent.

Back there during that time they didn't have, especially black

farmers, anybody to tell them about what to put on certain

crops, or why the chickens weren't reproducing, so his job was

to go out in the community to help farmers to produce better

livestock and help grow better crops.

RP: Who was he employed by? The school board or?

BH: Yes he was employed by the (UNK) County School Board.

RP: Uh..

BH: In (UNK) Alabama.

RP: He just mainly dealt with the black farmers there or?

BH Well, Sumter County was a rural black belt county. Most of

the whites that lived there were rich and they (UNK) where

that most of tne big land owners had to divide their

land up there and so many blacks. I think I remember them telling

me that what it was back there in that time if a black person

lived on a plantation that whatever quarter that his house was on

that became his.

RP: So your dad's dad is from that area?

BH: No my dad's dad lives in Repton where he's been all his life.

He had his own farm so he have a farm in Repton next to the

county where we live at.

RP: Uh.

BH: So my father I don't know how he ended up there. I think when

he finished college at Tuskeegee Institution, I think they had

what you call job placements (UNK) and that place was over

there in Marengo County, I mean in Sumter County because there

was nobody there to instruct.

RP: So what did your mama do was she at home or?

BH: Well my mother when she was going to college before she got

married she was in sports, basketball and volleyball and from

what I understand she was real good in sports. She was a big

lady she was like 6'5"

RP: Six foot five inches?

BH: Yes, she was a big lady about 250 or 260 pounds.

RP: How big was your dad?

BH: My dad is a small man.

RP: I bet he behaved.

BH: He was a small man.

RP: Great goodness alive, and you got brothers and sisters?

BH: Yeah. I have one brother under me and I have three brothers

under me and then I have a sister. My sister is not the baby

but, she's all our heart she's not a little girl she's 29 but

she's not married so we all look after her and make sure

nobody don't mess with her.

RP: How old are you, Ben?

BH: I am, well this year I am 38 this year now I just had a


RP: You are getting to the big 40.


BH: Yeah.

RP: So that's where you grew up?

BH: Yeah I grew up my grandfather was a (UNK) and I stayed with my

grandparents majority of the time and went to church, as I was

growing up and when I went back home to my parents and later

on as I became a man I ran into a lot of people who knew me as

a small child that I didn't know. My grandmother was very

heavy in the church, she went to all the facilities and

conventions and she took me along, too. And a lot of people

knew me but I didn't know them. I was a small child; I didn't

know nothing.

RP: Were you raised by your grandparents quit a bit?

BH: Well up to the age of uh 4 I was raised by my grandparents. At

that time, my mother lived with my grandparents but my

grandparents took me everywhere because during that time back

there my daddy and his brothers they built a house that we

live in now in Alabama.

RP: Yeah.

BH: It took time to build it and they did it on the weekend.

RP: Your granddaddy was a Baptist preacher. Did he do that full

time or did he farm?

BH: He had his own church and he was a farmer, and that's one

reason most of my aunts and uncles are into education because

they grew up on a farm and he didn't play. They had to work

and when they got a chance to go to school and get an

education, they got an education to get away from that farm


RP: So you grew through Elementary and Junior High and High School


BH: Well, the time when I went through school it was still

segregated and I went to a black elementary school which my

distant relative was the principal. Most of the instructors

there was family. I went to high school. there was a black

high school there and my distant cousin was the principal and

my aunt was instructor, most of the family my family was in

the education field and they mostly lived in the same

community where the farmland at down in Repton and all the

members follow there (UNK) and when they got a chance to get

an education they went to get away from the farmland and then

they came back home and ended up instructing at the high


RP: So you went to the same nign school.

BH: Yeah, I graduated there.

RP: What did you do in high school? Anything like, did you play

sports or did you play (UNK) or did you do anything like that?

BH: Well I played basketball and I was in the Future Homemakers

of America and I raised chickens, and I won a blue ribbon for

that. I raised about a hundred chickens. I didn't loose too


RP: Now the house your dad that you were living in that your dad

built, was that like on acres or farm?

BH: No, we had our, well it's kind of strange where we lived at in

there in (UNK) we lived in a (UNK) black community. The

community was surrounded by nothing but white people. Now

what happened what they tell me during the World War II,

there was a theory that the United States was going to be

attacked so what they did they built a astro out there where

my parents lived and after (UNK) it wasn't that many people

around and as years went by the community grew and everybody

started moving out toward the airport and then (UNK) they came

in and put some big plants there (UNK) and what they did they

took the astro and made it into a golf course because it had

so many run ways already straight so what they did they took

all that up and reset the grass and made a golf course out of

it. So as they so when the golf course was completed, a lot

of the white people started moving down to be close to the

gol. course in our community. The lana that all the blacK

Sa r! 1 1 e s

lived on in that area couldn't be owned by anybody other than

black so we stayed there all our lives and we was kind of

isolated from the rest of the black people during that time.

So I really I grew up with white people and white kids. We

had during the 60's it was kind of rough, I remember many of

night especially on the weekends especially on Friday and

Saturday night's, many nights we had to sleep on the floor in

our mother arms because of the Ku Klux Klan would come to town

and they would shoot in the window and stuff like that. It

was not safe to sleep in the beds so we would sleep in the

middle of the floor in the room and she would hold us in the

middle of her arms until the next day. It was Kind of rough.

A lot of times our father couldn't make it home on Friday

nights because fact that during that time black men wasn't

allowed to be on certain highways. Certain times of nights

you got caught out there you was in trouble so it was kind of

difficult. He had certain times he had to travel and he was a

hundred miles from our home to where he where he taught at so

he had to wait until real late at night especially on Friday

nights to come home to make sure he didn't get caught and

there was a lot of little towns he had to come through that

was really and a lot of Klan members lived there and it was

really bad. My mother was well known by everybody she was a

big lady she was real bright skin if you look at ner in tne

day you would thought she was a white woman you couldn't tell

the difference, but everybody respected ner. She didn't take

no stuff off nobody.

RP: At 6'5" she didn't have to.

BH: So she stayed at home. She was the type mother that she

didn't work when we was young, she stayed home and kept us.

She didn't go anywhere. If she was invited anywhere and we

wasn't invited, she didn't go. And that's the type woman she

was and even though we had relatives living right in the

community, she never left us alone. She always stayed home.

And when we learned how to work, she took us out and trained

us and showed us how to work side-by-side with her so she

always told us to work hard and she was right there to help us

work hard, but she was rough. She didn't take no stuff.

RP: Is she still alive?

BH: Yes, she's still alive. She didn't take no stuff off nobody,

but sometime when I was growing up I thought she was kind of

hard she was she had a quick temper. She was even the

community called her Big Red because if you stepped on her

toes she would turn red as a firecracker quick and she didn't

tell you not to. She just picked up whatever she could find

and gave it to you right. There that's the way she was.

RP: I bet your pop toed the mark didn't he?

BH: That's right. I imagine that's the reason he stayed away so


RP: Come home on Friday I guess he'll rather deal with the Ku Klux

Klan than her.

BH: It was a lot of fun and my mother we had a garden in the back

and during the summer we raised tomatoes and collard greens.

RP: Where did you raise those hundreds of chickens at?

BH: Right there at the house, it might be an acre we got a big

place. And I had my own chicken pens and my father made me a

(UNK) so I could (UNK) my little chicks. When I was little I

had a (UNK) so I could keep them warm when it got cold and I

had them where I could separate them especially when they

started trying to eat, especially when the large one tried to

eat the little one. (UNK) so I had plenty of room to separate

them and keep up with them but that was my project, and I got

a blue ribbon out of it, but it was a lot of hard work. I had

to stay out there at night with them especially when I had

some of them to come up with some kind of sickness or you had

to give them a special kind of water at a certain time. it

was a tough job and I made it through.

RP: And you learned a lot, too.

BH: I learned a lot.

RP: Well did you ever (UNK)-.

BH: No, I played at the high school and uh, later on I was never

into that and then I went to the junior college and I played

Baseball there because all my friends played and that's why I

wanted to play

RP: Just give me an idea what year was you in high school?

BH: Ok. Well back there during that time the high school went

from the 6th grade to 12th grade.

RP: Oh Ok.

BH: It wasn't until integration came in my hometown that they

started at the junior high school well really they had

elementary, middle school and high school and then when they

built the new high school in my hometown then they had a new

high school and that's been in the last, I think that happened

in about 1975.

RP: What year did you graduate?

BH: I graduated in 1969.

RP: 1969 so you missed Viet Nam?

BH: Well I was I had signed up for the draft.

RP: Uh.

BH: And I had been up to Montgomery to the Air Force Base up there

in Montgomery and I had had my physical, uh I had been through

the whole process, took the test, I was ready to go. I was

ready to go, I got to number if you recall they had a big

controversy that's when the war was coming kind of close and

they froze the draft. That was like 72 on the list to be

drafted and then when they started to draft back they had to

decide whether they was going to go back and pick up the names

that they missed in the draft it was a lot of people and mine

was 72 on the list to be drafted and it went like two or three

months they couldn't decide whether they were going to go back

to the month where they froze the draft and pick up or would

they start where they was in the draft. But they finally

decided to start where the draft was in that month and all the

people in that three months didn't get drafted because they

said it would throw the system off so bad to go back and pick

all those people up.

RP: But you was number 72?

BH: Yeah I was number 72.

RP: So they never got to you, you kind of died on the list?

BH: Yeah, I died on the list, It was like I forgot it was more

than I was 72 on the list but it was more than that on the

list. It was like a three month period.

RP: You was doing this before you even graduated you was trying to

get into the Air Force?

BH: No that was the (UNK) to be a (UNK) that was Gunter's Air

Force Base in Montgomery.

RP: Had you graduated out of high school?

BH: Yes I was out of high school.

RP: So when you graduated from high school, well let me ask you

this, where did you meet your wife? Was it before you went in

the service or after you went in the service?

BH: OK. I met my wife, me and my wife have basically known each

other all our lives; we were in the same high school.

RP: OK. That's good. That's all I wanted to know.

BH: Ok and she

RP: Ok. What's her name?

BH: Ok. Her name is Barbara Hollinger and she was like three or

four grades behind me but we was in the band and I was in the

12th grade and she was in the 8th grade I believe. And at the

time she told me that uh, I was too old for her but my mother

and her father work together they both work at the (UNK).

This was after we got up and I started taking care of my

brother's and sisters. At that time, I was my mother started

working when I got to the 10th grade I believe so I was old

enough to take care of the rest of the kids. So I took care

of my brothers and sisters and she would prepare all of our

meals in the morning and all I would have to do was get up and

put it on the plates and get them ready for school. And so

she had began working and so she and my wife's father who was

named Bishop Watts they both (UNK). He was a truck driver and

my mother was the cook for the guest house during that period

of time. Monroeville did not have hotels. They just recently

got hotel's in the last 3 years. They have what you would

call motels. So when buyers from Japan, Korea, England come

in they had built a great big beautiful guest house and the

president of the company came from (UNK) and he had his own

room there there. The chairman of all the boards had a room

and they had guest rooms for people from out of town. But

when buyers would come from New York or Los Angeles they would

stay at the guest house and my mama prepared the meal and plus

tney had a maid too. All ner job was just to cook. They had

a maid,-to take care of their needs so making their beds in

the m o rnin r

cleaning and ironing the sheets (UNK) and she had a good job

they didn't like leftover food so they gave us all the

leftovers, everything that was leftover.

RP: That's the best food.

BH: They would give it to my mother to bring home and I'm talking

about prime ribs, steaks, we had so much steaks and the only

problem she had she had to cook a lot of different meals

because they made sure that each individual that came down

didn't suffer. Whatever they wanted she prepared for them so

some nights she could cook as many as 10 different meals for

10 different people. As the board members got older each one

had a different problem. One would have high blood pressure

he could have this, the doctor said he could eat this or

that. So it came to when she had to cook as many as 12 to 13

different meals because each one had to have their own

different diet. So she had different menus from different

doctors for each one of them. So she had to prepare different

meals for each one of them. It was kind of (UNK) but she was

good at it.

RP: (UNK).

BH: She knew how to order you out of the kitchen.

RP: Tough job. So your wife's dad worked there, too.

BH: Well he was a truck driver (UNK). He had to delivery to

different plants and so what he did he was like the bartender

when he wasn't driving he would bartender and be like the

butler you know and stuff you know after hours and plus when

they had the golf tournament there, my mama prepared all the

food for all the people they invited to the tournaments and my

daddy-in-law he was the he would cook he barbecue or and they

still do the same thing now my daddy in-law, the Hunting Club.

They had a big hunting club they invited everybody that did

business with them down during the hunting season and they

raised turkeys on there. They had a big parcel of land and

they raised the turkeys. Turn them a loose and let these guys

go out there and kill turkeys (UNK). they know how to draw the

business; they had it down pat.

RP: What's that called (UNK).

BH: Yes (UNK), If you go to Sears if you go to any Burdines any

the stores and look in the ladies lingerie you will see (UNK)

big stuff.

RP: And that's where they do their entertaining right there.

BH: Yeah, and they got big mills there. They have the sewing

plant the dying plant, and now they got the outlets where you

can go and Duy the same stuff that you buy in Burdines and

S e a r

and J.C. Penney's and all these stores you can go to the

outlet and buy it at a reduced price.

RP: Yeah I have heard of that.

BH: So they knew how to draw buyers. They would invite these,

people. Some of these people never had a gun in their hand

never killed and then what they would do,all the turkeys and

stuff that they would kill they had deers whatever my mama

would bring them home and we would clean them and they would

pay us $25 and $30 dollars a turkey and $50.00 sometimes and

she would pack it and when they flew back to wherever they

did they came from, it would hold like freeze it and it and

they would take it home and show it to all of their friends

and show them what they had killed while they was down in

Alabama. So they looked out for her. So me and my wife have

known each other a pretty good while we started dating when

she was in the 12th grade. We went together for eight years

and stayed together while she was going to college it was some

rough times in between and we got married in '79, the same

year I became a-police officer and then we've almost married

for 10 years.

RP: Your wife is a school teacher isn't she?

BH: Yean.

RP: So when you graduated from high school what did you do?

BH: Well I went to well while I was going to high school I worked

for my uncle and some Mortician and he owned a Vault Company

and a friend of the family. He owns a funeral home and my

uncle worked for him and sold insurance and his name is Mr.

Robert Jones. He got a home right down here i Palm Beach he

got money he's in the rich folks section. I think he was one

of the first blacks to buy a home in one of these

neighborhoods. When he came down to try and buy the house

they didn't know in Monroe what type of person he was. (UNK)

somebody from Palm Beach sent somebody up there to a check on

him to see what kind of person he was and everybody came back

and told him about it because he's big stuff in my hometown so

he knew about everything that was going on. So I worked for

my uncle while I was going to school and I drove a school bus

and when I graduated I couldn't drive a school bus anymore.

As a senior I could drive one of the senior buses.

RP: You drove a school bus as a senior?

BH: Yes.

RP: Well I'll be darned.

BH: And so after that I started working for my uncle putting down

vaults on the weekend and then the guy that was working

there with me quit so what I would do, I would make vaults in

the morning I would get up at five o'clock and go down to the

vault yard and make the vault go to school and get out at

12:00 come back at 1:00 and tear the (UNK) down work them out

and then pour some more that evening I did that for a while

and I did that while I was going to college and you know like

most people you work and go to school you know you start

enjoying all that money and start running after girls, and

then I made a big mistake I bought a brand new car and I sure

enough got wild and so then.

RP: So now you going to college and working at the vault?

BH: Yeah. And while I was working there I got interested in cars

so I bought a hot rod car. I brought a '72 chevell SS 454

(UNK) I bought it from Bob (UNK). Over there in Pensacola,

red white stripes.

RP: Hot stuff?

BH: Yeah hot stuff and every night I started playing around so I

dropped out of college I was lacking about 8 hours from

getting my 2 years degree at the junior college at Patrick

Henry. I dropped out and started working full time for my

uncle and then I got tired of that and I start working for

another friend of mine uh, I started working for Trooper Steve

Brent nere in Palm Beach.- At that time they weren't married.

I didn't know

Brent but his wife's daddy owned a mechanic shop in a black

community and I started working for him learning about cars.

I knew a little aboutcars because my dad also taught that in

high school so he made us work on his car and he would show us

how to fix (UNK) so I had a pretty good knowledge about

mechanics because he showed us how to do everything. So when

he was there, he made us learn how to work so I played around

with the vault company and I got real good at cars I was good

working on cars. I spent a lot of money hot rodding. I went

to I had as much work at home as I had at the job. I had

people that would bring their cars to my house and I would

work 9 hours at the job and go home and put in four to five

hours every day working on cars as home so I became real good

at it and then the Oldsmobile Dealership in my home town uh

found out it was hard to find good mechanics and so they asked

me to come up there and work for them so I went to work for

the Oldsmobile dealership and I started off (UNK) and then

they found out what good of a mechanic I was and then I

started to working on new cars and then they started to

sending me to school to Atlanta to General Motors Training

Center and then I started to working on new cars and cars that

people had problems with, cars that came through the shop and

they spent a lot of money on fixing it and it couldn't be

repair so well the mechanic couldn't repair it that was

working on it and the company had a lot of money and the

customers was upset so then they came to me to straighten it

out and so after awhile all the people wanted me to work on

their cars and so I had more cars, I had people who wanted me

to work on them at work and I had twice as many at home to

work on so I enjoyed mechanics. I enjoyed trying to figure

what was wrong with a car, tearing it down and putting it back

together again and then General Motors made the changeover in

1977 and started bringing out the diesel and the first K

cars. The first X-body is what it was called the front wheel

drive in the Citation and that's when I got kind of fed up. I

knew they was making a big mistake. I went up to the training

academy in Atlanta and worked on diesel Oldsmobile. We tore

it down and we put it together and they said it would work and

I told them they had a lot problems and I just got frustrated

uh, too many problems.

RP: O.K. Go ahead. Ben, this is the second side of the tape and

you was talking about the computers on these cars.

BH: Well after General Motors began to have so much problems with

the computers and the diesel you know I just I got kind of

frustrated and since all my friends was police officers and

they had always been trying to get me into police work and one

of my best friend he's a lieutenant there and he tried to get

me to come to the police department. And during that time

there was a time there when the black community wanted more

representation on the police department and so nobody wanted

the job so after talking to one of the Deputy Sheriff's who

had been there for awhile and my friend who was a city

0 11

cop and a couple of the white police officers who knew me from

working on their cars at the Oldsmobile place they came by and

talked to me. So I finally made up my mind to go ahead and take

the job. I started working for the Police Department right around

the time my wife said let's get married. (UNK) Our families said

we got to do something.

RP: Well what year are we talking about now?

BH: We are talking about 1969 I mean '79.

RP: You had been going with your wife the whole time from when she

was in high school?

BH: Yeah we started to dating when she was in the 12th grade and

she went through college and came back and she was teaching

school at the elementary school there in town and my family on

both sides her mother and father told us either you all and my

mother and father said well you all have been going together

long enough. It's time for the foolishness to stop either

yall are going to get married or you all going to break up.

RP: Alright now what year did you all graduate from high school?

BH: 1969.

RP: So we are talking about 10 years later?

BH: Yeah

RP: Well now OK you are supposed to be joining the police

department and you know you are being pushed to get married

too. Alright now, go ahead.

BH: So they figured we were going to break up. We weren't going

to get married but we fooled them and didn't break up and then

they all got sad when we set the wedding date then everybody

got sad because I had been living with my parents. My mother

she stopped driving several years ago because of her nerves

she just you know her nerves had got too bad for her to be

driving a car so she depended on me for her transportation and

my mother-in-law she had a problem because she had got hit by

a car one night. She was walking on the side walk and

somebody hit her hit and run and she didn't never been right

since you know she could drive but she couldn't drive at night

so my wife had to take her also and so we decided to get

married and everybody got sad because they didn't want us to

get married, well they wanted us to get married and then they

didn't want us to get married because they knew we would be

going our separate ways but we didn't move. We moved close to

my parents and not far from her parents and by that time I had

talk to my wife and I told her I wanted to get on the police

department and so we got married on the 31st of the

30th of June and I started to working with the police

department on July 5th.

RP: And this was 1979?

BH: 1979.

RP: What's the name of the police department again?

BH: Monroeville Police Department.

RP: Monroeville?

BH: Monroeville and that's in Monroeville County in Alabama and so

I stayed there and I worked the first year as patrolman. They

had the plan just like Florida had. You could work up to a

year before you had to go to the police academy, I work the

first year and then to the academy and I went down to (UNK)

Alabama for uh six to eight weeks academy down at the

Southeast Alabama Criminal Institute at (UNK) College and I

finished the academy and became a (UNK) police officer I enjoy

being a patrolman. It was a lot of fun and lot of politics, I

didn't like the politics I got tired of uh as long as you was

arresting poor blacks and poor whites it was alright but the

other people got away with murder and you just side step. You

just didn't mess with those people. It kind of got to me and

I just didn't feel the law was designed to be

distributed that way. I felt that the law should be

distributed equally to everybody and I found out quickly that

it wasn't like that and that you had to play by their rules.

So I kept my mouth shut and I did what I was told to do.

Sometimes I would have to write reports on break-ins and you

know and I used to go there and things just wasn't coaching

the way the break-in looked. I know one incident where a guy,

one of the rich people, had 75 thousand dollars worth of

silver taken out of his house and that's all they took and he

had antique guns and jewelry and in his wife's room and nobody

took none of that and the chief told me that he got insurance,

don't worry about it. So you know I just felt that I was

getting too much and then I work an accident on one of the

junior college. They struck her daughter one night. She was

drunk and she had just got a brand new car and I did the

report and I went to the hospital and you could smell the

alcohol all over and even the nurses said she had been under

the influence and she was totally out because I worked the

midnight shift and nurses at the hospital we were good friends

because we knew we had to depend on each other because in my

home town everything dies after 10:00 o'clock and the only

people out after that time of night is the police and nurses

(UNK) and the girls at the seven til eleven the convenience

store and we became like a family. You look out for them and

they look out for you, you know you go by there and check on

them and they appreciated the girls at the hospital and most

of the time the emergency room staff they are the ones that

got all of the bad cases

people coming in late (UNK) fighting out of there head on

drugs and alcohol and they would have to go out their and try

to restrain them. But we became real close and so I filed a

report and about a month later the car was brand new. They

had just bought the car that Saturday and the daughter was not

supposed to be driving the car and it was a Grand Lemans X-R7

and she was not supposed to be driving the little sports car.

She wrecked (UNK) and so when the insurance company started

doing the investigation and found out that she was driving the

car when it was a total loss, they refused to pay the claim on

the car so then they wanted to change accident reports so the

chief called me in and told me that I put on there that the

contributing cause of accident was due to the influence of

alcohol and he wanted me to change the report. One part of

the report had already gone to Tallahassee I mean to the

Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in Alabama and

I told him I wasn't going to change the report. I told him he

was the chief, he could change them. So I just didn't like

the way things was going off and I start looking for a way to

get out I did my job I came to work and I kept my mouth shut

and played by their rules because I knew down the road that I

would have to get a recommendation if I ever got hired by

anybody else so I didn't go and cut my own throat I just did

my job and I put in an application with the Alabama State

Trooper and Georgia Highway Patrol and Florida Highway Patrol

and how I got interested, I had an Alabama application in

first and the Alabama list was so long and

during that time they was under mandantory hiring so many

blacks to so many whites and the list was long I was like

nine or eight hundred on the list. They had a black list and

a white and I was and every year I took the test I couldn't

get any closer to getting hired and they were having a class

like every once a year. One weekend me and my wife and a

girlfriend we went to Florida a lot because we had kin folks

in Florida. I had a first cousin living down there. He's a

school teacher in Pensacola so we used to go down there every

weekend and one weekend I was coming back up U.S. 29 between

U. S. (UNK) I got stopped by a Florida Highway Patrol I had

been stopped by a Florida Patrol.before so it didn't scare me

or nothing and he came up and he was so nice to me and he said

good evening sir.

RP: Was he white or black?

BH: He was white and I had seen (UNK) is also down in Pensacola

and I never met him but I saw him standing by the patrol car

and he was tall.

RH: He's still tall.

BH: And I never met a policeman so polite to a black person. Most

of the policeman, even in my hometown, even if they knew you,

they called you boy or they called you some kind of name.

The y


never said sir or nothing like this Florida Highway

Patrolman. He was so nice I couldn't believe it. I never met

nobody that nice. Policemen the most of them was rough and

they came on rough. They made you kind of nervous but he came

up and he said and I met him. I was going northbound and he

was going southbound and he clocked me on radar and he turned

around and I saw him when he hit brakes so I had pulled over

to the shoulder of the road and my wife was in the car and I

think my brother was in the car with me. And he walked up to

the car and said I forgot exactly what the speed was and he

was so nice and he said can you give me a reason why you was

running so fast and I had made up a lie to tell him an he was

so nice I couldn't tell him so I took the ticket. I think it

cost me twenty some dollars and that's how I really got

interested. So I went down a couple of times and they had a

big recruitment on and I went down to the old Pensacola

station out there near the bridge and talk to (UNK) one time.

At that time I didn't meet the requirements. I don't know

what it was I don't know if I was old enough or something that

they required that I didn't meet the qualification.

RP: Now were you at that time working for the police department?

BH: At that time I wasn't working for the police department.

RP: This is before you went to work for (UNK) and before you were

married so you'd been interested in the Florida Patrol before

1979 this must have been?

BH: Yeah it was some reason I didn't it was some reason when I

went down before I didn't meet the qualification. I went in

and talked to him. They had Trooper Burrough they had him in

the office then and I went in and talked to him and he told me

they were looking for minorities but it was something I didn't

meet as far as the requirements. And I didn't give up and I

was still trying to get on with Alabama and after I became a

policeman there and after the incidents there I really got

interested I went back down I think I went back down there

again and got an application and I sent it off over there in

Tallahassee and they sent me a letter and the first couple of

times I went to Marianna, that's when I really got serious

about I went over to Marianna and met with then it was

Corporal Jones then now Colonel Jones he was over that station

at that time and might have been Sergeant Jones at that time

because he weighed me and he was going to give me the

polygraph but I was overweight he wouldn't polygraph me so at

first when I applied I know what happened. they got me mixed

up with I put on the application that I was from Monroeville

and they thought I was from Monroe County in the Keys and they

had me going to down to Troop E To see Captain Carmody to help

me get started with the selection process. So it took

sometime to get that straightened out. My paperwork had went

down to


Troop E and it took a couple of months to get that

straightened out and to get the paper turned back around to

come back in this direction and they finally sent me on over

to Marianna and then they sent me a letter saying that I

didn't meet the qualification because I was overweight and so.

RP: How much did you weigh?

BH: I was 210 pounds.

RP: How much do you weigh now?

BH: I weigh a 195 now. But during that time they told me they

wanted me to get down to 137 pounds and it took me about a

month and I got it down and they sent another letter back to

me to report to Tallahassee to Troop H Headquarters. And I

went over there and I took the test. I had took the test in

Pensacola and I took the test again over there and then they

took me out to get the eye examination and I had just had an

incident with a prison corporal. We had arrested a guy. The

coporal had the prison and he let the prison flew around and

got aloose the prison struck me right up there and I had a

injury up their and they wouldn't let me go further in the

selection process because they said I had that injury so I had

to wait a little bit longer and so I went back home and I

didn't give up after tnat Injury neal I went back over there

to allahassee again and uh this time made it as far as the

eye test and the physical and I made it as far as the physical

and saw Doctor McCoy up there in Tallahassee and he wouldn't

pass me. He said I had a hernia. Then I went back to Alabama

and I called a friend who was a lieutenant with the police

department there. he had just had surgery that summer before

in Mobile and I asked him who was the doctor that gave him the

surgery and he told me Doctor Walker. So I called Doctor

Walker's office and I told him who I was and he said come on

down. And that was on a Thursday that I called and I was in

Tallahassee on a Wednesday. So that Thursday I called him and

he told me to come down Friday morning and he said that would

be the quickest that I could see you. And I went down on

Friday and he checked me and he said yeah you have a hernia.

Can you go in the hospital and I said yeah and I called my

wife back and told her they were going to keep me and he told

me he would do surgery on me first thing Monday morning. And

so he checked me in the hospital that Sunday that Saturday and

they did all the tests for the post-operation. They got me

preped Sunday and I had surgery that Monday my wife came down

and I stayed in the hospital that Monday, Tuesday and

Wednesday. My wife took me home and I went back in thirty

days and got a clean bill of health. I went back to

Tallahassee, I wrote Tallahassee. And told them I had surgery

and that I had the hernia corrected. They wanted medical

reports. uh I sent the medical reports (UNK) I went back and

saw Doctor McCoy and he said I was in good physical shape and

then I went to take the eye examination. Then I failed the


examination because I had (UNK) where I was hit right over

here over my eye so I went and saw a (UNK) I can't think of

his name right now and he put me on a special treatment for

about a month. About a month or six weeks he gave me

treatments and he said the problem could be cleared up and I

went there for six weeks and the problem cleared up. And he

wrote a letter to Tallahassee saying that my eyes came into

the guideline what the patrol required and they sent me

another letter saying I had passed that part of the selection


RP: Now all this time you are still a policeman in Monroeville?

BH: All that time I was still a police officer, so I didn't give

up. One night I got a call from Major Bull at that time was

Captain Bull. No, at that time he was Sergeant Bull and he

was at the GHQ he was handling Lieutenant Bull he was

handling all the applicants and he called me up and he said

I've been trying to get in touch with you for a pretty good

while. And he called me about ten o'clock. What happened I

was working the midnight shift and when I got home I wouldn't

go to sleep. I would do my PT first thing in the morning and

then I would go and work on cars until about three or four

o'clock in the evening and then the rest I would sleep. The

rest I would sleep until time to go to work I didn't have to

De to work until eleven o'clock. My wife and me had a kind of

hectic schedule she had to be at school at seven. So we were

passing each other ino the morn inrg: I was toinq h off


from work and she was going to work and we would meet right by

the school because the police station was about two blocks

from the school. So we would so when I come down the street

in the morning, I would meet her at the traffic light and

going home the most of the time when she got home from work I

was asleep and when I got up she was going to bed. And we did

that for three years while I was at the police department. So

one night it just happened I was outside working on a car and

it was on my night off, too. It was on a Wednesday night

because I had Wednesday and Thursday off and I heard the

telephone ring and I ran in the house and it was Lieutenant

Bull and he said are you Benjamin Hollinger and I said yes.

He said are you still interested in being a trooper I said yes

sir I sure am he said could you be in Tallahassee on such and

such a date and I said yes sir I sure can. So I went over to

Tallahassee and went to the Academy and they gave us the Oral

Interview Board and when I got through with well what they did

they had a lot of people there. It was about fifty some

people there that day I remember they gave first they gave the

person the farthest the polygraph (UNK) and Lieutenant Eugene

Register, he was at the Academy, he gave me the polygraph and

when I got through he had also in the room with him I believe

was Lieutenant Don Brown because I think Lieutenant Brown had

must have just finished the polygraph school and he was

sitting there as an observer I think you have to be an

observer, for so long. I remember him sitting in the back of

the room area and when I got through with the

polygraph they took-me upstairs to the Oral Board and there

was Captain Roddenberry. Captain Roddenberry was doing the

Oral Board and Major Oliver was doing the Oral Board it had a

female on the Oral Board I don't know who she was could have

been. And they had two other people on the Oral Board I don't

know who they was and they asked me questions. And I think

Captain Roddenberry, I think was the hardest one on me. He

gave me a thorough going over and I remember him because he,

and I concluded that all in one day and they sent me back home

and they said I would hear from them and about that time I

knew Alabama had did my background because I knew a lot of

troopers because by being a mechanic, the policemen know the

best mechanic and so I knew all the state troopers that knew

me because they had been there a long time. And they knew my

family and they knew I worked for June Bug and I knew the

wrecker driver of the city garage. They were all friends so

they used to call me June Bug, Jr. Brent Steven Brett wife's

father that owns the garage they used to call me his son

because I work for him and they knew I worked for him so I had

talk to the state trooper and I asked him had they concluded

my background. And that was just the time when Alabama went

to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation when they started

having troopers going to their Bureau to do background. So

these guys started wearing plain clothes so I knew the guy and

I called him up over there in Evergreen because that's where

the headquarters was in my district. They talked to him and

he said don't worry I'm going to take care of you. I'm going

to get it done and

he got it in like he had promised and everybody in my hometown

they knew me. My family was well known, you know. So I came

on with the police department and they didn't even do a

background check because they knew me when I was a small

child. Everybody knew me. The community had made up in my

hometown, the decision had already been made by the whites and

the blacks that it was alright for me to be a police officer

and so they didn't have to check. The community had already

came to an agreement without doing the check because I been

there all my life and I had never beei away from home. The

furthest I had been from home was during that time was

Burmingham and Pensacola. But I had been there all my life

right there in Monroe I had never been nowhere, a home-grown

boy and so me and my wife went to Atlanta. We went over there

one Christmas. That was in 1981. And when I got back I had

got my package saying I was hired It arrived December 17,


RP: So that was the year you was hired in 1981?

BH: Yeah I was hired. The letter that, back then the letter said

you have been hired by the Florida Highway Patrol as a Law

Enforcement Officer and you will be notified for the next

available academy and then about a couple days later I got a

phone call from Tallahassee telling me that I had to report to

Panama City, Florida, as a trainee and they gave me a hiring

date of January 15, to be at Panama City in 1982 at

Troop A headquarters and to meet Captain J. R. Henderson and

that I would be there til the next academy class started. I

didn't have to take it. They asked me if I wanted it and I

wanted it. I you know, I wanted to get away from that police

department. You know I hated to leave friends but it was just

getting to be too much and I felt it was time to move on and I

felt it was time for me to go while I was still before

something bad happened I was afraid that something was going

to happen and I was going to get caught in the middle and it

might mess me up, you know, the rest of my life.

RP: What about Alabama? Did you ever hear from them?

BH: Yeah. I was still high on the list and I could never get down

on the list and in Alabama there was a lot of politics really

to get on the highway patrol. You really had to go into

politics with certain people and I had made up my mind. My

mama always told me you work for what you want and I wanted to

get it on my own because I didn't want it to come back and

said I owed it that you helped me and I owe you a favor. I

always have been afraid that sometimes you get in situations

that when you take favors, later in life somebody might come

back and want that favor returned and it might be one of those

decision that it might go against your principles or you might

have to do something that you will regret later that will

really cost you your career. So I tried to stay away from

asking people to help me when I got this job on the police

department. I didn't ask nobody. They came and asked me.

When I came with the Highway Patrol, I didn't know anybody in

Florida. I didn't call anybody. I didn't know anybody.

Everything I done, I done on my own.

RP: You just competed for the position?

BH: I just competed for the position.

RP: Ben, did we leave your military service or we did the service?

BH: No, I didn't go into the service.

RP: Oh, OK. I just wanted to ask that. I thought we hadn't

missed it.

BH: But I reported to Troop A Headquarters, me and two other

trainees, Trooper (UNK) Aderson and Trooper Don King. Me and

Trooper Aderson was the two only black troopers in Panama City

even thought they had Trooper Burrough who is Sergent Burrough

now, he was stationed in Pensacola. The Bay County and Panama

City area never had any minority troopers there so when we

reported, Captain Henderson called us in that morning and he

spoke with us and he told us this was going to be the first

for Bay County and even though Troop A did have a black

trooper in the troop, his assignment to the Escambia County

area and (UNK) that ne never did any reports in Bay County

(UNK) coming back and forth. He said I don't know how the

troop is going to react to ya'll. I don't know how the

community is going to react but if you hear such around the

station or if anyone in the community makes any statement

don't feel bad because it's going to be a first for

everybody. And he told me some of the people around here are

used to saying certain things and something might slip so

don't take it too hard. And we had a good talk and we had a

good time over there and the troopers there they was very

professional and they had been on a long time. Most of them

had I think the youngest trooper there was Pennington who is

down here in South Florida on the Turnpike in Troop K he was I

think the youngest trooper there at that time and I think he

had about ten years on. I think the rest of them was fifteen

and above and basically the troop in that area Trooper (UNK)

he had like twenty some years twenty-five or twenty-six years

on. Wesley Bowen, he had twenty-five years. Buddy Gillman,

he had twenty some years on and these guys they took us in.

We never heard any kind of racial statements, no kind of dirty

jokes, nothing. Everybody at the station treated us

professional Captain Henderson was an excellent commander

Lieutenant Smith who is a major now, troop commander, is

lieutenant. We never had any problem with him. Captain

Gomillian who was now the investigator over there as a

sergeant, he was very nice to us in 1981 and 1982 and they had

a new sergeant over there. A young guy just made sergent and

he was real nice I can't tnink of his name right -now. I

think he is a lieutenant now but we had a enjoyable time over


RP: On the ending of the last tape you was talking about (UNK) in

Pensacola about J. B. Dodson had kind of taken you under his

wings not under his wings, but everybody being trained.

BH: Yeah, J. B. Dodson took us and every night he took us out to

eat pizza and we met his wife and we had a good time. He took

us to his house and we played basketball and we jogged and we

had a good time over there. Everybody was good to us. The

community was good and we enjoyed ourself. At first it was

kind of difficult because I had to make arrangements to live.

Trooper Alderson had relatives there. Don King, he had

different, he had just retired from the Air Force so he was

already living in the area and so fortunate I had relatives.

I found out from my aunt during the Christmas holidays that I

had relatives down there in Panama City and I had on my

grandfather's side his brother well not his brother his daddy

brother had a son that lived there and so I called him up and

got in touch with them (UNK) and I lived with them the month I

was there until I had to report to the academy class on

2-15-1982 and then I reported to Tallahassee.

RP: Where was your wife at this time?

BH: Well my wife she stayed in Alabama I didn't see no need to

upset the family about it. We had talked about the Highway

Patrol. At first she never believed that I would leave

Monroeville. She felt because I had been there all my life I

never wanted to go anywhere because at one time she wanted us

to move to Atlanta because she liked Atlanta and I told her no

I didn't want to live in Atlanta. So she was surprised and

she thought that I would just go along with me and see what

happened. And I finally got the job and I went to Panama City

she saw I was real serious and a lot of people thought I was

just playing around when I told them I wanted to move further

so I went to Panama City and I enjoyed myself had a good time

and met a lot of good people.

RP: Did you have children then?

BH: No, we didn't have any children. We still don't have any

children but and then we reported to the Academy class academy

training up in Tallahassee on 2-15-82. It still was a little

difficult for me because I had never been away from home I

always been a family person because everything we did was

family. My mother she brought us up and she always brought us

up to have things together and even my brother under me and

the one under him we used to have barbecues every Saturday and

we have our friends come over. My mother was a wise woman in

a lot of ways because she knew how to (UNK). She let us bring

our friends on Saturdays -ana Sunaay. We barbecued every

Saturday and Sunday. She didn't condone us drinking but she

knew that as young men we were going to drink so what she did

she made it where we could do it at home. So we would have

our friends over and we would have beer and we be at home when

it's all over with and never had to worry about us being in a

car or nothing. So we was very fortunate we had a mother like

her. She took the time. All of our friends called her mama.

She was just like a mama to all of us. She cooked enough food

for everybody when she cooked dinner because we was always big

eaters, so she always cooked. It was always plenty there to

eat so when she fixed dinner she fixed enough dinner for

twenty people and so when my friends came nobody had to go

anywhere for dinner. It was enough dinner for everybody and

we never had to go out or run away from home, go anywhere to

have fun. We had it all right there in the yard and we had

plenty of people to come by. She always had our (UNK). She

knew where we was all the time. She never had to call looking

for us so it was a lot of people surprised when I told them 1

was going to the Highway Patrol.

RP: (UNK) after all those years.

BH: After all of those years it shocked a lot of people uh even

the chief, he came and talked to me and some of the council

members came and talked to me and asked me was I sure if

that's what I wanted to do. And after I left while I was in

the Training Academy over there in Tallahassee for the eleven

weeks, they didn't fill my position. They felt that I was

going to come back.

RP: No kidding?

BH: And I went to the Training Academy and it was a new

experience. I never been around that many people before. I

was kind of shy. I didn't know a lot of people from different

places. We had our class. Our class was the 64th class and

we had fifty-some -candidates there and I was thinking about

this. I went back and went through some of my papers and

found out that when I started over there in Panama City as a

trainee they started me off at $1047.55 and it's amazing how

much things change. And then when I went to the academy I got

a pay hike up to $1164.00. I never thought about that. I was

so thrilled to be in the Highway Patrol that I never thought

about the money.

RP: How long was you a trainee? About a year, right?

BH: No, I was a trainee about 1 month before I went into the

Academy. I reported there on 1-15-82 and then I went into the

academy on 2-15-82 one month and we had eleven weeks of

training and out of my class it was different. We had a lot

of different individuals. At first, the class didn't want to

pull together it was, they had our class I don't know how

the other classes was out they really worked

on us. We was in trouble every day. We had a lot of people

who wanted to be separated. We had a lot of individuals that

didn't want to associate with certain people and in our class

we had I think it was 5 black males including myself and 4

females and 1 hispanic male. I think that was kind of large

minority class considering the class that had been through in

the past and they had their job cut out trying to bring the

class together as one unit.

RP: Who was in charge of the class then? Betts?

BH: No, at that time it was Captain Saunders.

RP: Saunders OK.

BH: He was the Captain and Lt. Betts was the Assistant Training

Officer and they had sergeant, I can't remember his name right

now but the first sergeant that did all the running Billy Lee

or Billy R. Lee, he was the first sergeant and then they had

at that time Corporal Mike Boles. He had just became corporal

and he was assigned to the Academy and they had Sergent Land

who was the sergeant there and they had also as their Firing

Instructor Sergeant Bishop. I think he is a lieutenant now.

And they had a hard time trying to get the class to come

together but we lost out of that class eight out of fifty and

forty-two of us graduated. One guy by the name of Hodge he

got kicked out the tenth week on a

Wednesday. They had talked to him over the weekend and told

him that he needed to calm down and he didn't listen and he

missed one point on a test and they sent him home and I think

that's when they got everybody's attention.

RP: They made believers out of you.

BH: Because nobody believed they would send anybody home that

close to the end of the Academy in the tenth week and we had

in my class, I was 31 at the time and Don King was 40 some

years old and me and him and maybe one or two others were the

oldest in the class. But our class was basically a young

class, young kids and it was different and you could tell the

difference with the age group that they came from a lot of the

young guys keep to themself or they didn't associate with the

minority. And the Academy staff was trying to bring the class

together as a whole, as a group, as one and you could tell the

age difference. We had about three or four Marines and you

could tell they were different, too. They were wild and we

used to call them the wild bunch. They did crazy stuff. They

stayed in trouble and Hodge for one of them they had that

Marine wild drinking on the weekend, wild they were wild.

They went out and they let their hair hang. They stayed in

trouble, very Monday they were in trouble for something they

had did over the weekend. They had a man talking to them

trying to calm them down.

RP: And they are still on the Patrol, aren't they?

BH: About two of them got fired and later was rehired on the

incident that happened over there in (UNK) County concerning

the getting paid for.

RP: Subpoena checks?

BH: Subpoena checks, and Sergeant (UNK) who is now Lt. (UNK).

He's an instructor at the Academy but I think three of them

are still on the Academy. One of them, he quit. He got in

trouble when he was assigned to his first troop then he left

the Patrol and went to Hawaii, came back and I don't think

they took him back. Four out of them I think it's only one on

the Patrol now. They was rough. They didn't listen.

RP: So you made it through?

BH: I made it through, me and my roommate Richard Hunter from over

there in Palatka. He was a family man and he was about the

same, you know, he had a wife and a child. You know his wife

was a school teacher and my wife was a school teacher and we

both had obligations. We came there for business. You know,

we weren't there playing and stuff we were roommates and it

was good you know and we weren't wild. We used to stay up at

night and study til 2:00 O'clock in the morning. I think they

really got our attention because during that time if you

missed two tests you


would be kicked out of the academy. Me and him missed the

Criminal Law Test together and they really got our attention

and after that weekend that we missed the Criminal Law test,

we got under the sheet, under the blanket at night with

flashlights and asked each other questions every night until 2

and 3:00 o'clock in the morning. And we pulled each other

through. Boy we was a nervous wreck. We flooded it out but

we made it.

RP: Is he still on the Patrol?

BH: He is still on the Patrol he went back to Palatka and he is

still over there and everybody speaks highly of him. I talked

to some of the troopers from that area not too long ago.

RP: Where did you go?

BH: Well me and him both was stationed in Miami. He got stationed

in Miami. The only thing different he had relatives down in

Miami so he had a place to stay. When I went down there I

didn't have anybody. I had to be there May 17, 1982 and I

went down there and I met a trooper by the name of Jerry

McCray when I first got there and I ended up staying with his

uncle over in Overtown who was a Bailiff for one of the judges

down there and 1 stayed there until I was able to find me a

place to stay. It was Major Jerry McCurry that had just came

out oif he Academy he had just got off training. He had been

off for about eleven weeks and he stayed with his uncle and

all. He was the black trooper in that troop that helped me

find a place to stay. Nobody else had nothing to do with and

then Nick (UNK) one Hispanic guy that was in our class who was

from Miami originally, he had checked around on some

apartments and he, myself and about eight other troopers that

was living in the same apartment complex, he helped us get a

pretty good deal. John Roberts and him had a room together.

I ended up having to get a place by myself. I couldn't get

nobody to stay with me, s6-I had to foot the whole bill on my

own and I ended up spending $1,200 dollars just to get an

apartment (UNK) last month so I was pretty well broke and my

wife she stayed in Alabama. We decided that she would stay

there until I got my feet on the ground and would move down

right now so she stayed in Alabama and I went down there. And

I told my mama then that I was going to make it on my own. I

was going to do what I could.

RP: When you was going through zhe Academy, what was the worse

place that you could get sent?

BH: Miami.

RP: And everybody was afraid that they was going to get sent to


BH: When




got the letter my first letter when I first came on

me going to Deland and me and my wife had got a map

and we had we had looked at the Florida map and figured out

where Deland was and

have to go there.

going to Deland she

Deland because she

clear interstate, we

second letter and

didn't think so. I

stay here and my

her daddy was there,

on to Miami and I

we had came to well

And she and I had a

had made up her mind

said it didn't look

can go back home. So

told her I was going to

didn't want to push her.

mother, she lived not f

they could take care of

loaded up everything up

you got there we

already talked about

she would go to

too bad and we got

when I got the

Miami she said she

I said well you

ar from my mama and

her. So I went

in my car and good

way it worked out well because the Academy. was over in the

latter part of April, first part of May we got two weeks off

and I didn't have to be in Miami until May 17. And so she was

going to get out of school about that time, too, so about time

I got situated in Miami, she came down in July and bought some

more things for us to live and she stayed the whole summer so

it wasn't too bad. It worked out fine I had got an apartment

about that time so when she came down I was still sleeping on

the floor I didn't have no money to get no furniture or to

rent no furniture so I had to wait for the first paycheck. I

couldn't work no off duty because I was still on probation so

uh, I slept on the floor and I made out I had fortunately I

used my head. I saved all my money when I was going through

the Academy. I didn't spend no money and she made a pretty

go ok

salary so she was able to keep everything going at home and my

parents helped her and my daddy-in-law helped her. So I told

them don't worry about me, I'll make it. So I just went on

down to Miami and let them they worked out everything at home

and so she came down that summer. Just before she left I had

that was during the time when you didn't have but three months

probation. Well, we had six months probation but they counted

the time you was in the Academy as part of the probationary

period so I had the months already while I was in Panama City

because they considered me as a trainee but as a trooper

status so I had actually had almost four months on plus the

two months during the summer, so I was able to start working

off duty in Miami. And then I got an early release because I

had prior police experience and they gave me a early release

so I started working off duty and I was able to get some money

and I worked off duty and made some money and guys helped me

got on to the off duty habit.

RP: You got a raise when you went to Miami?

BH: Yeah, I got a raise. And so just before my wife left she when

she got down there for a little while we went and rented some

furniture because we had some extra income so uh we rented

some furniture for me, a bed and all that so it worked out

good and she stayed down the summer and then she left and went

back to Alabama and then she came down every time she got a

break during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

'** '.

But it worked out good. It gave me a chance to spend a lot of

my time learning the Highway Patrol and getting familiar with

the Highway Patrol. I had a rather, as you know since you was

down there in Miami at the time as a sergeant. and then you

made lieutenant while and became our district lieutenant and I

had a rough time like in a month I think in six or seven weeks

I had three patrol car wrecks.

RP: You know you had them like boom boom boom. And I remember to

this day when Carmody had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel

and he was in Tallahassee, and so Gracey and I rotated as

troop commander like (UNK) and I think you had everyone (UNK)

and I remember the second, the third one that Burkett called

me personally and he said he wanted to know who you were and

why you was during this. He says why does this man keep

wrecking these cars? He wanted an explanation. Anyway, go


BH: Yeah.

RP: You got the director's attention.

BH: Yeah. He knew me personally because I got a couple of notes

from him about that'very thing. I think what it was during

the training period my training officer was just one of those

individuals that he didn't believe in you driving his patrol

car and I don't think I would had the time to get

the well probably it might have went back when I was a police

officer I was a police officer in my hometown. You could park

your patrol car in the streets with that blue light on and

nobody touched it. You could leave it there for ten hours and

everybody went around it. I think that not being familiar

with the amount of traffic and not being around people that

paid attention to watching what a policeman do, and watching

what a police was taking action that I could count on (UNK)

like it was back in Alabama and didn't realize that I was in

the big city and things that you do in small towns you can't

do in big cities. And I think the first accident came when I

stopped a guy. I was working the 1:00 to 12:00 express and it

was that night and he took me off on 36th street and I never

forget it and and one of these type incidents the guy didn't

speak no English and he pulled over on a curve and so I parked

uh up on the sidewalk and halfway on the road. And I did that

many times when I was a policeman and this young girl came

through and she looked like she was going to run over me and I

tried to get in the car and she went and tried to go through

and she caught my door and bent the door on the patrol car and

that was the first one. And the second one I had went up to

Jacksonville to pick up my new Chevrolet and a trooper out of

another troop out of my troop but he was stationed in Broward

County, stopped a car on the side of the road for what reason

I don't Know because he didn't have no blue light or nothing

or equipment and I stopped. I saw him on the side of the road

with this guy stopped

and I pulled over to the shoulders right here in Palm Beach

County somewhere near the Riviera Beach exit and they had been

working on 1-95 during the time when they was working on and

there was a drop in the median.between the ground and the

(UNK) was. And I went off on there and it scared me and I

left my tire on the line and person came down through there

and hit the front of the car. And the third one I was going

to a accident and I didn't take in consideration of the

roadway and the weather and when I applied brakes, I went into

an intersection and traffic was pulling off from a red light

and I struck a car that was some bad brakes I was kinda of

scared there for a while. For one thing I thought I was going

to get terminated, you know. It kind of got scared me.

RP: I remember that there was a problem. Did you ride with

someone or did one of the supervisors ride with you? It

seemed like that's what the director wanted to be done.

BH: Well the director they had a sergeant to ride with me a couple

of times to see if I was operating the vehicle in a reckless

manner or but I just think it was bad brakes on my part. I,

during the time a city cop never got involved with company

property and.

RP: I think it's fair to say, though that a real translation from

operating as a city policeman in Monroeville and operating as

a trooper in Dade County. There's a lot more traffic.

BH: Yeah, and uh another thing is that I have seen troopers in

Alabama stop cars and they stop them in the street. They do

it to right now this day they stop them in the road and people

just go around them or you just sit and wait until he's doing

what he's going to do because you don't dare blow your horn

because if you do, you are in big trouble.

RP: But it's not that way in Miami, is it?

BH: Yeah. Down in south Florida you are talking about a different

world. But I learned and I learn from my mistakes and I think

a lot of times I look back and I think I was trying to do so

much. I was trying to do so good, trying to do so good of a

job sometime you forget and be unsafe and not think but I

finally learn how the game was played and then I started being

much more careful and I learned kind the hard way. I ended up

getting three days off without pay. I got suspended for three

days but since then I haven't had any problems. I had one

patrol car wreck but it wasn't my fault a girl ran into and

hit somebody else and knock them into me uh last year uh but

it wasn't my fault. I was at the red light stopped everybody

was stopped and this female came up drunk and hit another man

behind me and knocked him into my patrol car but they didn't

even fix the bumper. It just bent the bumper. They just

dented it in a little bit but they got (UNK).

RP: Is your wife with you now?

BH: Yeah. I lived in Miami without my wife for three years. And

she finally moved down and she taught for the Board of

Education down there in the public school and then after she

was there for about six months she got tired of living in

apartments and where we lived was a very nice at that time

(UNK) some very nice apartment complex and then when all the

(UNK) start moving and coming in from (UNK) and stuff, they

started moving out in the (UNK) area and the community started

changing. Started having a lot of problems with shooting and

drugs so she got upset. On a trooper salary, we couldn't

afford to buy a new house. Between both of our salaries we

managed to get a foreclosure well not a foreclosure but a

suitable mortgage where an American couple had they one was a

doctor and one was a banker. She was in banking and both had

been moved to L.A. and they had a nice town house, three

bedrooms, two and a half baths off the south (UNK) street U.S.

41 and a 132nd Avenue. It had just been sitting there. They

lived in it for about one year and then both of them got

transferred they rented it out for six months and some people

abused it so they redid it and just locked it up and so about

three years it sit there and nobody lived in it and they would

come down and they would use it when they would be in Miami.

and so they finally decided to sell it so we had been shopping

we had more or less been out shopping, riding and riding so we

finally found it and we took


up the payments on and we gave them so much money. It was

kind of rough and I had to work a lot of off duty to make up

the difference. They wanted a little even for the mortgage

company that had it. They wanted us to put an investment in

it before they would put it over in our name uh but uh I was

able to do it with the off duty so and it was convenient for

my wife the school that she was teaching was about fifteen

minutes away. We was living close to the new school so she

didn't have to drive that far we didn't want to go to far

North and we didn't want to go to far south but it worked

out. She's happy, she is still teaching at (UNK) and look

like this is going to be her last grading period. It's going

to be her last (UNK) because she didn't finish special degree

in Librarian. (UNK) and she will get a chance to go to a high

school and be a Librian she had a master in childhood but she

due to the school system in Dade County, it's so overcrowded

she was teaching kindergarten. 35 and 38 kids is just too

much so.....

RP: Now picking back up on your career after other than your

wrecks. That's been your down part. Tell me .a little more

about your career with the Patrol because you have come a long


BH: I was assigned to district one and I work at (UNK) and then I

got the opportunity go to be a Background Investigator at the

time my Sergeant, J. B. Johnson, got promoted to the

nvoperato and they wanted to ad anDother Backa y r

operator and they wanted to add another Backcround

Investigator to the background program and he requested that I

come up and work for him. He was also my district sergeant

and so he called me in and asked me if I wanted to work for

him and I told him yes and I started working as a Background

Investigator. I enjoyed working the road down here. I like

the traffic. Some troopers don't like traffic. I look at it

like any other job. In Troop E and Dave (UNK) I trained also

uh another trooper who later went on to un he's been in Lee

County but (UNK) Tim Hines but I enjoyed that I tried not to

make the mistake that my training officer made with me I

really took my guys and I really let them got a feel of the

Highway Patrol and help them a lot. And I took time with the

family. I think a lot of the training officers don't take

time with the young (UNK) family and let them know how it is

and let them and tell them about living in the big city it's a

different from living out in the country or living in rural

area. I spent a day with each one of them uh the first day we

work together I spent a day at the apartment with the wife and

talking to them and getting them familiar with the Highway

Patrol and the amount of traffic and how to be safe and how

the reaction of the wife who was going to help her husband do

to the job better by him knowing that she was safe at home and

all. And my trainer never took the time with me. I met him

and we just went out there he never helped me with driving

never help me do pursue driving and I pushed my

guys. I made them do pursuit driving. I did not start pace

clocking until I got on my own and with my guys I started them

to pace clocking right off. I showed them how to get around

the track with the traffic (UNK) know where they are at all

the time, know the road they are on, know how to know where

they can go and get caught in situations where you can get

involved in an accident, not parking your patrol car halfway

on the shoulder of the road and halfway in the road things

that were not told to me. And I tried to make sure that they

knew that and my guys, none of them got involved in accidents

because I made sure that they played by the rules and if I

felt that was some of my faults with my patrol car wrecks

could have been avoided if I had had the proper training, told

that certain things you can't do in this amount of traffic and

but I learned the hard way and I tried to make it better for

the people that came behind me. But I enjoyed it then I went

to the Background Investigation Section and I work very hard

over there. I put in thirteen and fourteen hours sometime to

the background system to make it work. I work under both I

work under two directors I work under director James Edward

Beach and I also work under Director Burkett and I think that

Director Burkett brought the Highway Patrol a long ways. He

had bought the Highway Patrol some distance when he took over

in 1982 compared to the Highway Patrol that I came on in 1981

and 1982. I know that a lot of the younger troopers don't see

change and not only white troopers I am talking about minority

troopers. They still feel that

enough hasn't been done, especially the minority troopers

They say in certain areas but they haven't been around during

the Beach (UNK) of the Highway Patrol but Director Burkett I

think is an excellent Director. He has made a great change in

the Highway Patrol for his management. He has (UNK) lot of

new ideas for the Highway Patrol. He bought different

standards where a trooper in Dade County and a trooper in

Florida or here in Tallahassee, or Pensacola or Jacksonville

get the same kindt of disciplinary action regarding the same

offense or where when I came under Beach, you could do such in

south Florida and you would get maybe three or four days off.

You can do the same thing in Pensacola and you would probably

get a letter so Director Burkett (UNK) standarlized the

disciplinary to got by he tried to make a better work place

for all the troopers. And I can relate to one incident where

I remember when we were getting our uniforms in the Academy

when they would give us our equipment just before graduation

and take pictures I felt sorry for some of the females in our

class. We had about five or four females in there and during

that time the females wore male clothes and they gave those

girls some pants and shirts and they fit them like dresses.

And I heard one of the persons from GHQ that was in charge of

them issuing out the equipment, he told one of the girls he

said if you want to be a trooper, you will wear it. If you

want it to fit. You will make all the arrangements or

alterations on your own and get it to fit and that's the kind

of attitude that was taken and it was unbelleveable and some

of these girls the


pants they had the waisteline two of her waist in those pants

they couldn't fill out. And the shirts was like shirt

dresses. It was so bulky and big on them even the smallest

one theses girls were very smallest. So I have seen a lot of

changes since Director Burkett has made a lot of changes

especially with I notice edafter he took over, they started

ordering and right to this day women's shirts, and women's

pants and they even got women's hats for the women. The same

hats the trooper wear but it is smaller brim and everything

and lighter for the female. They even went to the two-inch

gunbelt to help the women because the three-inch was hurting

their side and he brought about a lot of changes he bought

bought the change with the (UNK) light. He changed the

lighting on the Highway Patrol he help the troopers that

wanted Mustangs uh and uh he made (UNK) he brought a lot of

changes on the highway patrol. Of course with those changes

he bought a lot of things for as work he wanted troopers to

get out and get what they were supposed to get. And I think

that's some of the biggest problems that we got now some of

the older troopers on the Highway Patrol got by doing nothing

and now they got to get out and make and work for a living and

they (UNK) I think that a lot of positive things have come out

of the Highway Patrol and that under Director Burkett's

leadership he has uh expanded the Patrol from when I came on

from twelve hundred and something. I think our class was

something like 1,254 and now we are up to fifteen hundred and

we are over fifteen hundred troopers right now

and the Highway Patrol done came a long way we are even

getting to carry PR-24's even the new bulletproof vest that

they give you the option now, the new vest to shell in front

of you you have the option now to even go and be measure for

your own vest and the department will pay for it. There are

no more of just taking what they give you. He has brought on

a lot of changes in the Patrol and a lot of changes. And he,

I think that he has done as much as he could in his power to

try to bring the Highway Patrol within the guide line with the

minority hiring to better the working conditions for all the

members of the highway patrol and to get not only minorities

but all the members of the Highway Patrol to study and try to

advance there career on the Highway Patrol and even dough he

do stress for minorities he do push for the other members the

white and (UNK) to better themselves to job opportunities

because he, as a ladder he realized that we have some very

intelligent individuals in the Highway Patrol and those

individuals need to be moved up the latter where they could

help other highway patrol and maKing the organization that it

has been over the past and even improve it more. So I tnink

the Florida Highway Patrol has been good to me I have no

complaints. I really enjoyed the time I have been on the

patrol. A lot of people talk about money but money is not

everything. You got to be happy with what you do, too. If I

had to do it over again, I would come back to the Highway

Patrol again. The only thing I regret I was not able to join

the highway patrol at a younger age. I joined the Highway


when I was like thirty-one years old going on thirty-two. I

think I turned thirty-two when 1 was in the Academy. So that

really hurt. It would have been nice if I could have started

my career at twenty-one with the Highway patrol and went up

the ladder but that's the only thing that I regret. The

Patrol has been good to me. I think that if you work hard and

with the (UNK) of working off duty you can accomplish (UNK)

the money that you don't get with the Highway Patrol in your

salary. I try to tell young troopers that they have to

realize that even though the pay is not great, if you look at

most Corporate Executives, they put in fifteen hours and

eighteen hours a day. They make that big money but they put

the hours in and in any job they might have just one job and

making a $100,00 and $200,00 a year, but you go and figure up

the number of hours they put in that job and then divide that

number of hours into that salary and then you can determine

exactly what they are making an hour and what they are making

a day. So that what you have to evaluate and to work off duty

to make ends meet is not that bad. All you are doing is

holding a second job.

RP: Well how about your future? Are you on the promotional list?

BH: Well I've been taking the promotional test every year. Last

year I really worked harder. I made 85 on the test but I

didn't a lot of people made a lot better than I did. I think

right now I was talking to maybe one, two, or

three minorities on the list right now for a promotion and I

think I am 25 on the total list so no way that I get promoted

this year but.

RP: When does the list expire?

BH: The list expires on June 30th.

RP: Yeah, that's right. They're giving the test right now aren't


BH: This year it's going to be given the second week of May (UNK).

RP: So you will be taking the test again?

BH: I haven't started studying yet because I have had other

things. I want to take off some time and study. I've been

looking at the material but....

RP: Well, what's been done to get the minorities in the Patrol, to

get the minorities interested in studying and achieving (UNK).

BH: Well, I think Director Burkett came up with some good ideas.

We got some minorities. We can go back if Trooper Alfonzo

(UNK) if he probably be up in Tallahassee somewhere right now,

he probably would be a troop commander right now.. But

unfortunately faith didn't go that way, did a bad hand against

him he was not

able to continue his career and then we had Trooper Keith Hart

that had made sergeant and he became ill and passed away. He

was a minority also and he probably would be captain right now

if he had kept himself (UNK) or at least a lieutenant. But I

think Director Burkett has tried to make, a great strive to

get minorities to take the promotional exam. A lot of people

wanted quicker than that but a lot of people fail to realize

that Director Burkett is Director of the whole highway patrol

you cannot take one group whether it's female, white, black or

hispanic under his wings and try to take them up the ladder

because then you got to worry about all of these other

individuals that's a part of the Highway Patrol, too. Some

people hold him personally responsible for some of the

problems on the Highway Patrol and I disagree with that I

think that. The responsibility as far as minority hiring and

the problems that the Patrol have are for the minorities being

in rank lieutenant or above is the responsibility that should

be laid back on the legislative back to even, Governor Rueben

Askew. I think back there in 1969, 70 or 71 or 72 when there

was minorities that was interested in getting in the police

work that went on to other agencies because the Highway patrol

didn't give them a chance that who are in rank in those

departments in Metro-Dade or Palm Beach Police Department, and

Jacksonville Police Department who are in rank even some Fire

Department have black captains and stuff that was not given

the opportunity that the legislative and the government did

not push the Highway Patrol toward the goal trying to get

those individuals in. And that's probably why we are having

the problems now because of that area uh back there. Now the

problem is now we got a lot of black troopers on the Highway

Patrol and a lot of them are not interested in being a

supervisor. It's like being a troopers, they don't want the

responsibility but (UNK) you look at the whole picture, you

got a lot of white troopers the same way. They don't want to

be troopers (UNK) you got that few that want to be supervisors

but the majority don't want nothing to do with it.

RP: Like those troopers in North Florida, they just want to work

the road and.

BH: That's right. They want to do their eight hours and forget

about. It they don't want the responsibility. But the

Director has he has made this year, well started in '88 they

started in Miami, they started a study class one hour before

one hour at the you could come one hour early and study and

you could spend one hour after the shift and study at the

station and Lieutenant Bob Miller, who is district one

lieutenant, who always do excellent on the testing give the

instructions. And this year our new policy take up you can

use your Patrol car to go to any study group as long as you

wear your uniform and study. They didn't put, I think you can

go out of your assign troop I don't mean you can go a hundred

miles but I think you can travel maybe to Broward

County to study with a study group. You know, something

reasonable. I don't think you can drive all the way to

Tallahassee, you know, a hundred miles and expect to be back

and go to work tomorrow but they made it where you could use

your patrol car to go and study. And like I said, I think

Director Burkett is doing a lot to try and get minorities to

(UNK). He's making it easy and it's not only minorities,

that's any trooper on the highway patrol can use there patrol

car as long as they wear their uniform. They can go to any

study group and study so I think its uh I may let you change

that they are pushing not only minorities but they are pushing

everybody to go and get more input in taking the exam because

we have a lot of people that are very intelligent that do not

ever take the exam and we have some people that take the exam

and pass which may not be the best qualified supervisor but

because due to the limited number of people that are taking

the exam, those people are getting promoted so.

RP: So they are winning by default?

BH: Yeah. So we get the best qualified people we do and I don't

care what anybody says. I have been to because I travel back

and forward from Alabama and I've been to Atlanta and I know

troopers over there and I, even this year, August I got a

chance to go to the South Carolina Academy and help them with

their Background Section and our program that we use here in

Florida. They implemented our wnole program they was so

impressed the way

we do background with minorities to try and get people through

the selection process. They took the whole program we had

Trooper Jerry Clenney go up there and gave them a whole class

for a week of how we do it and they even adopted our Highway

Patrol Manual Policy Manual, for African Black Investigators.

They adopted the whole program our qualifications for

applicants, they took the whole thing all they did was change

from Florida Highway Patrol to South Carolina. The whole

thing they took it right in and we gave a whole class about

fifty some troopers from all over the State of South Carolina

they also had captains the first day they had captains to come

and then they had the lieutenants. They did everything and

now down to sergeants, they had all of them there and made

them stay the whole week and listen to the class.

RP: Who else was there with you?

BH: Me and Trooper Jerry Clenny from Panama City.

RP: Oh, he's an applicant investigator?

BH: Yes, in Panama City.

RP: Does he have any rank or is he just a trooper?

BH: Just a trooper.

RP: Are you classified as a Trooper I or a Trooper II (UNK)?

BH: Trooper I. So we went up there and they were highly

impressed. I met the colonel up there and uh they have (UNK)

but a lot of there problems was that they had supervisors

doing background which supervisors had been there a long time

and they took our program and using the whole program that we

are using in Tallahassee was a coordinator. There department

is set up a little different because the Director answers to

no one but the governor. They don't have an executive

director like the Florida Highway Patrol. The director the

colonel he got two majors, one is administration and the other

is field operations and we had a good time and they treated us

well and they were highly impressed with the Highway Patrol.

RP: How were you selected to go up there?

BH: Well, what happened I had been assigned to headquarters in

Tallahassee to work in Lieutenant Dixon's office because

Lieutenant Victor Dixon had been reassigned, who' is the

applicant investigator coordinator between the troop up there

in Tallahassee. He had been reassigned to Odometer Fraud so

his work was backing up and Captain Terry McIntyre could not

keep with the work load and do his job, too, so they had to

have a trooper come up there and try to Keep up the work load

down. You

know, checking the files that come in from the field or

checking the application that come in to make sure they meet

the minimum qualification sending off for military records.

So I happened to be there one day when the major and a

lieutenant, a black lieutenant from South Carolina came down

to GHQ because they had just had a visit. After talking to

the major from South Carolina, he told me that the Federal

Government had just left the colonel's office that Monday. He

was on there case about something. He didn't give us the

whole detail but they had to go and try to get some they

wanted some answers the federal government did. So the major

who was over field operations, him and the lieutenant who is

the Chief Assistant Training Officer at the Academy, they came

down to try to see what other highway patrols were doing. And

the black lieutenant and he is also the EEO Officer for the

patrol, too. The same thing as Rosalind Guyton and in his

decision made for the Highway Patrol because he was the EEO

Officer it would have to go through his office. And so he

came down and they sat down and talked to me and we went out

and had dinner and they liked the way we did it and uh the

major said I want you to come up there and I started showing

them how we did things and telling them a little bit of the

background that where we came from to the point where we was

to this present time. So he said I.want you to send your two

best men up there and we are going to do this. This is what

we are going to do. The major told us that he had been to

Georgia. They left uh that Tuesday and 1 think they came down

to the Highway Patrol that

Thursday. They was supposed to be there Wednesday but they

went by Georgia and saw Georgia program. They had been over

and they had sent somebody else over to Alabama and he didn't

like the way Alabama did it and he felt like he was highly

impressed with the way we did it in Florida. So they adopted

our whole program just like that, no questions asked.

RP: So that was nice for them that they could find something that

would fit in what they needed.

BH: Well, if you, the South Carolina Highway Patrol is basically

like the Florida Highway Patrol and uh so in a lot of ways we

are just alike except for management structure but uh they

were very impressed. They even started during the polygraph

except they are going to use troopers because their

Investigation Section is half of black captains and who were

previously into the EEO Officer and the lieutenants and now

he's the over the Investigation Section and he have two

troopers where they can't afford to stretch that kind of

manpower. So they got two troopers out of the field that they

were going to send to polygraph school to take care of the

polygraph people because they had a couple of people that,

well, they had about three or four people that slipped through

not only white, they had couple of minorities that slip

through. But if they had a polygraph they would have caught

those individuals and they had just arrested a couple of

-troopers over there at the beach on the coast for buying

stolen cars.

RP: In South Carolina?

BH: Yeah.

BH: Jesus.

BH: They had a reverse scam set up and these troopers was coming

buying stolen property but like I said the Patrol has been

good to me and I think that Director Burkett is an excellent


BP: Are you hoping he'll hear this tape?

BH: Huh?

BP: Are you hoping he'll hear this tape?

BH: No. I wouldn't have his job.

BP: I wouldn't either, buddy, I'll tell you (UNK)

BH: I wouldn't even have Major Gracey's job either.

RP: Well, I'll tell you, Director Burkett can't help me since I've

retired but I tell you something, I oon't know how he's done

it. I just don't know how he's done it.

BH: I tell what thrills me the most is to hear him talk about the

Highway Patrol, how he can get up there and tell you all that

stuff. I just don't see how he can remember all that, how he

keeps all those dates and he could get up there and talk to

people about the Highway Patrol and not look at nothing. And

I have listened to him talk and I know what he's saying is

true and he start saying numbers like this is what we got for

minorities and different things he would talk about in front

of me. And I know he is right because I know that same

information and it was amazing how he could keep all that

stuff together and I think in my career with the Patrol I have

not met any with (UNK) a lot of people like my first Sergeant

J. D. Johnson. A lot of people, a lot of people a lot of

black troopers didn't like him but to me he was (UNK) a man

like him I appreciate because he tell you something he believe

in following a straight line if said that line is straight

that line better be straight. He's not like some people that

get down there and the line starts going one way or another.

And I could deal with I like people like that and my first

lieutent, uh Lieutenant Ray Peterson, he was a good lieutenant

to me, too. I never had no problems with him. I think I

never, basically the reason I think I can get along with

management and rank because I am a type of person I like to

look at ooth sides in any given situation. Even when the

Director sends a new policy down, I try to look at his side,

how the policy was created or when the lieutenant sends a

(UNK) why he want this done I try to look why this Directive


about, why he had- to send it, you know. I don't why this

directive came, I don't look and say he's just picking on me

and negative. I try to look at the positive side. There's

got to be a reason for it he wouldn't have made this up just

to be sitting up there to make it up. It had to be something

that happened for this to come down and right now in the

Highway Patrol, we got a lot especially in South Florida. And

you've been a troop commander down here, you know what I am

talking about and you got a lot of young troopers and a lot of

young troopers don't understand. And some of them, this is

the first job they ever had. They never had a job before they

don't know nothing about work, they don't know nothing about

working on a farm or had to got out and pick peas and butter

beans chop cotton pull cotton they don't know nothing about

hard work they don't know nothing about hard work about

digging holes with pick and shovel. They don't know nothing

about that. This is the only job they ever had so they really

don't know nothing about work. So to me this job is nothing.

You get clean uniforms, all equipment, air conditioned car to

drive around in. What better working conditions can you

have? Its dangerous at times but you got to control all of

that. You can control all of that situation. You go out

there and you got your mind on your job, what you've supposed

to be doing and you go home every nignt to your family. You

won't have any problems. But like I said, I never had any

problems with any of tne management, witn my commander you

take Major Gracey, he takes a lot of heat and I tell him I

wouldn't have his job or don't see )ow h, t r a

I -k

it. I just don't see how he stands it down there. I couldn't,

it's too much,too much pressure. A lot of people don't like

him but to me I think with a troop that big and much (UNK) I

think you got to be, you got to have guidelines and be kind of

(UNK) because if you don't you will have chads. You got to

have control and you got to let people know that you are in

control because if you don't let people know that you are in

control then people start taking you weak and then they start

(UNK) from the policy and they start (UNK) for the goals that

you got set. So you got to keep an eye and hand on everything

and a lot of people don't understand but that to be a good

leader, you've got to be able to take all of that too, that's

part of being a good leader. You got to be able to take the

good with the bad and you got to be able to take all of the

harsh words that come with it when you become a leader. It's

not easy, you can't be liked by everybody. If you want to

become a leader and be liked by everybody you ain't no good

leader because everyone won't like you because somewhere down

the line you are going to do something to hurt somebody's or

offend somebody or feel they are hurt or step on somebody toes

and that's just the way it is and there's nothing that you can

do about it. But Major Gracey, he's a good leader. I don't

think, sometimes I wonder if he was to retire who would run

that troop, who would actually be able to run that troop.

RP: I think it would take two normal people.

BH: Yeah.

RP: That's a good question.

BH: And my Captain,(tape ended).

RP: You were finishing up about Major Gracey in Troop E.

BH: Yeah. Major Gracey is an excellent troop commander and

Captain (UNK) is a good district commander and since they

changed the rank Captain Legett would be basically like you

were the district lieutenant in Miami before you became

captain then later made with the major he had that open door

policy. You could go in there and talk to him and uh you know

back to morale back on the Patrol and stuff like that uh I

think some of our problems with the Highway Patrol is that I

think that we got a lot of young troopers out that uh got

problems of their own. They are not able to relate to

troopers problems. You have to be, to help somebody with a

problem, you got to have your own life in order and I think

right now we don't have that. i think we got young people

leading young people and that when a lot of (UNK) come in.

RP: What some of the (UNK).

BH: I don't know, but in order to get the minorities up in the

promotional rank I reckon they would ihave to come along

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