Milestones in Time


​Effective August 14, 1929, Legislature creates the California Highway Patrol (CHP) as a section of the Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Public Works.

​Eugene W. Biscailuz, Undersheriff, Los Angeles County, is appointed as the CHP's first Superintendent.

​Officers employed by various county motor squads are absorbed into the CHP as its first members.

​The CHP is given statewide jurisdiction to enforce the State Vehicle Act except in certain exempt counties.

​1929 - 1947 - the CHP patch is created and used.

​The CHP's uniform and enforcement vehicles are standardized.




​The CHP establishes the first Academy training class at the old State Fairgrounds.


​The Division of Motor Vehicles is elevated to department status and the CHP becomes the Division of Enforcement (CHP), Department of Motor Vehicles.

​E. Raymond Cato is appointed Chief of the Division of Enforcement (CHP) replacing the position of Superintendent.


​​Los Angeles County, the last county in California to maintain its own motor squad, yields its traffic enforcement jurisdiction to the CHP.   


​The CHP creates two new ranks, Sergeant and Supervising Inspector.


​The growth of the CHP's responsibilities in law enforcement, especially in the rural areas of the state, leads to the granting of full peace officer powers to all uniformed members of the CHP.

​​"Red flag" communications system is established. Officers on patrol need to call their offices when a red flag is displayed in front of designated buildings.


​California Vehicle Act is abolished and the California Vehicle Code is created.

​KAPA, the first CHP-operated radio station, uses a 50-watt radio transmitter. Its location in a trailer provides mobility to locations throughout the state.


​CHP officers present at ceremonies of the opening of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge assume traffic enforcement responsibilities.


​CHP provides traffic enforcement for the Golden Gate Bridge opening.



​ ​1940s


​Dispatchers and officers in the field communicate with two-way radios.

​Beginning of World War II.


​1942 - 1953 - CHP Auxiliary is formed to aid the CHP in traffic control, messenger services, transportation, and aerial reconnaissance. A privately-owned Stinson Voyager 150 is used by the CHP Academy.

​​Homer Livingston Garrott, first African-American CHP Officer. Garrott later became a Municipal Court judge for Los Angeles County, appointed by Governor Ronald Reagan.


​Material shortage forces the change from long uniform coats to short Eisenhower jackets.


​The CHP is separated from the Department of Motor Vehicles and is elevated to a department of state government. The Department of California Highway Patrol is supervised by a Commissioner appointed by the Governor.

​Governor Earl Warren appoints Clifford E. Peterson as the CHP's first Commissioner.


​The current shoulder patch is designed and adopted.

​​​CHP Academy moves to McClellan Air Force Base.



​ ​1950s


​The CHP begins using the FM radio waveband for communication.


​Operational zones are created.


​Seatbelts are installed in all new CHP enforcement vehicles.

​New Academy on Meadowview Road in Sacramento welcomes its first cadet class.


​CHP tests radar for speed enforcement.


​CHP begins to use portable truck scales.

​Highway Patrol, starring Broderick Crawford, debuts on television.


​Current uniform style adopted. Uniform changes authorized: Blue and gold pant leg stripes, blue necktie, years-of-service stripes, and new hat design are approved.

​CHP motorcycle officers are issued helmets.


​Assignment of permanent, individual ID numbers to uniformed personnel begins. Badge numbers now indicate rank and seniority; previously, badges were passed down with promotion.


1960s ​ ​


​Special detail assigned to coordinate traffic control at Squaw Valley Winter Olympics.

​CHP Motorcycle Training Program is developed; basic courses for Cadets and advanced courses for Officers.


​Fixed-wing Cessna 172 and Piper Cub aircraft are tested for use in traffic observation.


​Social, racial, and political unrest during the 1960s involves the CHP in riot control.

​CHP expands and begins doubling the number of officers.

​Shotguns are installed in enforcement-class patrol vehicles.


​Electra Glide Harley Davidson is added to the fleet.

​Roof-mounted light bars are installed for testing on 50 enforcement-class patrol vehicles.


1970s​ ​


​The shooting deaths of four CHP Officers at Newhall causes the CHP to make major changes in its training and car stop procedures.  (Read More)  


​Small canisters of Mace are carried on gun belts of officers.

​Walter Pudinski becomes the first officer to rise through the ranks to Commissioner.


​First female cadet class.


​January 1975 - the first 27 female cadets graduate from their 16-week Academy training.


​New Academy in West Sacramento is completed.


​CHiPs television show debuts.


​CHP creates Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) Program to investigate complex and major collisions occurring throughout the state.


​ ​1980s


​First female motorcycle officer, Ramona Murray.


​CHP begins distributing hand-held portable radio extenders to officers in the field.

​Airplanes are used in conjunction with ground units for speed enforcement and aerial observation.


​Ford Mustangs join the CHP fleet.


​Motorcycle officers begin using radios inside their helmets.

​XXIII Olympics is held in Los Angeles; the CHP is involved in traffic control, athlete transportation, security, race-route traffic and spectator management.

​PR-24 side-handle aluminum baton replaces the issued wooden baton.


​CHP's roadside Sobriety Checkpoint Program is established to randomly check for drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


​El Protector Program is established to get CHP involved in the Hispanic community, with an emphasis on education rather than enforcement.


​The CHP is authorized to use radar to enforce speed on roads in rural and unincorporated areas.


​9mm automatic pistols are issued to selected officers for field evaluation for on-duty use.


1990s​ ​


​Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) devices are used to measure a driver's blood alcohol level.

​The CHP is directed by Governor Pete Wilson to provide law enforcement services to any city or police jurisdiction requesting assistance.


​.40-caliber Smith & Wesson Model 4006 semi-automatic pistol is adopted as a standard sidearm for officers.

​CHiPper mascot is created.

​Campaign hats are adopted as the official headgear for the CHP officers.


​The word "Traffic" is dropped from all CHP ranks and the civil service title is changed to simply "Officer, CHP." The badge rank banner is now titled "Officer."

​The CHP assumes responsibility to protect and provide law enforcement on all state property as well as security for the Governor and other state officials.

​The California State Police, its members and duties are merged into the CHP.  (Read More)

​Mandatory Aviation Aquatic Survival Training is implemented by the CHP for air crew operations near or over water.


​BMW 1100 RT motorcycles are purchased.


2000s​ ​


​CHP uses fixed-wing planes to provide congestion relief.


​September 11 gives CHP broad new duties: Coordinate response to terrorism; oversee safety of state buildings, major bridges, Aqueduct and power grid.


​CHP Camaros are used to assist with traffic enforcement for commercial vehicles.

​CHP becomes statewide coordinator for Amber Alert Program.


​Computer Crimes Investigation Unit is created.


​75th Anniversary of the California Highway Patrol.

​30th Anniversary of female officers in the CHP.




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