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South Dakota Highway Patrol

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Keith W. Christensen

About the South Dakota Highway Patrol

According to the South Dakota Highway Patrol, “In 1935, the Governor of South Dakota, Tom Berry, recognized the need for an organization to enforce the traffic laws and provide assistance to the motoring public.  Governor Berry appointed ten men that were known as the "Courtesy Patrol". These knights of the road were tasked with enforcing all the laws in South Dakota and helping to inform the public about the states emerging traffic regulations.   Each man was given a car, affectionately called a "milk wagon", a tow chain, a first aid kit, and a gallon of gasoline.  The new officers were assigned to patrol the 2,000 miles of hard surfaced roads and 4,000 miles of gravel highways.

Selected book by a South Dakota Highway Patrol law enforcement official:

History of the South Dakota Highway Patrol with Career Stories by Officers and Wives
Keith, ed. Christensen  More Info

Under the direction of fourteen governors and twelve superintendents, the men and women of the South Dakota Highway Patrol moved from a reactive organization to a proactive group of men and women who anticipate changes in highway safety and enforcement techniques.  The Patrol has matured into a professional law enforcement agency prepared to respond to the ever changing needs of the public it serves.  The 162 members of the Highway Patrol wear the uniform and badge with pride and distinction.”

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