Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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History of the Wisconsin State Patrol

1957 Chevrolet cruiser
1957 Chevrolet cruiser

On September 1, 1939, the Wisconsin legislature passed a statute creating the Motor Vehicle Department, which consisted of three divisions - the new enforcement division began with 46 "inspectors" to enforce the state motor vehicle code and the regulating of motor carriers. This was the nucleus of the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Through the years the authorized size of the patrol has increased to the present day strength of 400 troopers and 112 inspectors.

State Patrol radio first went on the air February 1, 1943, operating station WIZR on a frequency of 31.5 megahertz. It was able to communicate with the patrol's mobile units, as well as with most of the municipal and county law enforcement short-wave stations.

Formal education instructions were started in 1955 with the establishment of a training academy. Today not only State Patrol officers, but county and municipal law enforcement officers are being trained in the latest techniques of traffic law enforcement at the patrol's training academy facilities at Fort McCoy.

Through the years many changes have been made, but the patrol's goal has always been and will continue to be assisting the motoring public and making Wisconsin's highways safe.

The division currently operates 16 safety and weight enforcement facilities and the Wisconsin State Patrol academy at Fort McCoy which provides diverse law enforcement training programs for federal, state and local law enforcement officers.

The Division of State Patrol is directed by Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald.

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Last modified: July 2, 2012

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