Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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75th anniversary of Wisconsin State Patrol logo

State Patrol's historical timeline: 1970-1979

1970-1979

  • The state’s TIME System linked officers to other law enforcement agencies in the state beginning in 1972.
  • The agency suffered its first line of duty death on August 26, 1972, when Trooper Donald Pederson was shot and killed. (In memoriam)
  • Officers were authorized greater enforcement authority in 1973 for arresting subjects with outstanding warrants.
  • A new District 3 headquarters facility was built in Fond du Lac in 1973. The complex cost $552,000.
  • The agency was the first in the nation to accept credit cards for traffic violation deposits beginning in 1974.
  • The first female cadets began training to become State Patrol officers as members of the 24th Recruit Class at the academy on March 5, 1975. Advanced planning was needed to ensure properly fitted uniforms and housing accommodations in the barracks at Fort McCoy.
  • A major reorganization in the Wisconsin Department of Transportation occurred in 1977. The Enforcement and Inspection Bureau, which had been part of the Motor Vehicle Division since its inception, became a separate division now called the Division of Enforcement and Inspection.
  • Recruit training at the academy was increased to a 22-week program in 1979.
  • Officers began to use portable breath alcohol testers on drivers in 1979. If the test showed a prohibited alcohol content during a sobriety field test, the driver was transported to a facility for an evidentiary breath test using a Breathalyzer or to a medical facility for a blood draw.
  • The new VASCAR system was installed in aircraft in 1979 to calculate vehicle speed on the ground. VASCAR replaced the stop watch timing by officers in aircraft for speed enforcement. (A State Patrol video on You Tube shows how VASCAR works)

*The sources of information include a variety of documents, newsletters, previous anniversary publications and submissions by current and former members of the Wisconsin State Patrol. 

Questions about the content of this page:
Steve Olson, steve.olson@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: January 29, 2014

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