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State Police celebrates 100th anniversary 

Michigan State Police Troopers in Port Huron in 1917.

Michigan State Police Troopers in Port Huron in 1917.

Governor declares April 19 as Michigan State Police Day 

The Michigan State Police (MSP) proudly marked a century of service Wednesday, and to commemorate this achievement, Gov. Rick Snyder declared April 19, 2017, as Michigan State Police Day in Michigan.

“The pride and commitment to service that began 100 years ago remains intact today in every member of the Michigan State Police,” said Snyder. “I encourage all Michiganders to join me in recognizing this historic milestone and their 100 years of proud service to the Great Lakes state with excellence, integrity and courtesy.”

Troopers with patrol vehicle in Upper Peninsula in 1922.

Troopers with patrol vehicle in Upper Peninsula in 1922.

“While the Michigan State Police has evolved and changed over the years, one thing has always remained the same—at our core, the MSP is a service organization,” stated Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “It’s our honor to serve Michigan and we look forward to connecting with you and the communities you call home for the next 100 years.”

The MSP’s roots date back to World War I when the department began as a temporary, wartime emergency force for the purpose of domestic security.

On April 19, 1917, Gov. Albert Sleeper created the Michigan State Troops Permanent Force, also known as the Michigan State Constabulary. With Col. Roy C. Vandercook as the first commanding officer, this new force consisted of five troops of mounted, dismounted and motorized units totaling 300 men.

On March 26, 1919, Public Act 26 reorganized the Constabulary as the permanent, peace-time Michigan State Police. When Michigan adopted a new Constitution in 1963, authorizing up to 20 departments, Public Act 380 of 1965 reorganized the MSP as one of these departments.

A 1930s MSP fingerprint class.

A 1930s MSP fingerprint class.

Today, the MSP is a modern-day, full-service law enforcement agency with statewide jurisdiction consisting of nearly 3,000 enforcement and civilian members. The MSP provides statewide police investigative services and traffic patrol, forensic science services, criminal justice records management and state homeland security and emergency management services.

Below are a few interesting facts that show how much things have changed in the last 100 years.

Then: Horses were the main mode of transportation for troopers in 1917 and the department’s entire motor fleet consisted of four unmarked staff cars, two supply trucks and an armored truck.

Now: The MSP fleet contains over 2,220 vehicles today with a variety of makes, models and purposes. Today’s fleet also includes dive boats, helicopters and motorcycles.

Then: Two-man mounted detachments rode daily patrols of 15 to 35 miles, returning to their barracks each night.

Now: Today, troopers on average drive over 125 miles during their daily patrol.

Then: In 1917, troopers wore a khaki and forest green uniform consisting of military tunics with breeches, leather puttees, and either a Campaign-style hat or a Stetson.

Now: Today, troopers wear a dark blue and grey uniform that became the standard in 1961, along with a Campaign-style hat that was recently added in recognition of the department’s 100th Anniversary.

Then: In 1917, lacking any other means of communication, troopers had to check for telegram messages at the post office of each town they visited.

Now: Today, troopers communicate using smartphones, mobile data computers and 800 MHz radios.

Then: Capt. Ira H. Marmon opened a Bureau of Investigation and Identification at the East Lansing Headquarters in 1919 using a primitive fingerprint records file in an old shoebox that he stored under his barracks cot next to his desk.

Now: Today, fingerprint records are stored in the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) database, which contains over 3.6 million records.

Then: In 1918, troopers rendered aid in six automobile wrecks.

Now: In 2016, troopers rendered aid in 43,488 traffic crashes.

Then: In 1918, troopers made 2,937 arrests.

Now: In 2016, troopers made 72,695 arrests.

To view historical photos, videos and a copy of the Governor’s full Certificate of Proclamation, visit www.michigan.gov/msp.

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