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The New York State Police

The New York State Police was formed in 1917 to serve the rural areas of the state. The vision of its first superintendent, Colonel George Fletcher Chandler, a World War I veteran and physician from Kingston, New York, created every aspect of the new police force - its mission, its uniform, and even its name. The Colonel was the first to call his men “Troopers”, a term still used today.

State Police Exhibits:

Motorcycle Goggles

Goggles were worn in the days before helmets.

Dime Novels

The work of the New York State Troopers were featured in dramatic accounts in popular fiction of the 1920’s and 1930’s, drawing widespread interest and helping to promote the formation of other State Police agencies across the country.

Courtesy of the New York State Police

State Police Uniform Stetson

The iconic Stetson hat is probably the most salient feature of the Trooper’s uniform. The color purple on the tie and hatband are a reference to the Roman Praetorian Guard, who were responsible for the safety of the Head of State, just as the State Police are the Governor’s Police force.

Courtesy of the New York State Police

Trooper’s Shield

Sworn Members of the New York State Police do not wear the traditional police officer’s badge on their uniforms, but carry them in a pocket, the only police agency to do so. Colonel Chandler chose the unique shape in reference to the shield carried by the Praetorian Guard.

Courtesy of the New York State Police


State Police Motorcycle

Troopers patrolled on motorcycles until the 1960’s. Today a ceremonial Detail rides Harley Davidson Police Electra Glide bikes in parades and for funerals, sporting events, rallies, demonstrations, and special escorts.

Courtesy of the New York State Police


Mounted Patrol

Chandler’s Troopers first set out on horseback, working independently to cover the entire state during 30 day tours of duty. The only lawmen for hundreds of miles, they patrolled in pairs traveling 20-25 miles per day and reported in by telephone, post cards, and telegrams.

Courtesy of the New York State Police


1966 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Motorcycle

Once used for patrols in the Hudson Valley, this motorcycle is currently used for ceremonial purposes, such as parades.

Courtesy of the New York State Police


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