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Wolfe1013 11-10-2016 02:13 AM

1988 Wyoming Highway Patrol HP 43
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I would like to introduce you to HP 43 that served with the Wyoming Highway Patrol in Buffalo, WY from 1988 to 1991. The car was assigned to Patrolman Steve Steiner, Badge # 125 (served 1971 – 1994).

There were six 1988 Mustangs purchased by the Wyoming Highway Patrol, with each one being assigned to each of the patrol districts. There was a strict selection process to choose which patrolman was to be awarded a Mustang. Some factors considered were seniority, driving record and work performance. Five of the Mustangs went to EVOC training conducted by the Utah Highway Patrol on May 25-26, 1988 in Evanston, WY using the local airstrip for the driver training course. The sixth patrolman borrowed one of the Utah Mustangs. The instructors were Sgt. Dennis Bringhurst, Trooper Al Christianson and Trooper Larry Hogan of the Utah Highway Patrol.

The six Wyoming Mustangs were equipped from the factory with the 5-spd. manual transmission, power door locks, speed control, air conditioning, manual windows, rear window defroster, AM/FM Stereo Cassette radio, engine block heater, interval wipers, power mirrors and paint code of 1C Black. The Wyoming Highway Patrol added the white roof, a- and c-pillars, a single chrome driver side spotlight with red bulb, a Kustom Trooper K-band radar, Motorola Spectra radio with integrated siren controls, Federal Signal Jetsonic light bar, Unitrol light controller and mud flaps. Some of the cars used the rear seat cover with front zippered pouch for the shotgun, same as Utah. HP 43 was one of them. Not all patrolmen used these because one I talked to carried his in the soft case in the back floorboard for easy access. Another carried his in the soft case in the trunk.

The cars bore the badge number of the patrolman on the hood above the left headlight and on the left side of the deck lid in place of the LX emblem. At this time, the license plate did not match the badge number, but did denote the car number. The website statetrooperplates.com has a photo of the license plate off my car – HP 43. (If anyone knows who currently owns this plate, please let me know!) Also, another of the WHP SSPs is also pictured, that of late Patrolman Al Clavette, whom I personally knew from my time as a National Park Ranger, based out of Lovell, WY. Al had just recently traded for the new 1991 Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 my rookie summer, so I never got to see his Mustang.

The six Wyoming Highway Patrol Mustangs were assigned as follows:
Steve Townsend, Badge # 153, Unit HP 148, Division M, District 2, Douglas, WY (1980-????)
Steve Steiner, Badge # 125, Unit HP 43, Division C, District 4, Buffalo, WY (1971-1994)
Steve Keigley, Badge # 77, Unit HP 22, Division F, District 1, Guernsey, WY (1980-1998)
Al Clavette, Badge # 129, Unit HP 57, Division N, District 5, Cody/Lovell, WY (1975-1997)
Garry Halter, Badge # Unknown, Unit HP 82, Division H, District 1, Rawlins, WY (1986-1989)
Jeff Berrett, Badge # 124, Unit HP 136, Division E, District 3, Rock Springs/Bridger Valley, WY (1985-1993)

Patrolman Steve Townsend’s SSP is the one pictured in the Gallery section of this site. Badge # 153, Unit HP 148. This was the missing Mustang at EVOC training. Another interesting note, this SSP was not in the consecutive VIN number listing of the other 5 WHP Mustangs. At this time, we don’t know why. The photos were taken by E. Prince at the headquarters building in Cheyenne (according to Patrolman Townsend, himself) and shows that he had a CB radio mounted in his SSP using a magnetic mount antenna. The other photo in the Gallery is of Patrolman Steve Keigley and his Mustang (Badge # 77, Unit HP 22) with a Colorado State Patrolman and his Mustang and a Utah Highway Patrolman at the state line between Wyoming and Colorado on I-25.

All cars were allowed to run the Wyoming Centennial front license plate that took the place of the official state plate for 1990.

According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, this batch of six Mustangs were the only ones ever purchased. Once these retired, the B4C Camaro took over serving alongside Ford Crown Victorias, Chevrolet Caprices and later Ford Expeditions (started as winter use).

All of this information was compiled from phone conversations and emails with the retired patrolmen and the Wyoming Highway Patrol. A great amount of legwork went into getting this information and I cannot take credit for it, other than compiling it together and to help get started in the right place based on my personal knowledge from my time spent in Wyoming and talking with the patrolmen back then. I have quite a few 35mm photos I need to scan and post. However, like I said, I never saw the WHP Mustangs in service.

This is all because of my good friend Hector Alvarez. In 2010, we went to the Colorado State Patrol’s 75th Anniversary Celebration and Car Show – Hector with his 1988 CSP Mustang and me with my 1992 CSP Camaro. At the show, Hector found out talking with the CSP that not all of their Mustangs were marked white units. A small few were unmarked and different colors. Jump forward one year to 2011. Hector sees a black SSP on Craigslist in Denver, CO. After a few texts with the seller, he confirms it’s an SSP with the Denver DSO and purchases it right away, hoping it’s one of the very rare non-white CSP Mustangs. When the documentation that came with the car was looked at along with the buck tags…it was not to be a CSP Mustang. It turns out that Hector had just purchased a Wyoming Highway Patrol SSP, Unit # 43. The unicorn had been found. Knowing I had spent time in Wyoming, Hector contacted me to get help in researching the car and the history of the WHP SSP program. I told him to start with the local WYDOT office the car would have worked out of. Hector called and talked with the shop foreman and eventually tracked down the mechanic that worked on the car, but first, he hit pay dirt by making contact with Patrolman Steve Townsend at WHP Headquarters in Cheyenne, now a Sergeant. Through Sgt. Townsend, he got the names of all six patrolmen the Mustangs were assigned to and their locations. Sgt. Townsend also provided pictures and other needed information about the cars.

After an extensive internet search for the patrolman that drove HP 43, Patrolman Steve Steiner was possibly located in Missouri. Hector wants me to publicly thank Jim Doiron for getting some friends together on their day off and going to locate Mr. Steiner to confirm if he was indeed who Hector hoped he was. Mr. Steiner was not home, so Jim left a note on his door. A few days later, Jim got a call from Mr. Steiner confirming he was retired from the Wyoming Highway Patrol and drove the Mustang Hector now owned. Jim passed on Mr. Steiner’s contact information and the call was made.

Hector then made contact with Patrolman Steve Keigley, then Sheriff of Platte County, Wyoming. Here is a quote from the email he sent Hector, “Because of the small trunk only essential equipment was carried. My trunk contained: first aid kit, accident investigation equipment, special services squad equipment, law books including commercial vehicle books, traffic triangles, and brief case containing general essentials such as paper work, permits, etc. I believe we did switch to snow tires in the winter time.”

Patrolman Jeff Berrett was then located. He confirmed the radar and the radio and said he used the rear seat cover with the shotgun pouch in the front. More photos and documentation.

Patrolman/Sheriff Keigley is now retired. I spoke to him personally a few days ago. He explained the Special Services Squad to me and it’s very much like the National Park Service’s Special Event Teams. Several patrolmen are picked to train together and they then travel all over the state when the need arises to supplement the local patrolmen so they won’t be tied up with extra duties and responsibilities. This could be dignitary details, public events and celebrations, etc. which need extra manpower. Patrolman Steiner that drove my car was also a member of the Special Services Squad.

I’ve got some work ahead of me to restore this car, namely paint and body work, general wear items and some interior pieces. I will be restoring this car as a driver as close to original condition as I can. Over the years, I have collected most of the equipment, not even dreaming that one day I would own this car.

One thing that came out of the research on more than one occasion was this – these patrolmen took such great pride in getting assigned these Mustangs that they most likely shortened the life of the paint by constantly washing and waxing them to maintain the professional appearance they displayed at all times.

I will post some of the various documentation that came with the car, in-service and EVOC photos, as well as the Marti Report and buck tags over the next few posts.

With all of this said, as you digest this information, I will leave you with this…there is another!

Wolfe1013 11-10-2016 02:15 AM

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Marti Report and buck tags.

Wolfe1013 11-10-2016 02:18 AM

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First impressions...how she looked when Hector first purchased HP 43 in 2011.

Wolfe1013 11-10-2016 02:25 AM

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As she looks today. I've only managed to do a basic cleanup so far.

Wolfe1013 11-10-2016 02:27 AM

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Wolfe1013 11-10-2016 02:35 AM

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Wolfe1013 11-10-2016 02:43 AM

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Engine bay and door tag.

Wolfe1013 11-10-2016 02:47 AM

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From Patrolman Jeff Berrett:

Wolfe1013 11-10-2016 02:53 AM

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The BOSS is Back...and Working for the Wyoming Highway Patrol

by Patrolman Steve Steiner

A new era for the Wyoming Highway Patrol began on Monday, May 23, 1988. On that day, the first six Ford Mustang patrol cars were issued to Patrolmen, and they began training to use them.

The Mustang is not new to highway patrol work. A specially prepared Mustang has been offered by Ford Motor Company for a few years now, and has been used by several highway patrols across the country. The concept is simple. A lighter, physically smaller car is able to accelerate more quickly, reach a higher top speed, and generally handles better than a larger, heavier car, given the current limitations placed on police engines by federal emissions and CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) requirements. The Ford Motor Company took the baseline LX version of the Mustang, added appropriate handling and other parts to make the vehicle suitable for police work, and began selling the concept. One added benefit in the present climate of austere governmental budgets is the price for such a car, which is considerably lower than full-size vehicles.

Three days of training were given to those officers selected to receive the cars, as it was felt that the Patrol’s current EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course) training might not be sufficient to provide the required safety margin, given the enhanced performance potential of the Mustangs. The first day was a familiarization drive across Wyoming on Interstate 80, from Cheyenne to Evanston. The new Mustangs were quite a different sight for motorists on Wyoming’s stretch of I-80. Many motorists and passengers greeted us with thumbs-up signs of approval. The cars certainly are attention-grabbing.

At Evanston, we were met by Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant Dennis M. Bringhurst and two other Utah Troopers. Since they were already familiar with the Mustangs through their assignment to them by the Utah Highway Patrol and the State of Utah, the Utah Troopers generously offered their services as EVOC training instructors. The first day of training was conducted in the classroom. Characteristics unique to the Mustang were discussed, along with specific handling techniques and cautions. The following day was spent on the Evanston Municipal Airport runway, where the cars and drivers were repeatedly put through their paces. The course was, in many respects, similar to the type of EVOC every officer goes through. The differences were in the tightness of the lanes for the various maneuvers, and the higher speeds at which they were accomplished. One additional area was the precision backing techniques involved. These also served to make the driver acutely aware of his vehicle and its reaction to every driving mode.

One aspect of the Mustang is quite different from other vehicles used by the Wyoming Highway Patrol – the Mustang has a 5-speed manual transmission. This difference requires more specialized techniques to use the car as a Patrol vehicle, in order to ensure safety and to protect the vehicle from unnecessary wear. Once one is properly aware of the clutch-transmission-parking brake relationship, stops can be accomplished with the smoothness and safety of a car with an automatic transmission. Talking on the radio does sometimes require timing the radio transmission with the vehicle transmission’s need for a right hand to shift. Overall, the pleasure of driving the vehicle with the smooth 5-speed, and the way overall performance is enhanced, outweighs any minor inconveniences learning the techniques.

One of the major concerns about the Mustang was what the smaller trunk and minimal rear seat would allow in the form of equipment to be carried. Storage limitations will probably exclude this type of vehicle from general use by the equipment-burdened motor carrier officers. Other than that, general patrol requirements for equipment can probably be met. A first aid kit, accident investigation kit, fire extinguisher, ammunition, blankets, shovel, commercial vehicle permits, and other such necessities fit nicely. A couple of “nice-to-have” items that had to be eliminated due to size were the “Wreck Ahead” sign and traffic cones. Patrolman Peterson has loaned me some of his own 6” cones, which do fit, to see if they will work.

Some of the standard equipment from larger patrol cars is being used on the new Mustangs. The standard Kustom Signals radar works, but different mounting systems have had to be devised to accommodate the Mustang’s almost total lack of any flat dashboard surface except right in front of the driver.

The light bar is a new Jetsonic mini bar, similar in exterior appearance to those used on many of the full-sized cars. It is also different in that it has two takedown lights, instead of the standard single takedown unit.

Also new for the Mustang is a Motorola radio unit that has a very small, programmable, digital display head for both the radio and Siren/Public Address functions. This new state-of-the-art radio is not only smaller than others in use by the Patrol, but is also easier to use and has other available options.

At the present time the Patrol staff is considering a recommendation made by the current Mustang drivers, that a seatcover with built-in shotgun scabbard be purchased for the rear seat of the cars. Presently the shotgun is being carried in front of the rear seat, in a manner similar to that used by many of the full-sized cars.

General public reaction to the new cars has been, in a word, “Great.” Everyone who sees the car likes its appearance, and, except for one multiple speed violator who would probably rather see us on bicycles, everyone thinks it is great that we have the really fast cars, just in case we need them.

In addition to the obvious actual and psychological benefits of having really quick, fast, tight-handling cars, other benefits also are provided by the Mustangs. Despite their high-performance nature (fuel injection, tuned exhaust headers, etc.) the Mustangs get good fuel economy, and they don’t appear to be a problem for two reasons. First, although the front end is low, it is not a lot lower than other patrol cars. The continental style of a long hood and really short trunk also keeps rear overhang to a minimum. Since that is often the part that hangs up crossing a median, the problem is minimized. Secondly, since the Mustangs have great acceleration and top-end speed, one doesn’t have the sense of urgency turning on speeders and other violators that can exist with some other types of patrol cars. This results in slower, possibly more cautious median crossings.

As a final bonus, the equipment and enthusiast-type styling of a Patrol Mustang will no doubt provide a higher trade-in value, possibly saving the State even more money in the long run.

At the time of this writing I have had occasion to arrest several people, and transport them in the Mustang. It was no more of a problem than with a full-size car. Obviously, we may encounter problems when more than one person is arrested at a time, or when we have to transport several people that may have been involved in an accident.

Initial personal impressions of the Mustang are all positive. It looks good, has plenty performance potential, and is a very comfortable car to work in. Once the entry and exit techniques are mastered, it really doesn’t take any longer to get into or out of the Mustang than it does some of the full-sized cars. Naturally, one has to be apprehensive about operation during Wyoming’s infamous winters, but overall I think the cars will prove quite worthy, and a welcome addition to the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Shared with permission from Patrolman Steiner.

Wolfe1013 11-10-2016 02:59 AM

The text from the photo in Post # 8 above:

Thursday, June 9, 1988

WHP Evaluates New Pursuit Vehicles

The Wyoming Highway Patrol is evaluating a group of new high performance pursuit vehicles.

Patrolman Jeff Berrett is the Valley patrolman chosen to drive a new Ford Mustang. The Patrol will make a decision on whether to purchase more than the original six evaluation vehicles. “We need to see how they’ll perform in the winter,” Berrett stated, “before we go ahead with replacing the whole fleet.”

The vehicles are modified by Ford before delivery to the Patrol and sport a 5.0 liter fuel injected V-8 engine. “Everybody asks me how fast it will go,” Berrett says, “and I can honestly tell them that I don’t know. I haven’t needed to find out. We bought these cars as pursuit vehicles, that means we can get stopped, turned around, and up to speed quickly to stop a violator. The acceleration these vehicles have allows us to get a violator shut down a lot faster and provide a higher degree of safety to the motoring public.”

Patrolmen selected to drive the new vehicles were sent to Cheyenne for training on the new radio equipment and then drove the cars to Evanston for a two-day training session with the Utah Highway Patrol. Berrett explained that the UHP was selected for the training because of their excellent safety record in operating the Mustangs. “They did a great job teaching us, we really appreciate their coming.” Berrett concluded.

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