Archive for Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kansas patrolmen celebrate 70 years

August 22, 2007

One of the great privileges I have as governor is getting to observe the work of the men and women of the Kansas Highway Patrol.

The KHP celebrates its 70th anniversary this month. During those seven decades, Kansas, and the Patrol, have both changed. But the dedication of our troopers to public safety has never been stronger.

The nation was in the depths of the Great Depression when the Highway Patrol was founded. Growing from a group of 10 inspectors, the KHP now employs more than 900 sworn and civilian employees.

These men and women help keep our roads and highways safe, stopping dangerous drivers, ensuring our traffic laws are obeyed and helping motorists in need. This mission includes law enforcement, but it also involves educating Kansans on how they can keep themselves safe when behind the wheel.

Members of the Highway Patrol also work with local law enforcement, providing extra manpower and expertise for traffic safety operations and other law enforcement activities.

Often they're called upon to participate in searches, either for criminals or for missing persons, because they can utilize airplanes and helicopters that add a whole new capability to law enforcement. Some of these aircraft, I should add, are housed in a hanger that was paid for with money the Highway Patrol seized from illegal drug runners.

And finally, the KHP is responsible for ensuring the safety of me and my family, as well as the people who work in and visit our capitol, and for that service I am especially grateful.

The motto of the Kansas Highway Patrol is "Service, Courtesy, and Protection." It was coined by the late Lt. Col. Ken Roberts, one of the troopers who was an original member of the Patrol when it was founded in 1937.

That motto still guides the men and women of the Kansas Highway Patrol. Their dedication to serving the people of Kansas makes us safer, on the roads and in our communities.

Our state is an even better place to live thanks to their work, and I know I'm joined by every Kansan in wishing the Kansas Highway Patrol a happy 70th anniversary, and in saying "thank you" for their service.

-- Kathleen Sebelius is governor of Kansas.

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