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The Georgia State Patrol was formed on March 19 1937. It was the motoring public who first advocated the need for the Department of Public Safety. Traffic fatalities, increased crime, and a need for a larger law enforcement agency with statewide arrest powers, led Georgia lawmakers to create the State Patrol.

In the summer of 1937, the first Trooper School was held at Georgia Tech and graduated 80 Troopers. The Department of Public Safety comprised of three divisions: The first being uniformed-State Patrol, the second a division of criminal identification, detection, prevention, and investigation and the third division was for driver licensing. The first vehicles of the GSP were thirty three 1937 Fords with an 85 horsepower engine and bulletproof windshields. They were painted gun metal gray with orange lettering.
The 1950's saw a steady expansion of all levels of state policing including communications and investigative work. Illicit drug investigations were stepped-up in the 1970's and 80's. The men and women of the GSP have proven their diligence in state law enforcement at all levels including such high profile events as the Democratic National Convention of 1988, the late Winter "Storm of the Century" in March of 1993 as well as when Georgia hosted the world at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta.

Today, the GSP employs over 850 Troopers, 246 dispatchers, 334 license examiners and 530 civilian employees. The GSP has 48 patrol posts throughout the Peach State.




License Plates of the Georgia State Patrol



Georgia State patrol car and officers

The earliest known license plate usage by the GSP was in 1939. The plate was made of embossed steel and was issued in pairs. The plate measured 5 1/4" x 12 1/2" and had dark blue characters over yellow. The year was centered at the top of the plate over up to two numbers followed by the suffix P for Patrol. The state name was centered along the bottom of the plate.
In 1940, the same size embossed steel plate was also issued in pairs, however the colors were orange over green. The word STATE was centered at the top of the plate over the prefix P followed by up to two numbers. The state name was abbreviated to GA and the year was abbreviated as 40 which can be seen in the photo above showing 1940 GSP plate # P 73.

  • Georgia police carGeorgia State Patrol's first fleet. February 17 1938
  • Georgia police car1940 GSP license # P 72
    (Courtesy Norman Rhoades)
  • Georgia state police license plate1941 issue. Embossed steel. 6 1/4"x 14" Reflective yellow glass bead over blue with color peach decal.
    There is belief by some that 1941 was the beginning of Post numbers on GSP plates.
    In this case Post 11 (Hinesville) Car 4 or it can be car # 114.
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The years of 1942 until the late 1960's prove to have many gaps and lots of mystery as to what kind of license plates were used on GSP vehicles. There is not much confirmed information of use, nor are there any known surviving examples (so far) from this era. What is known for this era follows until new information, or hopefully newly-discovered images arise.
1942: An embossed steel plate was apparently issued REAR ONLY measuring 5 7/16"x 12 3/8". The colors were believed to be red and white over a blue background. The year 1942 was centered at the top of the plate. The center left of the plate had the legend STATE over PAT followed by a dash and up to two numbers. The state name GEORGIA was spelled out in full along the bottom center.

1948: An embossed aluminum plate was also apparently issued REAR ONLY and measuring 5 1/4"x 12 1/2". The colors were black over aluminum. The top of the plate had GA 48 centered between the upper mounting holes. On the center left portion of the plate was the prefix S/P followed by a dash and up to four numbers. The base line had the state slogan PEACH STATE centered between the lower mounting holes.

1949: An embossed aluminum plate was issued REAR ONLY and measuring the same as the 1948 issue. The colors were red over aluminum. The top of the plate had GA 49 centered between the upper mounting holes. The center left of the plate had the word STATE over PAT followed by two numbers, a dash and one number. It is believed that the two numbers before the dash indicated the Post number, but this information is not confirmed. Plate number 10-3 was seen in a contemporary photograph, which we need a copy of desperately!

1950's THROUGH 1966: There is absolutely ZERO information or photos of any GSP license plate issues from that time frame.

1967: A standard 6"x 12" embossed steel plate was issued to the GSP. The colors were white over red. The state name GEORGIA was embossed in the center between the upper mounting holes. The prefix GSP followed by a dash and up to four numbers occupied the center of the plate. 19 PEACH STATE 67 occupied the lower portion of the plate with the state slogan occupying the space between the lower mounting holes. This format had apparently been used from 1957 until 1969, with the first two numbers indicating the Post number and the latter numbers for the vehicle number.



Georgia state police car and oficer
  • Georgia state patrol license plate1950 P-prefix. Black over aluminum
    Approx. 5 3/8" x 12 1/2". Perhaps a SP plate OR a 4501 lbs.-5000 lbs. weight class car plate. Georgia typically placed the P for Patrol as a SUFFIX. It is also believed that during this time, the Post number was separated by a dash before the unit number. Post 29 Car 5 would be plausible, but there is no dash separating the numbers.
    (Courtesy Jason Stone)
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Georgia state police car and oficer

In 1970, the GSP began issuing confirmed "Post Plates" for their marked patrol vehicles. That year, plates were white over medium blue and followed the regular passenger format, however with a number up to two digits indicating the Post number followed by a dot seperator, the letter P for Patrol, another dot seperator and a number up to two digits indicating the car number by seniority. Post Commanders would be issued the #1 plate for their Post followed by the commensurate rank structure down to the most rookie Trooper. The bottom of the plate had 19 PEACH STATE 70 with the state slogan occupying the space between the lower mounting holes.

The Post numbers for the Georgia State Patrol for the Post series (1970-1983) is as follows:

1: Griffin 2: LaGrange 3: Cartersville 4: Villa Rica 5: Dalton 6: Gainesville 7: Toccoa 8: Madison 9: Atlanta 10: Americus 11: Hinesville 12: Thomasville 13: Tifton 14: Donalsonville 15: Perry 16: Helena 17: Washington 18: Reidsville 19: Swainsboro 20: Dublin 21: Sylvania 22: Waycross 23: Brunswick 24: Newnan 25: Thomson 26: Thomaston 27: Blue Ridge 28: Canton 29: Cedartown 30: Cordele 31: Valdosta 32: Athens 33: Milledgeville 34: Manchester 35: Jekyl Island 36: Douglas 37: Lawrenceville 38: Rome 39: Cuthbert 40: Albany 41: Lafayette 42: Savannah 43: Calhoun 44: Forsyth 45: Statesboro



Georgia state police car and oficer
  • Georgia state patrol license plate1970-issue.First confirmed "Post Plate" issue.
    Post 5 (Dalton) Car 4 which was assigned to Trooper Bud White
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  • Georgia state patrol license plateThis license plate was issued to Colonel R.H. Burson, Commander of the Georgia State Patrol at that time.
    This plate was affixed to the rear bumper of his black 1970 Oldsmobile 88. Features the embossed Capitol Dome of the Georgia legislature, usually reserved for license plates of members of the elected state senate and house of representatives.
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  • Georgia state police car and officer
  • Georgia state patrol license plate1971-1976 issue. Embossed aluminum. 5 Year Post plate. Blue over reflective white. Post 9 (Atlanta) Car 28 strangely with Murray County decal instead of Fulton County decal.

    (Courtesy of Carlton Stallings)
  • Georgia state patrol license plate1975 GSP Pontiac LeMans with Post 9 (Atlanta) Car 34 plate
  • Georgia state patrol license plate1976-1983 issue. A 1979 law allowed these "5 year plates" to be extended through 1982. Embossed aluminum.
    Red over reflective white. Post 41 (Lafayette) Car 1
    Issued to Post Commander Sgt. Charles S. Dunn
  • Georgia state patrol license plate1976-1983 issue. A 1979 law allowed these "5 year plates" to be extended through 1982. Embossed aluminum.
    Red over reflective white. Post 19 (Swainsboro) Car 13
  • Georgia state patrol car
  • Georgia state police license plate1976 “Georgia Federal and State" issue.
    This special prefixed license plate was issued to undercover and unmarked vehicles utilized by Joint Forces Operations between state and federal law enforcement in Georgia from the mid to late 1970's.
    Some state that the GFS prefix was only coincidental.
  • Georgia state patrol car
  • Georgia state police officers and car

In 1983, a green over reflective white license plate was issued for the GSP in the same design and layout as regular passenger plates of the day. The use of this type by GSP was short, and so far there are no surviving specimens nor photographs to showcase this type.

The plate was run "rear only" and comprised of the top banner of the plate in silkscreened green reading 19 followed by the upper left mounting hole followed by GEORGIA in the center, then the upper right mounting hole followed by 83.
The center field of the plate comprised of the Post number followed by the letter P and an assignment number up to three digits all embossed and painted green.
The bottom legend of the plate had the state slogan "PEACH STATE" sillkscreened in green.

In 1984, a new "agency-specific graphic" license plate was issued for marked GSP vehicles. The plate was reflective white and had the state name GEORGIA silkscreened in red large upper case font between the upper mounting holes.
The center field of the plate featured a silkscreened red state outline with the words STATE over TROOPER in upper case blue silkscreen. An embossed number up to three numerals was situated to the right center. The state slogan of "PEACH STATE" was in smaller red upper case silkscreened font between the lower mounting holes. The embossed number was purported to be the Trooper's badge and patrol car number. This type was used until the 1990 issue came out.



During this time, many GSP vehicles also sported 1983 Georgia "State Vehicle" license plates where agency-specific plates were not prepared nor issued for vehicles being immediately deployed. The plates were of the same 1983 layout as mentioned above, but the center portion of the plate had a vertical decal with the word STATE vertically justified next to the prefix GOVT stacked and embossed in green to the left of an embossed green set of numerals up to five digits. The center bottom "navel" sometimes sported a county decal (green letters over white) or no decal at all which was the correct configuration for a State Government plate. These plates were also used until 1990.



  • Georgia state police license plate1984-1990 issue. Embossed aluminum. Silkscreened red and blue over reflective white with embossed blue numerals indicating badge/car number.
  • Georgia state police license plate
  • Georgia state police car
  • Georgia state police license plate1983-1990 State Government issue.
    Used on GSP vehicles for rapid assignment/deployment where agency-specific plates were not available.
    Reflective white background with reflective and embossed green characters.
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  • Georgia state police car

In 1990, Georgia introduced an entirely new license plate for general issue, and the GSP was also included in the new design. The plate had a reflective white background with a gradient of orange color concentrated from the bottom of the plate and fading towards the top center of the plate.

The state name was stylized green silkscreen where the letter "O" of Georgia was a design of a peach in the same shade of orange as the lower background.
The number 19 was silkscreened in green to the left of the upper left mounting hole and the number 90 was silkscreened in green to the right of the upper right mounting hole of the plate in what was known as the "sticker navel" where validation decals for subsequent years would be affixed.
The center left of the plate showcases the full color shoulder patch emblem of the GSP followed by the assignment number of the trooper/car embossed in black.
The center bottom of the plate between the lower mounting holes has a recessed rectangular "navel" with the inscription "STATE TROOPER" silkscreened in black.
As this plate was a multi year plate to be used beyond 1990, no known validation decals were issued by the GSP after 1991. This concerned many Georgia motorists and other busy-bodies who contacted the GSP to complain that GSP troopers were driving around in patrol vehicles that had "expired tags".

This prompted the GSP to issue plain white decals to first cover the 90 on the upper right corner of the plate and extended to cover the 19 of the upper left corner of the plate over time to subside the criticism.

  • Georgia license plate image1990-1998 issue. Peach base. Embossed aluminum.
    Reflective green, orange and black over reflective white.
    Embossed assignment number in black.
  • Georgia police car
  • Georgia license plate image1990-1998 issue. Peach base. Embossed aluminum.
    Reflective green, orange and black over reflective white.
    Embossed assignment number in black. Features 1991 validation decal.

    (Courtesy Robert Ward)
  • Georgia license plate image1990-1998 issue. Peach base. Embossed aluminum.
    Reflective green, orange and black over reflective white.
    Embossed assignment number in black. Features white "blank" decal to cover the latter half of the year.

    (Courtesy Robert Ward)
  • Georgia license plate image1990-1998 issue. Peach base. Embossed aluminum.
    Reflective green, orange and black over reflective white.
    Embossed assignment number in black. Features white "blank" decals to cover both halves of the year in the upper corners of the plate.
    (Courtesy Robert Ward)
  • Georgia license plate imageGSP Uniformed Division unmarked car plate. Badge 084 (a lieutenant out of GSP Headquarters) would have been assigned this plate. Numbering followed the following issuance blocs: Colonel 1, Lt. Colonel 2, Major 3-9, Captain 10-34, Lieutenant 35-85, and all others from 86 and up.
    (Courtesy Captain Carlton Stallings-GSP Retired)
  • Georgia state police car
  • Georgia state police license plate1990-1998 State Government issue. Used on GSP vehicles for rapid assignment/deployment where agency-specific plates were not available. Reflective white background with reflective and embossed green orange and black characters.
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In 1998, Georgia introduced an entirely new license plate for general issue, and the GSP was also included in the new design. The plate had a reflective white background with a graphic orange and green design of a peach in the center of the plate.
The state name was stylized black copperplate silkscreen from the far left edge of the plate just below the upper left mounting hole followed by the extension of "...on my mind" in italic lower case black silkscreen font.
The center left of the plate showcases the full color shoulder patch emblem of the GSP followed by the assignment number of the trooper/car embossed in black.
The center bottom of the plate between the lower mounting holes has the inscription "STATE TROOPER" silkscreened in black.
As this plate was a multi year plate to be used beyond 1998, no known validation decals were issued by the GSP after 1998. This concerned many Georgia motorists and other busy-bodies who contacted the GSP to complain that GSP troopers were driving around in patrol vehicles that had "expired tags".
This prompted the GSP to issue plain white decals to cover the 98 on the lower right corner of the plate and extended to later completely eliminate the 98 in the lower right corner of the plate to subside the criticism.

  • Georgia license plate image1998-2005 issue. Early type with 98 showing in bottom right decal navel.
  • Georgia license plate on carCourtesy Carlton Stallings
  • Georgia license plate image1998-2005 issue. Second type with white decal covering 98 in bottom right decal navel.

    (Courtesy Robert Ward)
  • Georgia license plate image1998-2005 issue. Third type with no year placed on plate.

    (Courtesy Robert Ward)
  • Georgia state police car
  • Georgia state police license plate1998-2005 issue reserved number for unmarked patrol vehicles.
    The last 2 numbers are the trooper's badge number.

    (Courtesy Carlton Stallings)
  • Georgia state police license plate on car
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  • Georgia state police license plate on carState Government plate in use on GSP vehicle.

In 2004, the state of Georgia re-plated once again, however the GSP didn't begin using these plates until early 2005.The new plates had black embossed characters over a reflective white plate with gradient shades of gray from top to bottom. The top of the plate had www. in the top left corner and .gov in the top right corner all in lower case letters. The state name was positioned in the center in larger upper case letters. The lettering along the top is white with black outline. The ubiquitous GSP shoulder patch emblem took-up its usual spot on the left center of the plate ahead of the embossed assignment number. The legend STATE TROOPER occupies the bottom center of the plate in black. A grey solid rectangle occupies the bottom left decal navel. The GSP learned from their previous errors and ensured that no year could be showing on the plate requiring corrective action in the years hence.

  • Georgia license plate image2005-Current issue.

    (Courtesy Dan Blevins)
  • Georgia license plate on car
  • Georgia state police car
  • Georgia state police car



Front License Plates of Georgia State Patrol


In Georgia, there has been no requirement for motor vehicles to display a front license plate for many years. As a result, most GSP vehicles have never displayed a front plate. One of the popular front plates used by the GSP was the Georgia state flag plate used from 1956 to 2001.

Many Georgia residents found the inclusion of the Confederate Battle Flag offensive and representative of a distasteful segment of Georgia history. For years the design of the flag was challenged and in January, 2001, the Georgia House and Senate voted on a new design intended to recognize the Confederate Battle Flag's historical significance while minimizing its prominence as representative of the state of Georgia. Governor Roy Barnes signed the legislation that had made its way through the Georgia Legislature in only six days and a new flag was quietly raised over the state capital on January 31. The use of these plates on the front of GSP vehicles was no longer permitted.

Since then, the GSP has chiefly opted to not run any plates on the front of the majority of GSP vehicles.

  • Georgia license plate image1956-2001 embossed state flag issue.
  • Georgia license plate on car(Courtesy L.M. Boyd)
  • Georgia state police car
  • Georgia state police car
  • Georgia state police license plateFlat screened aluminum. Dark blue over gray.
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  • Georgia license plate imageGeorgia State Troopers Association "booster" plate. Embossed thin aluminum.
  • Georgia license plate on car



Georgia State Patrol Special Issues

On July 1 1987, The Georgia State Patrol commenced the Aggressive Criminal Enforcement or ACE program. Public Safety Commissioner Curtis D. Earp Jr started the Excellent Achievement Recognition Policy (EARP) in an effort to recognize GSP troopers who did good work.
The Program was patterened after the Ohio State Highway Patrol's ACE program that was instituted with great success in 1972. The ACE program awards a trooper with a lightning bolt decal for the driver's side door of his/her patrol car each time the trooper effects a felony arrest by apprehending a fugitive, recovers a stolen car, identifies an abused or neglected child or a child being sought by the authorities.

Five lightning bolts within a year made the Trooper an ACE, just as five confirmed kills made a World War One fighter pilot an ace. This five-bolt recognition was the issuance of a GSP ACE license plate that could be run on Trooper's patrol car in lieu of the regular GSP plate. The plate was reflective white, and with the exception of the step border and recessed decal navels, was entirely silkscreened. The state name was centered at the top in upper-case dark blue letters. The center left of the plate had the words AGGRESSIVE (over) CRIMINAL (over) ENFORCEMENT in upper case dark blue letters with the first letter of each word in bold to accentuate the acronym. The words STATE PATROL occupied the center bottom portion of the plate also in upper-case dark blue letters along with the last two digits of the year in the bottom right decal navel in dark blue silkscreen. The lightning bolts were red for 1987 and gold for 1988 and 1989 and were applied decals.

The ACE Trooper then became eligible for the Troop Award for the most lightning bolts earned. A merit pay increase was part of the arrangement and a chance to compete for the statewide "Blue Max" award, making the Trooper the "Ace of Aces". The first Blue Max recipient for the GSP was TFC Gene Scarbrough of Post 13 (Tifton)

In 1988, the number of required felony arrests/recoveries jumped from five to twenty five, which is when the bolt color went from red to gold. Despite this personal recognition, the ACE license plates were property of the Georgia Department of Public Safety and had to be surrendered upon leaving the employ of the GSP. Many ACE license plates were "lost" before that could happen.

It is unknown so far if the GSP still continues with an ACE program.

  • Georgia state police license plate1987 ACE plate. Achieved by 5 felony arrests within one year involving recovery of stolen vehicles. Each red lightning bolt signifies each one of those arrests. These award plates are highly coveted as a hard- earned trophy for the recipient's intrepid work above and beyond the regular call of duty.
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Georgia state police ace carA veritable lightning storm of ACE bolts on the driver's door of this Trooper's car!
  • Georgia state police license plate1989 ACE plate. Achieved by 25 felony arrests within one year involving recovery of stolen vehicles. Each gold lightning bolt signifies 5 of those arrests. These award plates are highly coveted as a hard- earned trophy for the recipient's intrepid work above and beyond the regular call of duty.
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  • Georgia state police license plate1990 ACE plate. Achieved by 25 felony arrests within one year involving recovery of stolen vehicles. Each gold lightning bolt signifies 5 of those arrests. These award plates are highly coveted as a hard- earned trophy for the recipient's intrepid work above and beyond the regular call of duty.
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  • Georgia state police license plate Front "booster" plate used on vehicles assigned to GSP Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team

    (Courtesy of Captain Carlton Stallings-GSP Retired)
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Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance License Plates

Georgia police patchThe Department of Public Safety is the State Lead Agency for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP). Under this program, DPS/MCCD conducts safety inspections of commercial motor vehicles (primarily trucks and buses), inspects highway shipments of hazardous materials, and performs compliance reviews (safety performance audits) on motor carriers. The Department adopts and enforces driver and vehicle safety regulations and hazardous materials regulations as part of this program. DPS/MCCD also enforces laws and regulations that govern vehicle size (height, width, and length) and vehicle weight. The Department operates 19 permanent weight and inspection stations throughout the State, primarily on Interstate highways. The stations are equipped with "weigh in motion" systems to screen vehicles. Selected vehicles are then weighed and measured to determine compliance. On bypass and side roads, MCCD Officers use portable scales to weigh selected vehicles. Another role for the Motor Carrier Compliance Division is the enforcement of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in the metropolitan Atlanta area. MCCD Officers patrol the highways, identifying and apprehending those who use the HOV lanes improperly. The Motor Carrier Compliance Division also performs a number of other tasks, including inspecting diesel powered over-the-road vehicles for dyed fuel (indicating the use of "off-road" diesel), rendering assistance at accident scenes, providing aid in disasters, and an aggressive public outreach program. MCCD Officers are trained and certified in accordance with standards of the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council, and have full arrest powers in the performance of their duties. In addition, because of the detailed regulations governing commercial vehicle and driver safety, size, weight, and hazardous materials, MCCD Officers spend many hours each year in training in these specialized topics.
Current license plates used on the vehicles of MCCD personnel are similar to those of the State Patrol. The background of the plate is white. The shoulder patch emblem of the agency is screened in full color to the left of the black embossed badge number of the officer.
STATE OFFICER is silkscreened in black at the lower center of the plate.

  • Georgia police license plateCurrent issue MCCD license plate. Embossed aluminum.
    Black over reflective white. Badge number of officer embossed in black.
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Georgia State Patrol Motorcycle License Plates

The Georgia State Patrol did not have any motorcycles in their fleet until 1941. There were no special license plates issued for the patrol motors at that time. The use of motorcycles on patrol was gradually phased-out until a limited re-introduction in the mid 1970's chiefly for parades and escort duties.

More recently, there has been a resurgence of motorcycle use on patrol by the GSP. A miniature version of the car-sized license plate is used on the motors, however a good clear photo/descrition is needed.

  • Georgia police motorcycleSpecially-made circa 1974 Governor's Escort plate made for Lieutenant Harry Embry. Lt. Embry was issued GSP badge #88 and a very large man known as "Big 88". He was the driver and security escort for the state governor at the time.
    (Courtesy Tony Aleria)
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  • Georgia police motorcycle
  • Georgia state police motorcycles
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  • Georgia police motorcycleCurrent issue GSP motorcycle license plate. Badge 988


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