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gallery of police cars

The New Jersey State Police was created in 1921 and lead by their first Superintendent, H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the father of famed "Stormin' Norman " Schwarzkopf of more contemporary fame and well-deserved international accolade.

The distinctive triangular badge of the NJSP indicates the 3 founding principals of the NJSP : Duty, Honor, Fidelity, represented by a star in each corner of the insignia. This hat badge was designed by none other than Newark businessman and local jewelry designer, Julius George Schwarzkopf, father of the first superintendent, and "Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf's Grandfather!

Sixteen hundred men, between the ages of twenty-two and forty, made application for the one hundred and twenty positions allowed by the law to become New Jersey State Police Officers. Out of the total number of applicants, only two hundred and twenty-seven received a passing mark. From this number, one hundred and sixteen men reported to Sea Girt on September 1, 1921. Of this number, eighty-one officers and troopers completed the rigorous three month training program.

On December 1, 1921, the new troopers were administered the oath of office and on December 5, 1921, in a blinding snowstorm, started out on horseback and motorcycle to their posts throughout the state. The first modes of transportation consisted of sixty-one horses, twenty motorcycles, one car, and one truck. The horse remained the principal means of transportation throughout the 1920's. Toward the end of the decade, more cars and motorcycles were added as the demand for increased services in the traffic patrol and investigative field heralded a change in the basic patrol function.

In the 1930's, the State Police, with 208 men, were responsible for policing over 7,000 square miles of rural area of the state. The large, almost unmanageable, patrol area required troopers to be spread in small groups, sometimes only three to five men per substation. A change in traffic enforcement philosophy was also instituted in 1946, with the purchase of twenty-four conspicuously colored black and white patrol cars with large blue lettering. The vehicles would serve as a visual deterrent to potential violators. The remaining 163 police vehicles were inconspicuously painted black and utilized for both patrol and investigative functions. More black and white vehicles were to be added to the fleet each year.

With the reorganization of state government in 1948, the Department of State Police would become a Division in the Department of Law and Public Safety. The Division continued to expand in growth and functions with the opening of the Garden State Parkway in 1954. With the exceptional job troopers were doing patrolling the turnpike, there was never any doubt that troopers would also be assigned to exclusively patrol the new 173 mile super highway. A realignment of the Division in 1954 from two regions and district operations back to troop designations was completed.

The New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway details were temporarily consolidated as Troop D, Turnpike/Parkway Patrol. A tradition within the organization came to an end that same year. The motorcycle, which had been used as a patrol vehicle since the inception of the organization some 33 years earlier, was phased out of existence. An aviation unit was formed in 1960, despite the NJSP conducting sporadic air patrols with borrowed aircraft going back to the 1930's.

In 1975, the traditional black and white troop cars would enter the history books with the boots and breeches and motorcycles. An all white patrol car would emerge as the principle troop vehicle. The first complement of all white Plymouths had no other markings other than the “triangle” on the door and the words “State Police” on the trunk. After realizing how plain looking the cars were, chevrons were added to all car doors and the decal “State Police” added to the right front fender.

In 1978, the "STATE POLICE" markings were replaced with “STATE TROOPER.”

In 1979, the Highway Patrol Bureau of the Division of Motor Vehicles was transferred to the State Police and made part of the Field Operations Section. On January 20, 1984, the 125 members of the Highway Patrol Bureau were sworn in as members of the State Police.
The summer of 2003 saw the resurrection of the Motorcycle Unit. The pilot program brought 4 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glides to the Holmdel Barracks for use in Patroling the always traffic choked, Garden

The current body of more than 2,600 enlisted and sworn members, and 1,200 professional staff share one distinction regardless of their rank or designation, they are members of one of the most prestigious law enforcement organizations in the world -- the New Jersey State Police.





License Plates of the New Jersey State Police

When the NJSP was founded in 1921, the agency's fleet consisted of 61 horses, 1 patrol car, 20 patrol motorcycles, and 1 truck. License plates used by New Jersey State Police have been standard issue passenger license plates from 1921 until approximately the 1959.

Some older NJSP touring cars were stated to display a placard or "title sign" affixed to the car, which was used in addition to the passenger plates of the day.

There has been speculation that some stacked "SP" prefixed NJ license plates were used on NJSP vehicles prior to the June 1959 base plate, however these are Somerset County passenger plate designations and NOT a prefix for state police usage.
The New Jersey State Police did not commence "agency-specific" license plates on their marked vehicles until the early 1960's when the black on straw 1959 base plate was launched.


The following passenger license plate images through 1957 have been provided by Jim Moini of http://moini.net/
New Jersey license plate image1921-Passenger license plate used. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
White over green.
New Jersey license plate image1922-Passenger license plate used. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
White over black.
New Jersey license plate image1923-Passenger license plate used. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
Red-orange over black.
New Jersey license plate imageCirca 1922
New Jersey license plate image1924-Passenger license plate used. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
White over red.
New Jersey license plate image1925-Passenger license plate used. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
White over dark blue.
New Jersey license plate image1926-Passenger license plate used. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
White over orange.
New Jersey license plate image1927-Passenger license plate used with county prefix letter. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
White over green.
New Jersey license plate image1928-Passenger license plate used with county prefix letter. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
White over light blue.
New Jersey license plate image1929-Passenger license plate used with county prefix letter. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
White over dark grey.
New Jersey license plate imageCirca 1928
New Jersey license plate image1930-Passenger license plate used with county prefix letter. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
White over grey.
New Jersey license plate image1931-Passenger license plate used with county prefix letter. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
White over red.
New Jersey license plate image1932-Passenger license plate used with county prefix letter. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
White over black.
New Jersey license plate image1933-Passenger license plate used with county prefix letter. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
Red-orange over black.
New Jersey license plate image1934-Passenger license plate used with county prefix letter. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
Light green over black.
New Jersey license plate image1935-Passenger license plate used with county prefix letter. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
Silver over black.

Around the late 1920's/early 1930's, the New Jersey State Police introduced a "sign plate" that was used on certain patrol vehicles during that time. These sign plates were used as an "add on" to the regular passenger license plates registered to the patrol vehicle.
These markers were made of a moulded and textured rectangle measuring 6 1/4" x 10 5/8" for the sign portion and threaded steel mounting posts measuring 8 " from the bottom end into the top of the receiver on the backside of the plate.

The raised letters bearing the title STATE POLICE were painted in off-white with finely-crushed glass bead coating to provide reflective properties in low light conditions.

The threaded posts were dropped into openings in bumper fascias or fenders of marked NJSP vehicles with wing nuts tightened to secure to the fixture of the patrol car.
These posts usually had a steel bolstering sleeve on the posts to offer extra durability and strength to the posts themselves.

  • New Jersey license plate imageCirca late 1920's-1930's NJSP sign plate.
    Moulded heavy aluminum measuring 6 1/4" x 10 5/8".
    Reflective paint used for lettering.
    Steel mounting posts measuring 8" in total. Affixed into bumper fascia or fenders and tightened with wing nuts.

    (Courtesy Allan Attanasio)
  • New Jersey license plate imageCirca late 1920's-1930's NJSP sign plate.
    Moulded heavy aluminum measuring 6 1/4" x 10 5/8".
    Reflective paint used for lettering.
    Steel mounting posts measuring 8" in total. Affixed into bumper fascia or fenders and tightened with wing nuts.
    This one still has the bolstering sleeve to offer greater strength as seen on mounting post at left.

New Jersey license plate imageCirca 1936
New Jersey license plate image1936-Passenger license plate used with county prefix letter. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
Orange over black.
New Jersey license plate image1937-Passenger license plate used with county prefix letter. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
Light green over black.
New Jersey license plate image1938-Passenger license plate used with county prefix letter. Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.
Silver over black.
New Jersey license plate image 1938
New Jersey license plate image1939-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
Orange over black.
New Jersey license plate image1940-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
Light green over black.
New Jersey license plate image1941-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
Approx. 6 3/4" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
White over black.
New Jersey license plate imageNJSP Trooper Wagner- 1938
  • New Jersey license plate image1941-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
    Approx. 6 3/4" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
    Yellow-orange over black.
  • New Jersey license plate image1940
  • New Jersey license plate image1943- 1942 passenger license plate used but validated for 1943 via a 1 3/4" x 3 1/2" embossed steel tab with 43 embossed and a mounting hole that fit over the lower right corner of the 1942 plate.
  • New Jersey license plate image

New Jersey license plate image1944-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
Approx. 6 3/4" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
Black over straw.
New Jersey license plate image1945-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
Approx. 6 3/4" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
Dark blue over straw.
New Jersey license plate image1946-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
Approx. 6 3/4" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
Black over straw.
New Jersey license plate imageCirca 1945
  • New Jersey license plate image1947-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
    Approx. 6 3/4" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
    Blue over straw.
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New Jersey license plate image1949
New Jersey license plate image1948-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
Approx. 6 3/4" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
Black over straw.
New Jersey license plate image1949-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
Approx. 6 3/4" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
Straw over black.
New Jersey license plate image1950-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
Approx. 6 3/4" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
Black over straw.
  • New Jersey license plate image
  • New Jersey license plate image

New Jersey license plate image1951. Using Mercer County coded passenger plate. Courtesy Pat Storino.

New Jersey license plate image1951-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
Approx. 6 3/4" x 10 3/4".
Embossed steel.
Straw over black.
New Jersey license plate image1952-Passenger license plate used with stacked county prefix letters.
Approx. 6" x 12".
Embossed steel.
Orange over black.
New Jersey license plate image1953- 1952 passenger license plate used but validated for 1953 via a 1 1/4" x 2" embossed aluminum tab painted in black over straw with 53 embossed and serial number engraved over top.
New Jersey license plate image1953
New Jersey police car1953
New Jersey license plate image1954- 1952 passenger license plate used but validated for 1954 via a 1 1/4" x 2" embossed aluminum tab with 54 embossed in red and serial number engraved over top. Fitted into tab slots at either side of the embossed 52 underneath. New Jersey license plate image1955- 1952 passenger license plate used but validated for 1955 via a 1 1/4" x 2" embossed aluminum tab with 55 embossed in white and serial number engraved over top. Fitted into tab slots at either side of the embossed 52 underneath. New Jersey license plate image1956- 1952 passenger license plate used but validated for 1956 via a 1 1/4" x 2" embossed aluminum tab with 56 embossed in black and serial number engraved over top. Fitted into tab slots at either side of the embossed 52 underneath.
New Jersey license plate image

New Jersey license plate image1957
  • New Jersey license plate image1957-1959 issue. Embossed steel.
    New standard measuring 6" x 12".
    It was introduced in late 1956 and was validated by means of a windshield decal through 1959.
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In 1959, the state of New Jersey "re-plated" all motor vehicles registered in the state which included the vehicles of the NJSP.
The plates were embossed and made of three different types of metals spaced-out over several years: thin aluminum, heavy steel (which rusted prematurely) and galvanized light steel.
These undated plates were painted black over straw. NJSP license plates had the title STATE POLICE embossed at the top center of the plate between the upper mounting holes and N.J. embossed at the bottom center of the plate. The registration number consisted of the prefix SP followed by a short dash and the assignment number prefixed by the letter A.
These plates had an embossed border, but the border was painted with the straw background color.
It is believed that the numbers for NJSP license plates commenced at SP-A100 and that the numbers could be re-issued upon transfer to a newer vehicle.

  • New Jersey license plate imageEarly 1960's-1970's issue. Embossed light galvanized steel.
    Likely used in mid-1960's.
  • New Jersey license plate imageCourtesy Robert Ward
  • New Jersey license plate image
  • New Jersey license plate imageEarly 1960's sample issue.
    This version is made of thin aluminum and features a raised border.
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  • New Jersey license plate image
  • New Jersey license plate imageLate 1960's-1977 issue.
    Similar to previous issue in color, format and numbering, however this embossed aluminum version utilizes a step border.
  • New Jersey license plate image1967
  • New Jersey police car
  • New Jersey police car
  • New Jersey police car
  • New Jersey police car
  • New Jersey police car(Courtesy John Kafka)
  • New Jersey license plate image
  • New Jersey license plate image1977-1979 issue. Embossed aluminum.
    Features NEW JERSEY spelled-out in full.
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New Jersey license plate image

New Jersey license plate image

New Jersey license plate image

As can already be seen above, the variations on NJSP license plates for the course of almost 20 years were subtle. There was also a lot of over-lap where older plates were transferred onto newer cars where some early 1960's plates were still being used into the 1970's.
In 1979, the change in NJSP license plates was not so subtle. A bold color scheme of buff over medium blue was introduced to all drivers in the Garden State that year and was issued through 1992.
The NJSP version of the plate still used the same formatting as the previous black over straw issue, however a silhouette of the state shape was used as the dash between the SP prefix and the assignment number.

  • New Jersey license plate image1979-1992 issue. Buff over medium blue.
    Much like the previous issues, these were still being used long after production ceased and some of these blue plates were still seen on some NJSP vehicles well into 1998.
  • New Jersey license plate imageCourtesy Jay Weinstein

New Jersey license plate image

New Jersey license plate image

New Jersey license plate image

In 1992, New Jersey went to a completely new style of license plate, including those used by the State Police. The plates were made of embossed aluminum but had a completely reflective background.
The background was comprised of a medium yellow at the top of the plate just below the step border where it gradually faded into white towards the bottom. The state name was inscribed in silkscreened font in the top center of the plate, as were two "decal boxes" in the upper right corners which were never used for validation decals by the NJSP.
STATE POLICE was embossed between the lower mounting holes.
The numbering system continued with the SP prefix followed by the state silhouette "dash", the letter A and three numbers.
On later issues, subtle changes to the background color and state name font took place, and around 2011, the state silhouette "dash" was dropped to make room for an A suffix. This was done to accommodate an increase in the NJSP fleet numbers.

  • New Jersey license plate image1992-Current issue. Black over reflective yellow and white.
    Embossed STATE POLICE title moved to the bottom center of the plate and state name silkscreened at top center.
  • New Jersey license plate image
  • New Jersey license plate image
  • New Jersey license plate imageCirca 2011-Current. Subtle change in font used for state name and deeper yellow used for background.
    State silhouette "dash" dropped and an A suffix added to assignment number.

    (Courtesy Jim Moini)
  • New Jersey license plate image

New Jersey license plate image

New Jersey license plate image



New Jersey State Police assigned to New Jersey Turnpike

New Jersey license plate imageThe New Jersey Turnpike (shortened to NJTP and colloquially known to New Jerseyans as "the Turnpike") has been a New Jersey toll road since it opened in 1951 and is maintained by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. The Turnpike is the sixth-busiest toll road and is one of the most heavily traveled highways in the United States. Having a total of 148 miles, the Turnpike's southern terminus begins at Interstate 295 near the border of Pennsville and Carneys Point Townships in Salem County, one mile east of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Its northern terminus is located at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, Bergen County. The Turnpike is a major thoroughfare providing access to various localities in New Jersey, as well as Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York. The route divides into four roadways at exit 8A, with lanes restricted to carrying only cars, and with lanes for cars, trucks and buses.
The NJTA has contracted the NJSP to provide enforcement of traffic and other laws since 1954. This eventually created what is known as "Troop D" (Turnpike Region) which currently has three stations (Cranbury, Moorestown and Newark). These stations are supplemented with Tactical Patrols Units. These specialized tactical patrol units are assigned to high accident areas in each station area to reduce motor vehicle crashes, enhance police presence and visibility and increase traffic safety and enforcement. Commercial Vehicle Inspection units as well as Criminal Investigation staff are also deployed throughout the Turnpike Region.
The NJTA finances the deployment of NJSP resources dedicated to the region, which is why some NJSP patrol cars run Turnpike license plates instead of State Police plates.
Typically, the three numbers on the license plate are also the patrol unit assignment number.


New Jersey license plate image

New Jersey license plate image

New Jersey license plate image

New Jersey license plate image

  • New Jersey license plate image1952-1956 Turnpike issue.
    Embossed steel. Approx. 6 3/4" x 10 3/4"
    Yellow-orange over black.
    Validated for 1956 with black over aluminum validation tab.

    (Courtesy Ross Day)
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  • New Jersey license plate imageCirca 1959-1960's Turnpike Sample.
    Embossed thin aluminum.
    Possible prototype.

    (Courtesy Jim Moini)
  • New Jersey license plate image1960's Turnpike Sample.

    (Courtesy David Doernberg)
  • New Jersey police car and cowCirca 1966
  • New Jersey license plate image1960's Turnpike issue.
    Heavy steel version.

    (Courtesy Robert Ward)
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  • New Jersey license plate image
  • New Jersey license plate image1970's Turnpike issue.
    Embossed aluminum with step border.

    (Courtesy Jim Moini)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1979-1992 Turnpike issue.
    Buff over medium blue.

    (Courtesy Jim Moini)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1992- Current Turnpike issue.
    Black over reflective yellow and white.

    (Courtesy Jim Moini)
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  • New Jersey license plate image
  • New Jersey license plate imageCirca 2011-current Turnpike issue.
    Dropped the state silhouette "dash" to make room for fourth number.

    (Courtesy Jim Moini)
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  • New Jersey license plate image



New Jersey State Police assigned to Garden State Parkway

New Jersey license plate imageThe Garden State Parkway (GSP) is a 173-mile limited-access toll parkway that stretches the length of New Jersey from the New York line at Montvale to Cape May at New Jersey's southernmost tip. Its name refers to New Jersey's nickname, the "Garden State." Most New Jersey residents refer to it as simply "the Parkway" or "the Garden State".
The Parkway was originally designated as the Route 4 Parkway when it was started in 1947 in Union County, but, due to lack of funds, only 11 miles were completed by 1950. The solution was for the state to establish the New Jersey Highway Authority in 1952 to oversee construction and operation as a self-liquidating toll road. The Parkway's official, but unsigned, designation is Route 444. At its north end, the Parkway becomes the Garden State Parkway Connector, a component of the New York State Thruway system that connects to the Thruway mainline in Ramapo. The Parkway has been ranked as the busiest toll highway in the USA based on the number of toll transactions. The Parkway is the longest highway in the state.
In 2003, the GSP and the New Jersey Turnpike were merged into the one managing organization under the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. The previous Highway Authority and the current NJTA has contracted the NJSP to provide enforcement of traffic and other laws since the earliest days. The GSP section of enforcement oversight, like the Turnpike, falls under the umbrella of "Troop D" (Parkway Region) which currently has three stations (Bass River, Holmdel and Bloomfield). These stations are supplemented with Tactical Patrols Units. These specialized tactical patrol units are assigned to high accident areas in each station area to reduce motor vehicle crashes, enhance police presence and visibility and increase traffic safety and enforcement. Commercial Vehicle Inspection units as well as Criminal Investigation staff are also deployed throughout the Turnpike Region.
The previous Highway Authority and currently the NJTA finances the deployment of NJSP resources dedicated to the region, which is why some NJSP patrol cars run HA (Highway Authority) license plates instead of State Police plates.
Most HA-prefixed license plates used by the NJSP had an assignment number in the 700 series with the last two numbers on the license plate also being the patrol unit assignment number in the 100 series.


  • New Jersey license plate image1960's-1970's Highway Authority issue.
    Embossed aluminum with step border.

    (Courtesy Jim Moini)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1960's-1970's Highway Authority issue with 1997 validation decal.
    Embossed aluminum with embossed border.

    (Courtesy Mike Wiener)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1979-1992 Highway Authority issue with validation decals into 2011.

    (Courtesy Jim Moini)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1992-Current Highway Authority issue.
    Most numbers assigned to NJSP on this base plate are in the 700 series with the last two numbers indicating the unit assignment number in the 100 series as seen to the right and below.This practice of matching numbers appears to have been discontinued more recently.
    (Courtesy Jim Moini)
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  • New Jersey license plate image
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  • New Jersey license plate imageGSP decal on left saddle-box.
  • New Jersey license plate image



New Jersey State Police assigned to Atlantic City Expressway

New Jersey license plate imageThe Atlantic City Expressway (officially numbered, but unsigned, as Route 446 and abbreviated A.C. Expressway, ACE, or ACX, and known locally as "the Expressway"), is a 44.19-mile controlled-access toll road opened in 1965 and managed/operated by the South Jersey Transportation Authority. It serves as an extension of the freeway portion of Route 42 in Turnersville (which is itself an extension of Interstate 76) southeast to Atlantic City. It connects the Philadelphia metropolitan area with Atlantic City and other Jersey Shore resorts. In addition to providing a route between the Delaware Valley and Atlantic City, as well as other Shore Points, the expressway also serves other Southern New Jersey communities, including Hammonton and Mays Landing. The expressway intersects many major roads, including Route 73 in Winslow Township, Route 54 in Hammonton, Route 50 in Hamilton Township, the Garden State Parkway in Egg Harbor Township, as well as U.S. Route 9 in Pleasantville.
The South Jersey Transportation Authority finances the deployment of NJSP resources dedicated to the expressway, which is why some NJSP patrol cars run ACE (Atlantic City Expressway) license plates instead of State Police plates.


New Jersey license plate image
  • New Jersey license plate image1979- 1992 Atlantic City Expressway issue.

    (Courtesy Jim Moini)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1992-Current Atlantic City Expressway issue.
  • New Jersey police decal



Motorcycle License Plates used by New Jersey State Police

The New Jersey State Police began utilizing motorcycles as part of their patrol fleet since their inception in 1921 with twenty of them that first year.
NJSP motorcycles have always used regular state-issue motorcycle license plates (with no reserved numbers) which were made of embossed steel and measuring approximately 3 3/4" X 8" since day-one in 1921 until the motorcycle was eliminated from the NJSP fleet in 1954.

The plate's registration number began with the letter C (Cycle) followed by up to 4 numbers. Confirmed numbers used by NJSP motorcycles in the earliest days besides the ones seen in the photos below are: C 8216 (1927), C 5913 and C 5936 (1942), C 5625 (1943).
The motorcycle was re-introduced to the NJSP fleet in 2003. Current NJSP motorcycles plates follow any range of numbering systems in place for motorcycle registrations in the Garden State.

Again, my thanks to Jim Moini for sharing many of the motorcycle license plate photos seen below which can be seen at http://moini.net/



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New Jersey license plate imageLate 1940's- Early 1950's motorcycle fender plate.
(Courtesy Allan Attanasio)
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Special Types

  • New Jersey license plate imageNew Jersey Troopers Fraternal Association.
    Souvenir plate.
    Embossed thin aluminum.

    (Courtesy Bill Ceravola)
  • New Jersey license plate imageUnknown souvenir plate.
    Possibly a National Troopers Coalition souvenir plate.
    Embossed thin aluminum.



License Plates of the New Jersey Highway Patrol

New Jersey license plate imageIt is a very interesting but little-known fact among many that even prior to the NJSP's formation, the Inspectors of the state motor vehicle enforcement branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles were the first agents of statewide traffic law enforcement in New Jersey a full fifteen years before the formation of the New Jersey State Police!

Since 1906, these Motor Vehicle Inspectors shared patrol jurisdiction with the State Police on NJ highways until 1979. The Enforcement Branch was known as the Highway Patrol and was given the authority to conduct proactive and reactive traffic enforcement duties on NJ highways.

These MV Inspectors also operated within the parameters of a paramilitary structure with similar rank designations as their contemporaries with other state law enforcement. In 1979, the Enforcement Branch of the DMV was transferred to the NJSP.

The MV Highway Patrolmen were not immediately given the rank of Trooper, and were relegated primarily as truck weight enforcement officers, instructing academy classes on motor vehicle law and regulatory investigations.

In 1984, the balance of the 125 NJ MV Inspectors were put through an "abbreviated" state police class and given the rank of Trooper.

A big thanks goes out to one of the foremost authorities on the history of the Motor Vehicle Inspectors of the New Jersey DMV, Allan Attanasio. Allan was a big help with respect to the information and photos for this often-forgotten agency. If you have anything of interest to share with Allan including patches, badges and pretty much ANYTHING that is NJDMV, you can reach Allan at 1adam12@comcast.net


  • New Jersey license plate image1934 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.

    Light green over black.

    (Courtesy Lee Madigan)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1935 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.

    Silver over black.

    (Courtesy Lee Madigan)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1938 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 15". Embossed steel.

    White over black.

    (Courtesy Ron Hepkin)
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  • New Jersey license plate image
  • New Jersey license plate image1939 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.

    Orange over black.
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  • New Jersey license plate image1940 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
    Light green over black.

    (Courtesy Lee Madigan)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1941 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
    White over black.

    (Courtesy Lee Madigan)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1942 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
    Yellow-orange over black.
    (Courtesy John Willard)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1944 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
    Black over straw.
    (Courtesy John Willard)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1948 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
    Black over straw.
    (Courtesy Lee Madigan)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1949 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
    Silver over black.
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  • New Jersey license plate image1950 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
    Black over straw.
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  • New Jersey license plate image1951 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
    White over black.
    (Courtesy Lee Madigan)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1952-1956 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
    Orange over black.

    (Courtesy John Willard)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1956 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 10 3/4". Embossed steel.
    Reflective yellow-orange over black.

    (Courtesy Allan Attanasio)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1957 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 12". Embossed steel.
    Deep orange over black.

    (Courtesy Alan Attanasio)
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  • New Jersey license plate imageLate 1957-1958 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    Approx. 6" x 12". Embossed steel.
    Light orange over black.

    (Courtesy Allan Attanasio)
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  • New Jersey license plate image

As with the NJSP and other license plates issued in the Garden State, 1959 saw the introduction of an embossed 6" x 12" black over straw license plate for use by NJ DMV Officers/Inspectors. The earlier versions had the title MV OFFICER embossed at the top center of the plate between the upper mounting holes. The abbreviated N.J. was embossed along the bottom center of the plate. The plates were also made on three different types of metallic material: thin aluminum, heavy steel and light galvanized steel over the course of several years. The earlier plates had an embossed border painted as part of the straw background. The registration number had an MV prefix followed by a short dash and the assignment number prefixed with the letter A.
Later versions of this plate followed the same color and format but were exclusively embossed aluminum with a step border and the title MV INSPECTOR at the top center of the plate.
Eventually the A prefix ahead of the assignment number was dropped leaving only the MV- prefix followed by a number up to three digits.

  • New Jersey license plate image1959-1960's Motor Vehicle OFFICER issue sample.
    Embossed thin aluminum.

    (Courtesy David Doernberg)
  • New Jersey license plate image1960's-1970's Motor Vehicle INSPECTOR issue sample.
    Embossed thin aluminum.
  • New Jersey license plate image
  • New Jersey license plate image1960's-1970's Motor Vehicle INSPECTOR issue.
    No A prefix ahead of assignment number.
    Embossed thin aluminum with embossed border.

    (Courtesy Allan Attanasio)
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  • New Jersey license plate image
  • New Jersey license plate image1970's Motor Vehicle INSPECTOR issue.
    No A prefix ahead of assignment number.
    Embossed thin aluminum with debossed border.

    (Courtesy Louis Pannucci)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1977-1979 Motor Vehicle Inspector issue.
    NEW JERSEY spelled-out in full along bottom center.

    (Courtesy Allan Attanasio)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1979-1992 Motor Vehicle Department issue.
    MV prefix and state slogan.

    (Courtesy Allan Attanasio)
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  • New Jersey license plate image1979-1992 STATE GOVERNMENT issue.
    Buff over medium blue.
    M prefix ahead of assignment number.
    This type used when the Highway Patrol Bureau became merged into the NJSP, their marked patrol cars of the day used these plates.
    (Courtesy Allan Attanasio)
  • New Jersey license plate image1981 Souvenir license plate issued by NJ DMV to commemorate their 75th Anniversary.

    (Courtesy of Allan Attanasio)


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