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The Wyoming Highway Patrol was founded in 1933 and replaced the old and problem-plagued Wyoming Department of Law Enforcement. A suitable and honorable replacement was needed to allow a relatively seamless transition, so the Governor of the day approached the state Highway Commission to propose the establishment of a highway patrol.

California was setting the example for the western states with the successful implementation of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in 1929. Inspector William White of the CHP conducted the first WHP recruit class. Six patrolmen were selected from the remaining 14 who had attended the training school. 5 more were appointed shortly thereafter in that first year.

Experimental use of radar for speed enforcement began in 1954 along US 30 between Cheyenne and Laramie. 1963 was a benchmark year for the WHP as the Legislature approved the authorized force of the WHP to 75 officers, and the last 2 motorcycles were phased out of the patrol fleet.

In 1964, the WHP moved into the new Highway Department complex, and by 1969, the WHP ranks swelled to 99 officers and to 142 by the Fall of 1975. In 2000, a Canine program was implemented for the WHP.

Today, there are about 190 uniformed officers and many other Wyoming Highway Patrol personnel who continually make a big highway safety difference — day in and day out all across Wyoming.

In a typical 12-month period, uniformed troopers will log over 5- million miles patrolling the 6,500 miles of the state highway system. They will write thousands of citations for violations of traffic laws, investigate more than 6,000 motor vehicle crashes and, generally and continually, make Wyoming highways as safe as they can be.

Officers of the WHP's Commercial Carrier Division inspect commercial carriers, so they don't become oversize hazards to themselves and to drivers and occupants of smaller, normal-sized vehicles.

There are the patrol's ports of entry personnel that also inspect and weigh commercial vehicles so that illegally overweight loads will not able to inflict added damage to state roads.

They also collect fees from truckers that help repair the wear and tear they do cause highways. Wyoming's rural western lifestyle and massive expanse of land only serve to bolster the need for the Wyoming Highway Patrol to continue on the course it has set for itself.




License Plates of the Wyoming Highway Patrol

The earliest examples of license plate usage by the Wyoming Highway Patrol in the 1930's showed low-numbered Highway Department license plates affixed to the front and rear of WHP cars.
The plates appeared in the regular coloring and format as the passenger car plates used at that time, with the exception of the letter H as a prefix to the number. It was not until 1953 that the HP prefix for Highway Patrol was used.

  • Wyoming  police license plate image1933 Highway Department issue. Embossed steel.
    Approx. 5 1/2" x 12". Black over ivory.
    Lower numbers used by Highway Patrol.

    (Courtesy Jack McGee)
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1934 Highway Department issue. Embossed steel.
    Approx. 5 1/2" x 12". White over red.
    Lower numbers used by Highway Patrol.

    (Courtesy Jack McGee)
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Wyoming police cars

Wyoming police cars

Wyoming police cars
Wyoming Highway Patrol 1935 (Courtesy University of Wyoming Library via Lewis Sudonick)

1935 issue: Embossed steel. Approx. 5 1/2" x 12". Blue over white. H- ## (over) WYOMING 1935
1936 issue: Embossed steel. Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". Black over white. 1936 WYOMING (over) H (embossed bucking bronco and cowboy) ##

  • Wyoming  police license plate image1937 Highway Department issue. Embossed steel.
    Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". Yellow over brown.
    Lower numbers used by Highway Patrol.
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Wyoming  police car imagePhoto courtesy of Jim Aitken

1938 issue: Embossed steel. Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". Yellow over dark blue. 1938 WYOMING (over) H (embossed bucking bronco and cowboy) ##

  • Wyoming  police license plate image1939 Highway Department issue. Embossed steel.
    Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". Dark blue over yellow-orange.
    Lower numbers used by Highway Patrol.

    (Courtesy Lewis Sudonick)
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1940 issue: Embossed steel. Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". White over delphinium blue. 1940 WYOMING (over) H (embossed bucking bronco and cowboy) ##


Wyoming  police license plate image

Wyoming  police license plate image
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1940 issue.

1941 issue: Embossed steel. Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". Red over white. 1941 WYOMING (over) H (embossed bucking bronco and cowboy) ##

  • Wyoming  police license plate image1942 Highway Department issue. Embossed steel.
    Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". Black over white.
    Lower numbers used by Highway Patrol.
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1943 Highway Department issue. Embossed steel.
    Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". Yellow-orange over black.
    Lower numbers used by Highway Patrol.
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1944 issue: Painted fibreboard. Approx. 5 1/4" x 13 1/4". Black over orange. 1944 WYOMING (over) H (painted bucking bronco and cowboy) ##
1945 issue: Embossed steel. Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". Black over white. 1945 WYOMING (over) H (embossed bucking bronco and cowboy) ##
1946 issue: Embossed steel. Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". Green over cream. 1946 WYOMING (over) H (embossed bucking bronco and cowboy) ##

  • Wyoming  police license plate image1947 Highway Department issue. Embossed steel.
    Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". White over black.
    Lower numbers used by Highway Patrol.

    (Courtesy Jack McGee)
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1948 issue: Embossed steel. Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". Brown over pale yellow. 1948 WYOMING (over) H (embossed bucking bronco and cowboy) ##

  • Wyoming  police license plate image1949 Highway Department issue. Embossed steel.
    Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". Red blue over cream-white.
    Lower numbers used by Highway Patrol.

    (Courtesy Jack McGee)
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1950 Highway Department issue. Embossed steel.
    Approx. 5 1/2" x 14". White over black.
    Lower numbers used by Highway Patrol.

    (Courtesy Lewis Sudonick)
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Wyoming  police license plate image
1950 with what appears to be number H 89 on the front of the car in the foreground.
(Courtesy Lewis Sudonick)


It is believed that in 1951, the Wyoming Highway Patrol introduced its first "agency specific" license plate. The plate was made of embossed steel and measured approximately 5 1/4" X 13 3/4". The color scheme was white embossed characters over a medium green background. The prefix HP for Highway Patrol replaced the long-served H prefix and was once again followed by the cowboy/bucking bronco motif and the assignment number up to two digits.
These plates were used until at least July of 1955.

  • Wyoming  police license plate imageEarly 1950's Highway Patrol issue. Embossed steel.
    Approx. 5 1/4" x 13 3/4". White over green.
    Used until at least July of 1955.

    (Courtesy Alan Schneider)
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Wyoming  police license plate image

Wyoming  police license plate image
1954 WHP Ford of Ptlm. Bob Mathisen at the Kemmerer Check Station (Point of Entry)
(Courtesy of Bob's daughter, Jean Mathisen Haugen via Lewis Sudonick)


In 1956, the mandatory continental size standard of 6 inches by 12 inches for car license plates trimmed the size of Wyoming license plates considerably. For Wyoming Highway Patrol license plates, the color scheme of white over green as was used for the previous issue continued, however the HP prefix was now stacked vertically along the left margin.
It is believed that this version was used by the WHP from 1956 until approximately 1964 when annual plates began to be issued again.

  • Wyoming  police license plate image1956-c.1964 issue. Embossed steel.
    6" x 12". White over green.
    WYOMING spelled-out in full.
  • Wyoming  police license plate image

As the information on Wyoming Highway Patrol license plates between 1956 and 1965 is practically non-existent, it is hypothesis that the 1956 white over green multi-year license plate was used into the early 1960's and possibly up to the end of 1964.
In 1965, annually issued license plates for the WHP commenced anew with a reflective yellow-orange over black color scheme like the passenger car license plates run in the state at that time.

  • Wyoming  police license plate image1965 issue. Embossed steel.
    Reflective yellow-orange over black.

    (Courtesy Lewis Sudonick)
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1966 issue. Embossed steel.
    Green over reflective white.

    (Courtesy Lewis Sudonick)
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1968 issue. Embossed steel.
    Reflective yellow over brown.
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1969 issue. Embossed steel.
    Reflective white over dark blue.

    (Courtesy Lewis Sudonick)
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1965 issue. Embossed steel.
    Reflective yellow over green.
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1971 issue. Embossed steel.
    Reflective white over black.
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1972 issue. Embossed steel.
    Brown over reflective yellow.
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1973 issue. Embossed steel.
    Black over reflective white.
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1974 issue. Embossed steel.
    Brown over reflective yellow.
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1975-1977 issue. Embossed steel.
    Blue over reflective white.
    75 debossed in bottom right corner where standard validation decals for 1976 and 1977 were placed over top.
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1975-1977 issue. Embossed steel.
    Blue over reflective white.
    75 debossed in bottom right corner where standard validation decals for 1976 and 1977 were placed over top.
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1978-1982 Colonel's issue. Embossed steel.
    Brown over reflective white.
    78 debossed in bottom right corner where validation decals for 1979 through 1982 were placed over top.

    (Courtesy Nick Kanaya)
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1978-1982 issue. Embossed steel.
    Brown over reflective white.
    78 debossed in bottom right corner where validation decals for 1979 through 1982 were placed over top.
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image1978-1982 SAMPLE issue. Embossed steel.
    Brown over reflective white.

    (Courtesy Lewis Sudonick)
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image
  • Wyoming  police license plate image1978-1982 issue with small HP dies. Embossed steel.
    Brown over reflective white.
    78 debossed in bottom right corner where validation decals for 1979 through 1982 were placed over top.

    (Courtesy John Yeaw)
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image
  • Wyoming  police license plate image1983-1987 issue. Embossed steel.
    Brown over reflective yellow.
    83 debossed in bottom right corner where validation decals for 1984 through 1987 were placed over top.
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Wyoming police officer and car
Trooper Noonan- Courtesy Lewis Sudonick
  • Wyoming  police license plate image1988-1992 issue. Embossed steel.
    Red over reflective white.
    88 debossed in top right corner where validation decals for 1989 through 1992 were placed over top along with March (3) expiry decal.
  • Wyoming  police license plate imageSenior Command Staff
  • Wyoming  police license plate image
  • Wyoming  police license plate image1988-1992 issue. Embossed steel.
    Red over reflective white.
    88 debossed in top right corner where validation decals for 1989 through 1992 were placed over top along with March (3) expiry decal.
  • Wyoming  police license plate image1991- In Service
  • Wyoming  police license plate image
  • Wyoming  police license plate image1988 Experimental Sample. Embossed steel.
    Brown over reflective yellow. Never deployed.
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In 1992, an attractive silkscreened graphic galvanized steel license plate was issued in the state of Wyoming. The color scheme featured embossed characters including the cowboy/bucking bronco motif painted in dark blue over a relective light blue background. The lower half of the plate featured a pale blue, pale green and sage foothills with snow-capped mountain design. The state name was silkscreened in dark blue and offset in the upper right corner of the plate. License plates for the Wyoming Highway Patrol had the embossed HP prefix stacked vertically on the left side of the plate followed by the cowboy/bucking bronco and a number up to three digits. EXEMPT was embossed at the bottom of the plate slightly above the right mounting hole and to the right of the bronco. These plates were issued until 1999.

  • Wyoming  police license plate image1992-late 1999 issue. Embossed galvanized steel.
    Dark blue over reflective light blue, light green and sage.
    Foothills and snowcapped mountain design. EXEMPT embossed at bottom. Some made with bucking bronco holograms running down the center of the plate indicating year of manufacture.
  • Wyoming  police license plate image

By the year 2000, the same design of license plate since 1992 received a noticeable change. All character embossing had been eliminated leaving only the step border as the only stamped feature on the plate. WHP was introduced as the new prefix silkscreened and stacked vertically on the left side of the plate in dark blue. The cowboy/bucking bronco motif was also silkscreened in dark blue as was the assignment number up to three digits. The title STATE TROOPER was silkscreened in dark blue along the bottom center of the plate.
This version was only issued for about a year before a competely new design was unveiled in 2001.

  • Wyoming  police license plate image2000-2001 issue. Silkscreened aluminum.
    Dark blue over reflective light blue, light green and sage.
    Foothills and snowcapped mountain design. STATE TROOPER silkscreened at bottom center.
    First time for WHP prefix.
  • Wyoming  police license plate imageCommand Staff
    (Courtesy Darrell Dady)
  • Wyoming  police license plate image2000-2001 issue. Silkscreened aluminum.
    Dark blue over reflective light blue, light green and sage.
    Foothills and snowcapped mountain design.
    STATE TROOPER omitted from bottom center.
    Not certain if an error or intentional.
    (Courtesy Lewis Sudonick)
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Late 2001 saw the introduction of an entirely new design for license plates in Wyoming. The new design was once again all silkscreened on an aluminum plate with a step border.The plate featured a rendition of the famed Devil's Tower in light brown and white on the right side of the plate. A crop of green trees occupied the base with WYOMING sillkscreened in white and outlined in black. This is set over a background of blue sky and white clouds. STATE TROOPER was silkscreened in black at the top center of the plate. The vertically stacked WHP prefix was used once again and silkscreened in black. The cowboy/bronco motif followed by the assignment number was also silkscreened in black.
This plate also featured the registered trademark (R in circle) logo just below the cowboy/bronco motif to indicate that this image is a protected registered trademark.
This version was issued until 2007 when a slightly modified version was introduced for 2008.

  • Wyoming  police license plate image2001-2007 issue. Silkscreened aluminum.
    Black over reflective blue, brown, white.
    Devil's Tower image. First appearance of Registered Trademark symbol to indicate protected image of the cowboy/bucking bronco that had been a feature on Wyoming license plates since 1936.
  • Wyoming  police license plate image
  • Wyoming  police license plate image
  • Wyoming  police license plate image
  • Wyoming  police license plate image
  • Wyoming  police license plate image2008-2009 issue. Silkscreened aluminum.
    Same as 2001-2007 issue but with much cruder fonts for black characters and Registered Trademark logo closer to the bronco's front hoof.
    These plates were used as a transition before the launch of the 75th Anniversary plates in 2008.
    (Courtesy Robert Ward)
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In 2008, the Wyoming Highway Patrol celebrated their 75th Anniversary milestone. As part of the celebration for this occasion, a new license plate commemorating the Diamond Anniversary was introduced. The Devil's Tower graphics from 2001-2007 were still used, however an attractive circular logo occupied the center left field of the plate in lieu of the WHP prefix.
The logo featured a black bison image against a white center. 1933 WYOMING HIGHWAY PATROL 2008 was inscribed in white against the black circumference of the emblem. A gold scroll banner across the bottom of the circle had the word ANNIVERSARY emblazoned of a gold 75 trimmed in black just below it.
It was on this issue that the helix hologram could be seen running down the center background of the plate as a security feature.
These attractive plates were rivetted onto the patrol vehicles to prevent theft and ordered returned for destruction and disposal after the conclusion of the anniversary in late 2009.

  • Wyoming  police license plate image2008-2009 75th Anniversary issue. Silkscreened aluminum.
    Features emblem of 75th Anniversary in lieu of WHP prefix and helix security hologram running down the center background of the plate. These plates were fastened with rivets to deter theft and were ordered returned for destruction after the conclusion of the anniversary.
    (Courtesy Robert Ward)
  • Wyoming  police license plate image
  • Wyoming  police license plate image2008-2009 75th Anniversary Colonel's issue.
    Silkscreened aluminum.
    This "rescued from the trash bin" plate shows the fate that befell this issue: a sheer cut across the length of the plate before being tossed into a metal recycling bin for further processing. The "challenges" in this hobby.
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2009 ushered in another attractive graphic license plate for the Wyoming Highway Patrol. This time, a more enhanced snow-capped mountain and foothills graphic was used with almost photographic detail. The title STATE TROOPER appears silkscreened in black between the upper mounting holes of the plate. The full color emblem of the Wyoming Highway Patrol occupies the left center field of the plate followed by the silkscreened silhouette of the cowboy/bucking bronco and registered trademark logo in black. The assignment number up to three digits is silkscreened in black on the right center field of the plate. WYOMING is silkscreened in white and trimmed in black along the bottom center of the plate.
As of this writing in late 2015, this version is still being used by the WHP.



Wyoming  police license plate image
  • Wyoming  police license plate image2009-current issue. Silkscreened aluminum.
    Full color mountain and foothill scene with full-color emblem of WHP on the left side of the plate.

    (Courtesy Dennis Deal)
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image
  • Wyoming  police license plate image2016-current issue. Silkscreened aluminum.
    Released June 20 2016.
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Wyoming Centennial Front License Plates Used by Wyoming Highway Patrol

In 1990, Wyoming celebrated 100 years of statehood. Beginning in 1989, Wyoming motorists were offered the option of replacing their regular front license plates to run a state issued license plate commemorating the state centennial. This "booster plate" was also used on the front of Wyoming Highway Patrol vehicles from 1989 until December of 1993.
The plates were made of silkscreened aluminum with a reflective white background. A "waving banner font" was used for the characters with 1890-1990 at the top in red (over) WYOMING (over) CENTENNIAL in deep blue (over) A LASTING LEGACY in red.
To the right of the characters was a vertical oval in deep blue with a thinner inner ring and the ubiquitous cowboy/bucking bronco motif in red. A banner at the bottom of the oval has the words EQUALITY STATE inscribed in blue.
These plates were also validated with annual and monthly expiry decals.

  • Wyoming  police license plate image
  • Wyoming  police license plate image1989- Late 1993 State Centennial booster plate.
    Red and blue over reflective white.
    Validated annually with year and month expiry decals.
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  • Wyoming  police license plate image



Motorcycle License Plates of the Wyoming Highway Patrol

There is no evidence of any historical use of motocycles in the Wyoming Highway Patrol fleet thusfar.
In the early 1970's there was supposed to be a purchase of motorcycles for the WHP, but is is not believed to have been implemented.
A 1972 Wyoming Highway Patrol motorcycle SAMPLE license plate was made, and no others are known at this point.

  • Wyoming  police license plate image1972 motorcycle SAMPLE issue. Embossed steel.
    Approx. 3.5" X 8"
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Specialty Issues

Non-duty issued license plates related to Wyoming Highway Patrol

  • Wyoming  police license plate image1995 National Troopers Coalition souvenir license plate.
    Conference hosted by Wyoming Highway Patrol Association.
  • Wyoming  police license plate image2002 Five State Commander's Conference Souvenir license plate. Issued to Command Delegates from Colorado SP, Idaho SP, Montana HP, Utah HP and Wyoming HP at the event held in Jackson Hole that September.


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