The 1950's would see the Division continue to make great strides,
becoming ever more diversified with increased duties and responsibilities.
Unfortunately, the Korean conflict, beginning in 1950 and not ending
until 1953, would see both enlisted and civilian members again called
to duty as either reservists or National Guard members.
A tradition was begun on April 16, 1950, with the graduation of
the 37th State Police Class. Tpr. John C. Doyle, Jr. #951, was presented
his badge by his father, Lt. Jack Doyle #287, giving the Division
its first father and son combination. This proud tradition would
be repeated many times in years to come.
On May 19, 1950, one of New Jerseys worst disasters occurred
when several barges and freight cars containing ammunition exploded
at the Pennsylvania Railroad piers on the Raritan River in South
Amboy. The blast killed 31 people and injured 300 others, leaving
South Amboy in warlike ruins.
The force of the blast was so great that it was felt 30 miles away.
In fact many nearby residents thought an atomic bomb had been dropped,
and claimed it rained mud and dead fish for five minutes. Keyport
personnel were immediately dispatched and over 100 troopers would
eventually assist at the scene.
The 1950's would see additional troopers needed as the Divisions
role expanded into new areas such as enforcement of laws relating
to liquefied petroleum gas, laws concerning hotel and tenement house
safety, the supervision of security forces at state institutions
and state capitol security.
Governor Driscoll, a strong advocate for the State Police, authorized
increased strength for the Division to cover these new responsibilities,
and by September 1950, authorized strength was 455 members.
The increase in personnel would only temporarily satisfy the new
demands placed on the Division. Special federal and state investigations
focused attention on organized crime, and the Division became more
and more involved as a statewide investigatory force. The Criminal
Investigation Section was expanded to include special Narcotics,
Polygraph and Intelligence Squads.
In November 1951, a new era would begin with the historic opening
of the New Jersey Turnpike. Some members of the Turnpike Authority
had wanted to establish a new police department to patrol the roadway.
However, Governor Driscoll, fearing political patronage in the appointment
of police positions, insisted troopers be utilized. The initial
detachment consisted of 38 troopers. Officials would quickly realize
after numerous accidents and incidents that more troopers would
be needed to properly patrol the 118 mile long turnpike.
By November 1952, an additional 24 troopers were assigned to the
turnpike and each year thereafter the turnpike patrol force would
Municipal Police Basic Training was reactivated in 1951 at the Sea
Girt Training Center. The course had been discontinued for economic
reasons in 1933 after four successful years of operation. During
the intervening years, some training for municipal police had been
conducted at the West Trenton Academy.
However, ongoing basic training was needed for police in New Jersey,
and the six week course established at Sea Girt set the standards
for other academies to emulate in the years to come.
In 1952, Colonel Russell A. Snook succeeded to the Office of the
Superintendent. 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.
The 1950's would see continued expansion and challenges facing the
Division with problems caused by the ever-increasing vehicle traffic
on the states already overburdened highways and the increase
of crime in the rural areas of the state.
The drinking driver problem needed immediate attention. An initial
Drunk-O-Meter training course at Rutgers University in 1954 quickly
expanded to eight training site locations throughout the state to
expedite the training of troopers and municipal police in the operation
of the new sobriety testing machine.
In an effort to reduce the drinking driver menace from our highways,
spot checks were conducted at selected locations after midnight.
All vehicles were stopped and drivers checked for evidence of drinking.
Thus, the first sobriety checkpoints were formulated.
A tradition within the organization came to an end in 1954. 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.
Col. Snooks philosophy was that man is the most valuable
asset in police service and the profession of being the State Trooper
was hazardous enough without exposing the trooper to the added risks
of the greatly increased traffic in New Jersey. Fifteen troopers
had lost their lives and many more had been injured through the
years while on patrol with their cycles.
In 1955, Colonel Joseph D. Rutter assumed command and organized
the Division into a five troop configuration. Troops A, B, and C
patrol south, north, and central Jersey, respectively, while Troop
D patrols the Turnpike and Troop E patrols the Garden State Parkway.
Division Headquarters is located in West Trenton and the Training
Center is located in Sea Girt.
Colonel Rutter was also instrumental in reestablishing the warning
system which had been eliminated in 1947. The Colonel believed troopers,
armed solely with the authority to issue summonses, often hesitated
to take action when observing minor offenses.
For many years, the US Navy Diving Unit stationed in Bayonne, Hudson
County, provided New Jersey law enforcement with underwater recovery
service at both crime and disaster scenes. In 1956, with the units
imminent transfer to Washington, DC, a void would be created.
The State Police stepped forward to form an underwater recovery
unit, the first such State Police unit in the nation. During a three
week training course conducted at the US Naval School of Ship Salvage,
Bayonne, Hudson County, some 40 Division members were trained.
The most heart-rendering disaster in which the underwater recovery
unit participated occurred on September 5, 1958, when two diesel
locomotives and three passenger cars of the Jersey Central Railroad
plunged off the open end of the south draw span into Newark Bay,
Bayonne. The use of troopers in emergency and disaster situations
was now established for the future.
In March of 1958, the 53rd class would be the last class to graduate
in boots and breeches. The uniform which was necessary and practical
for mounted and cycle patrol, would be replaced by slacks and low
quarter dress shoes.