Missouri Highway Patrol

I’d rather see these Missouri Highway Patrol troopers here than in my rearview mirror with their red lights spinning. The negative sleeve is dated January 5, 1967, but I didn’t see it in the paper around that date. I thought it might have been taken for the 1967 Achievement Edition and, in fact, there was a story about the Troop E in the February 21 paper. These aren’t the photos that ran with the story, though.

At some time or another, I ran into just about every trooper that worked the counties around Cape, but these guys don’t look familiar. The trooper I knew best was Norman Copeland. He should have been a recruiting poster for what a Highway Patrolman should look like.

How NOT to shoot a photo

This is not how to shoot a photo of a bunch of people. I violated the newspaper rule of thumb that a person’s head should be at least the size of a nickle in the print. The subjects are way too small.

My fashion faux pas

I should have remembered that lesson when I moved to Ohio.

The society editor at The Athens Messenger went to a lot of trouble to round up some college girls to model some clothes for a fashion shoot. I don’t like to set up pictures and my idea of fashion is blue jeans and Red Wing boots, so I probably should have handed the assignment off to Bob Rogers, the other photographer. Still, I loaded the gals into my car and we headed off to a state park where we had a great afternoon shooting all kinds of artsy stuff.

The next morning, I dropped off the prints and waited for the praise for a job well done. Marge Straight, the soc editor, looked at them and, in her usual quiet, diplomatic way, said, “Ken these are very nice, but the idea of a fashion shoot is to show the clothes.” Luckily the models were amenable to another day frolicking in the woods.

I used to tell my staff that I’d never ask them to shoot an assignment that I hadn’t shot or wouldn’t be willing to shoot. I lied. I dodged every opportunity to go to New York for the annual fashion shoots.

20 Replies to “Missouri Highway Patrol”

  1. It looks like the pictures may have been taken at the old Cape police station that was the Grace Methodist church. The pews in the first picture could have been in the sanctuary and the other picture looks like the parking lot beside the station on Sprigg. The house next door looks familiar. We used to live around the corner on Merriwether and played a lot in the area.

    1. The only thing that no one has mentioned yet……..Is that since the picture was taken and guys like Paul Corbin who posted here retired from the patrol it has turned into a joke. After guys like Paul, Mel, John and a few of the other note worthy folks passed the torch it has done nothing but go down hill. Proof is in the pudding just look…….Dale Schmidt in a leadership position…..are you kidding me? We are rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic

  2. I’ve got confirmation, the second person from the right in the inside shot is my uncle, Bob Mouser. Cool to find him in your shot.

  3. This is a long shot… but the troopers should all have name tags over right pocket I think. The brass on their collars would also identify them. One would indicate their badge number and the other their troop ( E in this case) Would need a mighty magnifier to see those!! The photos are probably not clear enough.

    L. L. Strayhorn and Jim Pemberton MIGHT be in the top photo. Hard to tell.

    Norman Copeland was my husband’s Sgt. when we were assigned here in 1977. Great guy! Norm graduated MSHP class of 1955.

    Enjoying your articles Ken!

  4. L to R: The older guy that wears his hat like Pancho Villa, is Frank Sheible. He spent most of his career in Bollinger County. There are many colorful stories about him. Jack Crawford, Larry Strayhorn, Bob Mouser and Charlie Whitehead.

  5. Can’t help but notice how far they have come. The cars are a far cry from the technical marvels they use today.. And I bet not one has a bullet proof vest on..

    BTW, my family used to have one of the old light fixtures from the sanctuary, but after leaving home I lost track of it.

  6. First Photo Standing L – R, Trooper Frank Sheible, Trooper Jackie Crawford, Trooper Larry Strayhorn, Trooper Robert Mouser and Trooper Charles Whitehead.

    The photo was taken inside of the Cape Girardeau Police Station which had been the Grace Methodist Church before being purchased by the City for a police station and city court. The sanctuary was used as the court room. At the time of this picture, the Highway Patrol had a “Zone Office” in the Cape PD Police Station which was later moved to Jackson in the Sheriff’s Office.

    Jackie was “new” or probationary officer at the time the picture was taken and was in his “break in period.” He joined the Patrol 10-1-66 and was assigned to ride with one of the other officer’s present. Frank lived in Lutesville for most of his career. Larry left the Patrol to become a U.S. Deputy Marshall, Robert was promoted to Corporal then Sergeant and assigned to Popular Bluff not to long after the picture was taken and Charles “Charlie” retired as a Captain, Director of the Training Division and for a time was my boss in Jefferson City.

    The uniform blouse or coat they have on was worn from Nov 1 – Mar 1 each year. It made a nice uniform but was very restrictive and is now only worn for ceremonial purposes.

    The second picture was taken on the south side parking lot at the police station adjacent to the entrance to the Patrol Zone Office. The officers standing L – R are; Whitehead, Sheible, Mouser, Crawford and Strayhorn. The first two patrol cars are 1965 Ford Galaxies and the third is a 1966 Pontiac Catalina.

    Note the Fords were the last MSHP cars to have single red light mounted directly to the vehicle roof and had no air conditioning. The Pontiac had the new innovative “visibar” with a siren in the middle which had a tendency to clog up with snow and ice in the winter months. 1966 models patrol cars were the first to have air conditioning. The Ford had sirens mounted under the hoods.

  7. Bob Mouser was my “break in officer”. Ed Wright was the zone sergeant. Bud Mills, Norman Copeland, and Tom Burger were also stationed in the zone. Bill Adams and I “swapped” assignments later in the year. Bill came to Jackson and I went to Kennett. Strayhorn and Sheible were stationed in Kennett before transferring to the Cape Zone. These were a great group of officers to train under and work with and I have the upmost respect for them.

  8. I was looking at the photos as close as I could but couldn’t find the patrolman I was looking forward to seeing. I also read all the replys and again no mention of him. The person I most remember from Troop E and Central High school is Seargent Joe Mathhews. Remember the gory films and slides in the auditorium to scare us into safer driving? I was reminded of one of his visits to our Auto Mechanics class he said the guys were building car engines that could do over a hundred miles per hour but car bodies that wouldn’t stay on the ground over fifty-five.

  9. Before reading any of the posts, I looked at the first picture and immediately thought that the trooper in the middle was Larry Strayhorn. I thought it was weird because I only had momentary contact with him once after he became a trooper and only because the Strayhorns lived on Patricia Street; the next street west from Dorothy St, my home street. Norman Copeland and his family lived directly behind us and diagonally northeast from the Strayhorns. Cape Girardeau police officer Robert Gas, lived directly across from the Copelands. Both Copeland and Strayhorn were cut from the same cloth; they were known for a no-nonsense, by the book attitude.

    1. The Missouri Highway Patrol was very careful not to do anything that would compromise their professional image. I think they neglected to tell Van about the photo shoot.

      The rumor was that it was part of their Witless Protection Program. I think it might have been his buddy Bill who told me that.

  10. The only problem with the State Patrol was they didn’t have much of a since of humor when the young people just back from Viet Nam wanted to drag race down on highway 74 by the old Viaduct Court. I remember one Sunday afternoon in 1969/70 a group of nice young men and women wanted to watch some fast new cars race. I was setting at the other end of highway 74 where you would turn to go over to I-55. About the time 2 of them were getting ready to race a Trooper pulls up in front of where a few of us were standing. I believe it was Trooper Strayhorn but could be mistaken as they all looked alike in their uniforms. With me being a diligent citizen  and not wanting to see any one get caught breaking the law I started towards my car to flash the lights at the 2 people going to race. The Trooper did not like my choice of actions so he pulled his revolver and motioned me to stay where I was. I thought that was a little over the top but I can understand as he didn’t know what I was going to do but I really think he did. So the 2 started racing and the trooper ran across the road waving his gun and motioning them to stop. One did but I won’t mention his name (Lee), the other person went on by and got away as I recall. Don’t think I would stand in the middle of the road trying to stop a car going over a hundred miles an hour but a Trooper has to do what a trooper has to do. And to all that say we shouldn’t have been doing that and the Trooper was doing his job I know but it was fun at the time as no one got hurt, also it is a good story to remember. Some Officers of the Law were very good people and did a good job, don’t think I would have liked doing it. I won’t get into the loud pipes I had on my motorcycle that one local police Officer gave me 3 tickets for, they weren’t that loud compared to the ones today. I really seem to think he was watching for me as he seemed to be around every time I drove the bike. Oh well.

  11. While I don’t personally know any of these men pictured, I have heard many stories of them growing up. Norman Copeland was my grandfather and it is really nice to see all of the compliments he is receiving from everyone who knew him on here. I heard him and my grandma talk about several of the patrolmen pictured and always in a good light. My grandpa had the upmost respect for all of his officers.

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