"Sergeant Noel Houze Presents"

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Gangsters, Gunfire, and Political Intrigue: The History of the Indiana State Police by Marilyn Olsen.

Year 2008 marks the 75th anniversary of the Indiana State Police. The Department is rich in history and tradition. Those of us still serving are very proud of our Department's past, and to present this special era this is the first, in a series of twelve articles, I am proud to share with Madison Came Running Readers.

How We Began

In the early days of the twentieth century the automobile was in its infancy. With this new invention, criminals soon took advantage of the power and speed of the “horseless carriage” as a means of quick escape after committing their crimes. Once they crossed county lines, the local sheriff had no jurisdiction in the neighboring counties, thus criminal apprehension was extremely difficult. Additionally, in those early days, drivers’ licenses weren’t required and no safety equipment was required to be on vehicles such as lights, brakes, horns, etc. As a result, there were high numbers of motor vehicle crashes that resulted in numerous injuries and fatalities along Hoosier roadways.

Eventually cars were required to have safety equipment but the local sheriffs still had no jurisdiction or authority to stop violators once they crossed the county line. On July 15, 1921 the Indiana legislature created the Indiana Motor Vehicle Police. The Motor Vehicle Police became the first law enforcement agency in the state to have statewide jurisdiction to enforce traffic laws. Originally there were 16 members of the Motor Vehicle Police tasked with enforcing motor vehicle laws across the state. Unfortunately, those 16 officers had only “limited” authority. They were only authorized to enforce the “rules of the road” and motor vehicle laws. Unless a car was stolen, improperly registered, or a driver was in violation of a traffic law, the Motor Vehicle Police had no other law enforcement authority.

As the 1920’s progressed, crime began to increase. With prohibition, the gangsters of the period, and the onset of the Great Depression, the need for a statewide “full service” law enforcement agency was ever increasing. Finally by 1927 the first steps toward creating the much needed full service statewide police agency began to occur. In 1927 an act of legislation created a group of three “bureaus.” One bureau reported and recorded crashes, one conducted criminal investigations, and the third was the Bureau of Criminal Identification and served as a clearinghouse for fingerprint identification which was becoming a widely accepted method of establishing the identity of individuals.

In 1932 the citizens of Indiana elected Paul V. McNutt, a Democrat, as Governor. Governor McNutt immediately began to overhaul state government. Through the Executive Reorganization Act of 1933, the governor took 167 state agencies and put them into eight new departments. In addition, he consolidated the law enforcement bureaus into one agency with broad law enforcement authority thus forming the Indiana State Police Bureau.

Indiana State Police Training.

After the Indiana State Police formed in 1933 it largely consisted of basically untrained, ill equipped traffic officers left over from the Motor Vehicle Police. The first formal “academy” or recruit school began July 15, 1935 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. The applicants were given physicals, underwent a “character” investigation, took a written exam, were fingerprinted, and were personally interviewed by the Superintendent and members of the State Police Board before they were accepted to attend the training. There are conflicting accounts of exactly how many candidates were selected but it was somewhere between 80 and 100. The recruits were housed and slept on Army cots on the second floor of the horse barn and ate their meals at the State Fair Hotel near Gate 6. The training lasted five weeks and again, there are conflicting accounts, but between 60 and 70 passed the rigorous training program to become the first formally trained troopers. The following year the Indiana State Police moved its recruit training to the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington where recruit schools would be held for the next 40 years. In 1976 the Indiana State Police began training its troopers at the then “new” Indiana Law Enforcement Academy located near Plainfield, IN. This location remains the I.S.P. recruit training facility yet today.

Much as it was in 1935 and as it has been throughout the history of the Indiana State Police, not just anyone can become a trooper. Today’s applicants must undergo a rigorous and competitive selection process and are highly scrutinized before they are offered the “privilege” of attending recruit training. The selection process of today still consists of written testing, physical examination, background investigation, oral interview, and the applicant still has to be fingerprinted. In addition, applicants must also submit to a polygraph examination, go through a psychological examination, and pass a physical fitness test as part of the selection process.

Almost At The Beginning

Even after an applicant successfully completes all the steps of the selection process, there is still no guarantee they will become a trooper. Since the first school in 1935, recruit training has increased and become more sophisticated and demanding. Recruits today are still trained in all of the “traditional” law enforcement disciplines such as criminal law, traffic law, firearms, self-defense, first-aid and riot control are but a handful of the courses of training received. However, today’s I.S.P. recruit training consists of other facets as well. Today’s troopers are trained in psychology, emergency driving, “Verbal Judo,” and “Survival Spanish” to name a few. Moreover, today’s recruit school is no less than 24 weeks long. During the entire training period the recruit must study, maintain a high level of physical fitness and maintain their uniform, personal appearance and room in inspection condition at all times while conforming to strict “military” type discipline.

Throughout their careers Indiana State Troopers undergo continuous in-service training in an effort to stay up-to-date in the latest law enforcement knowledge, techniques and ever changing technology. Today’s Indiana State Trooper is dedicated to the service of the citizens of Indiana and strives to maintain the reputation and high level of professionalism those in the illustrious history of this great department worked so hard to achieve.

The Indiana State Police Board.

The Executive Reorganization Act of 1933 created the Indiana State Police as we know it today by consolidating the three state law enforcement bureaus into one agency. Governor McNutt recognized a need to keep politics out of the state police bureau as much as possible. The 1935 Reorganization Act called for the creation of a bipartisan state police board. On June 10, 1935 Governor McNutt appointed the first Indiana State Police Board consisting of two Republicans and two Democrats. The original Board members were Albert Rabb, Horace D. Norton, Claud R. Crooks, and Carl M. Gray.

Governor Paul V. McNutt

The first job for the Board was to enforce the merit system which had just been created and at the same time, attempt to take politics out of the state police. Since the head of the Indiana State Police is a governor’s appointee, the bipartisan board helps to maintain a balance between any possible political motives a superintendent may have against the best interest of the Department and the public. In addition, the board can still provide some civilian influence and a broader, more neutral perspective over certain issues that may be viewed more narrowly by a career law enforcement officer.

Since the creation of the Board, one of its functions has been to review policies and procedures and make sure the Department fulfills its statutory obligations. The Board approves appointments, retirements, promotions, and awards and gives input on equipment needs or issues and the addition or construction of new posts among other infrastructure concerns. The Board also serves as a liaison between the Department and the Governor’s office.

Another important function of the State Police Board is the role it plays in the Department’s disciplinary process. A state police employee has the right to appeal disciplinary decisions made by supervisors and commanders up the chain of command all the way to the Board. A police officer is and should be held to a higher standard than the public, yet without giving up certain rights. When an appeal is taken all the way to the Board, the issue is heard from the very beginning as if that hearing is the first hearing for the accused employee. However, if the Board finds there has been misconduct or a violation of Department policy, it may impose a more severe penalty than the original penalty imposed by a commander.

The original State Police Board consisted of four individuals. Today’s Board consists of six members, three Republicans and three Democrats. There is one board member representing each State Supreme Court District. The members serve staggered four year terms therefore making it impossible for any governor to completely change the make up of the board during his or her term. Since the implementation of the Indiana State Police Board in 1935, it has played a significant role in the reputation of the Indiana State Police Department as a premier law enforcement agency.

Indiana State Police Posts

The current Indiana State Police Department is broken down by geographical districts. Each district encompasses a certain number of counties. Today there are 18 districts throughout the state, plus headquarters; but in the early days there were far fewer districts. Originally there existed the North District, located in a house in Tremont in Porter County. The Central District was located in the basement of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis. The South District was located in a house in Seymour. In addition, Post 1 was located in Michigan City sometime before 1937; Post 2 was located in Ligonier; Post 3 was in Lafayette; Post 4 was in Anderson; Post 5 was originally located in Rockville and by 1938 moved to Putnamville; Post 6 was originally located in Rushville but moved to Connersville by 1938; Post 7 was located in Seymour and Post 8 was originally located in Evansville but moved to Jasper in 1938.

By 1941 there had been a realignment of Districts that created some change in locations. There were nine districts, plus Headquarters. The Districts at that time consisted of Post 1 at Dunes Park (in Chesterton, IN), Post 2 at Ligonier, Post 3 at Lafayette, Post 4 at Pendleton, Post 5 at Putnamville, Post 6 at Connersville, Post 7 at Seymour, Post 8 at Jasper, and Post 11 at Charlestown, along with Headquarters located in Indianapolis. Those Districts remained in place until 1953 when Superintendent Frank Jessup began a move to decentralize the Districts which created nine sub-districts.

The purpose behind Superintendent Jessup’s decentralization effort was an attempt to realign the counties and reduce the sizes of the existing 10 districts into more manageable units of four or five counties. The decentralization effort was pretty much completed by the end of 1959. The sub-districts added included Post 1A in South Bend, Post 1B in Schererville, Post 2A in Ft. Wayne, Post 3A in Peru, Post 3B in Kentland, Post 4A in Redkey, Post 5A in Terre Haute, Post 6A in Versailles, Post 7A in Bloomington, and Post 8A in Evansville. The sub-district program continued and in 1965 Post 10 (Toll Road) was commissioned. LaPorte became Post 10A and LaGrange became Post 10B giving the Indiana State Police 11 districts and 11 sub-districts. In 1971 the districts were organized into area commands and the posts were renumbered and there were no longer any sub-districts.

The 18 Districts today include Lowell, Lafayette, Peru, Toll Road, Ft. Wayne, Bremen, Redkey, Terre Haute, Bloomington, Jasper, Evansville, Connersville, Versailles, Seymour, Sellersburg, Pendleton, Indianapolis, and Putnamville with General Headquarters being located in the Indiana Government Center Complex in Indianapolis.

Versailles Post Data Written By Sergeant Noel Houze:

Locally the Versailles District (now District 42) covers six counties in southeastern Indiana and includes Dearborn, Decatur, Jefferson, Ohio, Ripley, and Switzerland Counties. The Versailles Post was originally commissioned on August 15, 1956 as a sub-district to Post 6 in Connersville. Land was purchased from Herman Werner at the intersection of then new S.R. 129 and U.S. 421. A Gunnison pre-fab home was selected so the post would blend in with the surrounding residential area. Sgt. Cecil Melvin was chosen to serve as the first commanding officer at the new post. He was assisted by Corporals Norman Huelson and Russell Powner. Serving as the district detective was Frank Benz. The new post originally served as the offices to 16 sworn and civilian Indiana State Police personnel.

Versailles Post Yesterday

Over the next 35 to 40 years the Versailles District grew in the number of personnel assigned. In 1995 with the passage of riverboat gaming and the projected arrival of two gaming boats - initially in the Versailles District - with a third one projected in the near future, there was a need for more manpower than the Versailles District had ever before seen. A new facility was going to be necessary to provide adequate office space for the growing district.

The planning for a much needed, larger facility was many years in the making. Because the new post would require all the land on which the original post was located, destruction of the original post was necessary. In August of 1995 the district was temporarily relocated to a residence located behind the original post. After numerous delays the old post was finally destroyed and a new post was under construction. Finally on January 5, 2000 district operations began in the current building. A modern 14,000 square foot concrete building now serves as the district offices for over 70 sworn and civilian Indiana State Police employees. In addition to the much needed additional office space, the new facility has a modern laboratory, training room, conference room, two garage bays, a wash bay, a processing bay and a more secure evidence storage area.

Versailles Post Today

Connersville Post Data Added By Sergeant John Bowling:

The following is an excerpt from The Connersville News Examiner dated October 1937 regarding the construction of the “new” Connersville State Police Post that was about to be built.

United States senator Frederick Van Nuys today wired the News Examiner to the effect that President Roosevelt had approved the WPA allotment of $16,494 for the construction of the building and improvement of the grounds at the South edge of the corporate limits of Connersville on a site generously donated by Marion Jemison. The allotment will include money for installation of plumbing, heating, and electrical facilities, landscaping, construction of a driveway and other work.

Mayor Dentlinger started work on the project several months ago and early June announced that he had been virtually assured that Connersville would receive first consideration in the erection of the new barracks. With the offer of Mr. Jemison to donate the land for the site obstacles in the way of the project were removed and it was then a matter for the state police head and the state police board. The approval today is the last site in the campaign and it is expected work will be started on the new barracks as soon as possible.

The new building will be built according to plans and specifications of the state police board and will conform to the style used in barracks buildings. Mr. Jemison has donated land with frontage of 365 feet and a depth of 250 feet and also granted an easement to the state of an additional 130 feet which will be used for the radio station which is contemplated in connection with the new barracks.

The city is fortunate to be getting the new barracks as it will mean Connersville will have the protection of two police departments. The new barracks will replace the state police post now in operation south of Rushville.

Connersville was selected as the site because of the location and because the city police department had a radio station. Records show there have been no holdups within 50 miles of any department with radio facilities.

Connersville Post Today

Some Gave All

“As we that are left behind grow old they shall not grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM.”

Those are the words etched on the memorial stones at every Indiana State Police facility throughout the state. On the reverse side of those stones are etched the names of 45 Indiana State Police employees who have given their lives in service to the citizens of Indiana. That number includes 43 troopers, a Motor Carrier Inspector, and a DNA analyst. Whether they were killed in a traffic crash, plane crash, by a heart attack, or killed in a violent assault, each was a hard working individual who believed in what they were doing and were steadfast in their dedication to serving the citizens of Indiana.

The Indiana State Police was just in its infancy when its first trooper was killed in the line of duty. On December 21, 1933, following a tip that Dillinger gang member Edward Shouse would be at the Frances Hotel in Paris, IL to plan a bank robbery, several members of the Indiana State Police, including Tpr. Eugene Teague, along with Illinois police officers were waiting for Shouse. When Shouse and two female accomplices arrived at the hotel, Tpr. Teague struck Shouse's car with his vehicle. As Shouse attempted to escape, a gun battle ensued and Tpr. Teague was killed in the crossfire.

Since the early days of the Indiana State Police a Memorial Service has been held each May at all Indiana State Police Districts to perpetuate the memory of those who have died in the line of duty. The Service serves as means of paying tribute to those who died in the line of duty, that their sacrifice was not made in vain, and as a reminder to those of us left behind that we should strive to maintain the level of professional service to the public our Departed Comrades so unselfishly gave their lives for.

Additional Information -

For a complete listing of Indiana Troopers killed in the line of duty and a summary of their deaths, visit the Indiana State Police Website and click on the “In Memoriam” link on the left side of the page.

Indiana State Police Public Information Office
Indiana State Police Youth Services

For many years the Indiana State Police has offered safety programs and other opportunities to interact with Hoosier youth to provide a positive influence. Sgt. Ernie Alder, retired Public Information Officer from the Connersville District, had a particular interest in youth. He is considered by many as the “father” of the Indiana State Police Youth Services Program.

In 1969 Sgt. Alder made a proposal to the Indiana Board of Directors of the Indiana District of Kiwanis to co-sponsor a summer camp that would appeal to high school boys interested in pursuing a law enforcement career. The Kiwanis would be primarily responsible for providing much needed financial support to initiate the camp program while the Indiana State Police would provide troopers to serve as counselors, equipment for demonstrations, and provide speakers and other activities to present to the campers. Sgt. Alder’s proposal was met favorably by the board and after receiving approval for the venture from State Police Superintendent Robert Konkle, the first Indiana State Police/Kiwanis International Career Camp was held in the summer of 1970 at the Hoosier 4-H Leadership Center near Purdue University.

Ernie Alder

Then, as today, Career Camp provides insight for high school students to get an idea of what a career in law enforcement has to offer. A classroom setting for lectures from the various participants in the criminal justice system, to include prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys, judges, as well as police officers themselves combined with field problems, visits to local jails, and mock vehicle crash scenarios are a regular part of the curriculum. The addition of physical activities such as softball and other athletic competitions makes for a well rounded camp experience.

In 1973 the Career Camp opportunities were expanded to include the young ladies as the female role in law enforcement was growing nationally. The initial camp was a three day camp that met with such success it was expanded to five days the following year.

In 1979 the Indiana District of Optimists teamed up with the Indiana State Police to co-sponsor Respect for Law Camp. Respect for Law Camp offers opportunities for fifth and sixth grade students to participate in a camp experience that is law enforcement oriented, yet the content is geared toward the younger camper. Safety programs, law enforcement demonstrations, and physical activities provide the campers the opportunity to interact with troopers in a less regimented atmosphere than the Career Camp. The three day camp is held on several different college campuses throughout Indiana each summer.

The Respect for Law Camp was deemed a success when so many kids attended both their fifth and sixth grade years. This resulted in the creation of the Lions Law Camp. Lions Law Camp is co-sponsored by Indiana Lions Clubs and is for junior high school age children. The four day camp also includes law enforcement related topics and activities but does not duplicate that of Respect for Law Camp. With the addition of Lions Law Camp, the Indiana State Police now has camp opportunities for kids from fifth grade through their senior year in high school.

Sgt. Alder was also concerned about the history of the Indiana State Police. So many photos, antiquated equipment, books, and other articles of memorabilia was stored haphazardly in cabinets, closets, drawers, and boxes in different locations throughout the state. He had the idea of a centralized location to store these priceless items and preserve the history of the department. Although by the late 1980’s Sgt. Alder had been retired from the state police for several years, he got the idea to request a parcel of unused state owned land near the Indianapolis Post as a location to build a museum. The museum would serve as an excellent location to preserve all the I.S.P. memorabilia and at the same time allow it to be displayed for the public to enjoy. This museum could also serve as the central office for the Indiana State Police Youth Services Program.

Though Sgt. Alder’s idea seemed like a logical solution to what he believed to be a problem, it lacked one very important element. Where would the money come from? Sgt. Alder, not one to give up on an idea, approached the Indiana State Police Alliance with his proposal and the Alliance agreed to fund $100,000 to get the project started. Although that amount of money would not complete the project, Sgt. Alder continued seeking donations and other means of raising funds. Finally on April 13, 1992 a ground breaking ceremony was held and the new Indiana State Police Youth Education and Historical Center was officially under construction. The project was completed about one year later with the official grand opening.

Youth Center

Today the Youth Education and Historical Center serves as the central office for the Indiana State Police Youth Services Program and its displays include old Indiana State Police cars, photos, brochures, and other memorabilia from I.S.P. history. The museum, which is free, is open to the public during normal business hours Monday through Friday and group tours can be arranged. For more information on the Indiana State Police Youth Education and Historical Center or Indiana State Police Youth Services Programs, visit the Indiana State Police website at www.in.gov/isp. There are links for both the museum and youth camps located on the left side of the page.

Pursuit Of Public Enemy #1

In the 1920’s and early 30’s our nation was struggling with the Great Depression and was divided over prohibition. Along with that, gangsters were making news headlines. Names like Machine Gun Kelly, Baby Face Nelson, Al Capone, and Bonnie and Clyde made headlines in local newspapers daily. Indiana was not immune from these criminals and their merciless acts. In fact, a native son by the name of John Dillinger was making a name for himself. Born June 22, 1903 in Indianapolis and raised in Mooresville, John Dillinger became one of the most notorious gangsters of his day. In 1921 he was caught stealing a car in Indianapolis. After escaping capture on foot, he later joined the U.S. Navy only to desert a few months later in December of 1923. After being arrested in 1924 for attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, Dillinger was sentenced to 10-20 years in prison only to be paroled in 1933.

John Dillinger

After getting parole, it didn’t take long to hook up with some old prison mates and begin to earn his title as “gangster.” Over the next 12-15 months Dillinger’s exploits would eventually earn him the title of Public Enemy #1. Most of his crimes were committed in the Midwest including his home state of Indiana. A new police department by the name of the Indiana State Police would pursue Dillinger throughout the state of Indiana and even across state lines before Dillinger would eventually be gunned down in Chicago, IL in 1934.

Indiana State Police Superintendent Al Feeney had no law enforcement background and appointed Captain Matt Leach to head up the Indiana State Police in their pursuit of Dillinger. Leach, who had worked for many years as an officer with the Gary, IN Police Department, first became aware of Dillinger in the summer of 1933 after Dillinger began robbing Indiana banks.

Over the next several months Dillinger would taunt Leach. Dillinger made phone calls to Leach including one call saying, “You almost surprised me in Gary, gumshoe. Nice try.” Dillinger even sent him a book once entitled, “How to be a Detective.” Despite all the taunting, Leach continued his relentless pursuit of Dillinger and his gang.

In January of 1934 Dillinger and a couple of his gang members robbed a bank in Chicago and then headed to Tucson, AZ to hook up with other gang members. Dillinger kept up his taunting of Leach by sending him post cards saying, “Wish you were here.” Eventually Tucson police managed to catch up to Dillinger and his gang members and took them into custody.

After the capture of Dillinger in Arizona, Leach flew to Tucson to escort Dillinger back to Indiana. He was to be held at the Lake County Jail in Crown Point, IN. Despite Leach’s urging to hold Dillinger in the more secure state prison in nearby Michigan City, Lake County officials declared their jail to be “escape proof.” Although there is not an exact historical confirmation, it was Dillinger’s escape from the Lake County Jail that was said to have been accomplished when he carved a gun from a piece of wood and threatened the guards into letting him out. It was after this escape Indiana State Police intensified their efforts in their pursuit of Dillinger.

Indiana State Police efforts to capture Dillinger and his gang members remained a top priority. The pursuit of Dillinger had already resulted in the death of Eugene Teague, the first Indiana Trooper killed in the line of duty in December 1933. Teague was killed in Paris, IL when Illinois and Indiana police staked out a hotel after receiving a tip Dillinger gang member Edward Shouse was meeting accomplices there to plan a bank robbery.

One of the first Indiana Troopers, George Daugherty recalled the hunt for Dillinger in a 1976 article in the Anderson Sunday Herald. According to Daugherty, the lack of manpower, a shortage of effective equipment, and no communications in vehicles made the hunt for Dillinger a nightmare. Daugherty says they (Indiana State Police) never got a day off. The Chicago Worlds Fair was going on at the time and troopers were covering six or seven counties at once. They were inundated with calls from people saying they had spotted Dillinger. Although nine out of ten calls were false, they still had to follow up on them according to Daugherty. Daugherty even commented that his involvement in the Dillinger case didn’t even end with Dillinger’s death. He said he was among a contingency of Troopers assigned to the security detail at Dillinger’s funeral.

Anna Sage

The pursuit of John Dillinger ended in 1934 in Chicago. Dillinger was set up by Anna Sage, a Romanian immigrant facing deportation. She struck a deal with the FBI and agreed to help them capture Dillinger. On July 22, 1934 she and Dillinger would travel to the Biograph Theater to see Clark Gable and William Powell in the movie Manhattan Melodrama. Since Dillinger had undergone plastic surgery, FBI agents weren’t sure they would be able to recognize him. Sage would be with Dillinger when they exited the theater so he could be identified. Sage was wearing an orange dress but in the lights outside the theater it looked red thus earning her the moniker, the “Lady in Red.” When FBI agents approached Dillinger from behind he spotted them and began to run as he reached into his pocket to retrieve his gun. The agents opened fire killing Dillinger.

While the Indiana State Police were not responsible for the final apprehension of Dillinger, their exhaustive efforts in pursuit of Public Enemy #1 is but just one chapter in that of their long and distinctive 75 year history.

Science Solves Crimes

Besides traffic enforcement, the Indiana State Police are among the nations finest when it comes to solving crimes. Detectives often work tireless hours when investigating heinous crimes. Besides the exhaustive work done by detectives in the field, oftentimes those working “behind the scenes” are the real crime solvers.

"Early" ISP Laboratory Facility

The Indiana State Police began laboratory services in 1936 when the department was just in its third year of existence. That same year the ISP had its first officer trained on a new crime fighting marvel, the Keeler Lie Detector known today as the polygraph. By 1937, 68 confessions to crimes had been obtained using this new technology. Today the Indiana State Police have six polygraph operators statewide and the polygraph is not only used to solve crimes but is often used to eliminate possible suspects, it is an investigative tool available to assist with internal or administrative investigations, and is used as part of the selection process in hiring new troopers.

First "District" Polygraph Installation

In 1933 when the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification became part of the Indiana State Police, there were over 111,500 fingerprints on file. By 1936 when the Indiana State Police established its laboratory they had amassed over 165,000 criminal fingerprints. Over the years fingerprints have become an accepted means of identification and criminals arrested by state police for all felony and certain misdemeanor violations are fingerprinted and those prints are included in both state and national repositories. Besides fingerprints collected by state police, all local police and sheriff departments submit fingerprints to the state repository maintained by the Indiana State Police. Today there are approximately 1.6 million prints on file in Indiana’s state fingerprint database.

Today the Indiana State Police have four regional laboratories located in Indianapolis, Evansville, Lowell, and Ft. Wayne. These labs employ over 176 employees which includes approximately 41 sworn officers and 135 civilians. ISP laboratory services are available to all law enforcement agencies statewide free of charge to the individual department.

The new Indiana State Forensic and Health Sciences Laboratory in Indianapolis broke ground in June of 2005. This facility was designed and built to house three state laboratories. The ISP Indianapolis laboratory previously housed on East 21st moved into the new location in January of 2007. The other two laboratories located in the new facility include the Indiana State Department of Toxicology and the Indiana State Department of Health. The new facility is approximately a 180,000 square foot building.  Of this, about 75,000 square feet is dedicated for use by Indiana State Police laboratory personnel on three different floors in this state-of-the-art complex.

Indiana State Police Laboratory

Today’s ISP Laboratory Division is organized into five sections; Biology, Chemistry, Comparative Science, Crime Scene and Field Support, and Management and Administration. The Biology Section consists of Serology, DNA, and CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). The Chemistry Section consists of the Drug Unit and Microanalysis Unit. Comparative Sciences Section consists of the Firearms Unit (Integrated Ballistics Identification System or IBIS), Latent Fingerprint Unit (including Automated Fingerprint Identification System or AFIS), Photography Unit, and Questioned Document Unit. Crime Scene and Field Support Section consists of the Polygraph Unit and Crime Scene Investigators. The Management and Administration Section consist of administrative and support personnel.

Turn-around times fluctuate somewhat from month to month and from lab to lab, but currently DNA and drug identification turn-around times both average 36 days statewide.  The Division’s goal is a 45-day turn-around time for all disciplines.  All units currently meet or exceed that goal with the exception of the Latent Print Unit, which will meet the 45-day goal once all of the new staff is trained and working casework.

As it was in the past and is still the current practice today, Indiana State Police Crime Scene Investigators process not only crime scenes investigated by ISP, they are also available to process crime scenes for local agencies. Many times smaller agencies lack the resources to employ their own CSI’s so they still rely on the Indiana State Police for support and assistance with crime scene investigation. The importance of proper crime scene management, processing, and investigation often can mean the difference between solving a case and having the perpetrator get away with a crime.

Currently the Indiana State Police Laboratory Division has 22 Crime Scene Investigators, three Quality Assurance personnel, and three Crime Scene Investigator Supervisors.

Since those early days, laboratory services have become much more sophisticated but the Indiana State Police has kept current in the latest laboratory technology to provide the best possible service to the investigators and other police departments statewide. More often than not, this service translates into solved crimes and those who perpetrate such crimes paying for their illegal activities.

No Longer A Boys Club

Since 1933, among the many prerequisites to become a Trooper, being a man was always one of the main requirements. All that changed in 1973 when for the first time, the Indiana State Police began accepting applications from females.

Superintendent Robert Konkle told the Indianapolis Star, “But they must meet the same physical qualifications as men.” At that time the State Police rules required that applicants had to be at least 5 feet 9 inches and not more than 6 feet 5 inches in height, weight had to be at least 150 pounds and the applicant had to be between 21 and 35 years of age.

The height and weight requirement automatically disqualified most women. Superintendent Konkle also said, “Any woman accepted to recruit school will go through the same training as a man. She will have to do the same number of pushups as a man. If she can’t lift her own weight, she can’t be a Trooper.”

In the summer of 1975 the Department asked for volunteers among ISP’s civilian female staff to participate in a series of tests that were designed to help determine the physical criteria for female trooper applicants. Two committees were selected; one from within the Indiana State Police and one consisting of representatives from Indiana, Purdue, and Ball State Universities. Both committees submitted their findings to the University of Chicago which would evaluate all data submitted and then create a pre-employment screening test.

It wasn’t until 1975 however, that a woman was even interviewed to become a Trooper. Karen Butt was the first female to be interviewed for a job as a Trooper. She had applied for a recruit class that was scheduled to be held in early 1976 and that class would be the first ISP recruit class to have female recruits among its ranks. Although she wasn’t accepted for that class, she was called back later that year and would go on to attend the next recruit school and become a Trooper. In June of 1976 however, a class graduated that started with four females and three endured the grueling training and graduated to become the first female Indiana State Troopers.

“Trailblazers” Were Joyce Blanford, Patricia King, & Joan Maylater, Along With Karen Butt.

Joyce Blanford

Karen Butt

Patricia King

Joan Maylater

While the first female Troopers were able to prove their mettle in recruit school, they had to continue to overcome other hurdles in the field. In the mid 1970’s, new recruits were required to “live” at the post during their field training period. At that time ISP didn’t pay overtime so the rookie Troopers had to work in the post during the day learning radio procedures and post administrative duties and then at night they were in the field riding with experienced Troopers. Sleeping arrangements had to be modified to separate the rookie female Troopers from the males. Among other concerns were those of the wives of Troopers worrying about their husbands working at night with female Troopers. Of course there were other issues that were simply the result of ignorance or bigotry. For example, Karen Butt recalls many times answering the phone at the post and the caller requesting to speak to a “real” Trooper since it was a female who answered the phone.

Another issue that presented itself was the possibility of a female Trooper becoming pregnant. Jill Rice, another of the early female Troopers, was assigned to the Charlestown Post when she was a rookie. In the 1970’s there was no such thing as the Family Medical Leave Act or no maternity leave mandate. When Jill became pregnant, the Department had no policies in place to deal with such circumstances.

Over the years the Indiana State Police has hired numerous female Troopers who have distinguished themselves among the Department and are now accepted as equals. Currently there are 59 female ISP Troopers who are spread throughout the state and among the various ranks and specialty positions. Currently there are females holding supervisory and command positions up to and including the rank of Major within the Indiana State Police. Throughout the years ISP has had and still has female Troopers serving as members of the Tactical Intervention Platoon (formerly known as Riot Platoon), Field Training Officers, SCUBA Divers, Defensive Tactics Instructors, Firearms Instructors, and Emergency Vehicle Operations Instructors.

Because of the tenacity and dedication of those first female “pioneers” blazing the trail for the future, being a female applicant for a position as an Indiana State Trooper today is not really any different than that of a male applicant. Female troopers are now accepted with much less skepticism and are very much an established part of the Indiana State Police.

Indiana State Police On Patrol

"In The Beginning"

Back in 1933 the first Troopers patrolled on motorcycles. After the first Indiana State Troopers finished their initial “training” they were told to go Muncie where they picked up either a Harley Davidson or Indian motorcycle. The average Trooper in the early 1930’s might patrol over 100,000 miles per year on a motorcycle on mostly unpaved, unpredictable roads in all kinds of weather. This went on until the mid or late 1930’s when the first Indiana State Police cars were introduced.

The first “known” ISP automobiles were the 1935 Auburn Phaeton and the 1936 Cord. In 1937 the Indiana State Police drove two-door Chevrolets and the motorcycle continued as a part of the ISP automotive fleet. During World War II it was almost as difficult for the state police to obtain cars as it was for the general public. From the late 1930’s until after WWII the Indiana State Police drove a variety of makes and models of cars. Whatever was available for their use was put into service.

"World War II Era"

Following WWII there was a significant increase in traffic on America’s roadways. The soldiers and sailors were returning from the war and the economic increase meant more cars on the roads and increased speeds. It wasn’t until the 1950’s the Indiana State Police began to use what was considered a “real” police car. Equipped with four barrel carburetors, six and eight cylinder engines, heavy duty shocks and brakes, and larger tires, they could catch about anything on the road. In 1956 they began testing cars with automatic transmissions and up until that point, the cars were black. It was in 1956 when cars of assorted colors were purchased for investigators.

In the early 1960’s power steering and power brakes became standard equipment on ISP cars. The cars during the early and mid 1960’s were white over blue and in 1966 Superintendent Robert O’Neal announced the change to the all white patrol car. With the exception of the unmarked patrol cars, this color would remain the standard patrol car color for the next 32 years. In 1998 ISP switched back to the all black patrol car and in 2006 white reappeared as the standard patrol car color.

For the first thirty years or so the Indiana State Police purchased a variety of makes and models of automobile each year. During these years one might see Troopers in Fords, Chevrolets, or Dodges of the same model year. In 1967 ISP began purchasing primarily one make of vehicle per model year. Specifications outlining what equipment was desired on a patrol car were put out for bid and the company submitting the lowest bid received the order for that year. Over the last 35 or 40 years the Indiana State Police have driven a variety of makes of cars including Dodges, Chryslers, Plymouths, Chevrolets and since 1994 the Ford Crown Victoria.

In 1988 the Indiana State Police first introduced its High Performance Patrol Vehicle when the first high-performance Ford Mustangs hit the road for the specific purpose of speed enforcement. ISP purchased Mustangs again in 1989, and it was in 1991 they began to purchase Chevrolet Camaros for the high-performance fleet. They continued the use of high-performance cars for speed enforcement until about 2003 when the last Camaros finished their service. However, earlier this year high-performance Mustangs were reintroduced into ISP’s fleet when 18 hit the road in late May.

While motorcycles were the first mode of transportation for the Indiana State Police, they were phased out in the late 1930’s and were merely a part of ISP history. However, in 2003 the Indiana State Police reintroduced motorcycles back into its fleet for the first time in about 65 years. Today there are 25 motorcycles patrolling Hoosier highways. Unlike their predecessors, today’s motorcycle trooper is issued a standard patrol car in addition to a motorcycle. During the winter months and inclement summer weather, today’s motorcycle Trooper can patrol in a dry, heated, full-size sedan when temperatures dip below 40 degrees or when snow is flying or rain is falling.

Today the Indiana State Police use a variety of vehicles for different purposes. Besides the standard patrol car, high performance Mustangs, and motorcycles, the Indiana State Police have trucks, vans, and trailers in their fleet. Crime Scene Investigators are issued vans to haul all the specialized equipment needed to process crime scenes and to transport evidence. ISP maintenance personnel use vans and trucks to perform their various jobs and a variety of cars and trucks are used by undercover ISP officers to blend in with the public in order to conduct surveillance, work with informants, and deal with the criminal element without “blowing their cover.” Specialty teams such as Emergency Response Teams and Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams utilize large utility trucks to transport specialty equipment.

Besides ground travel, the Indiana State Police have utilized aircraft for many years. After WWII air travel had proven itself as a very safe mode of travel. The Indiana State Police realized the potential for aircraft utilization beyond just a speedier mode of transportation. In addition to transportation, aircraft can be used for traffic patrol, air rescues, and air to ground searches. It can also be used as a means of surveillance when other means might be less effective. In 1948 ISP acquired a Navion airplane which would be used for the next three years. Aircraft continued to be utilized throughout the 1950’s as the Aviation Section continued to grow and helicopters were introduced into the air fleet. Today the ISP Aviation Section has three fixed wing aircraft, three helicopters, and six pilots.

Whether driving a patrol car, a van, cruising down the highway on two wheels, or flying the friendly skies, today’s Indiana State Trooper still strives to maintain that level of service and professionalism to the public their predecessors worked so painstaking to achieve.

"Now & Beyond"


"From Whence They Came"

Indiana State Police Communications

While gangsters such as John Dillinger plagued the country back in the late 1920’s and early ‘30’s, their exploits did prompt some “progress” in Indiana State Police communications. Even though Dillinger had been killed by the FBI in July of 1934, Indiana still ranked fourth in the nation in bank robberies. That same year the Indiana Banker’s Association and the Governor’s Contingency Fund set out to raise money to create a statewide short wave radio network. The goal was for this network to develop a communications link between law enforcement agencies. The pursuit of Dillinger and other criminals was greatly hampered by the lack of an effective statewide communications system.

Crown Hill Cemetery

The original method of communication between trooper and district headquarters amounted to the trooper having regular stops on his patrol route where he called in by telephone at designated intervals to receive dispatch information. Fortunately, by the end of 1934 nearly $50,000 in necessary funding had been raised to implement the new communications system.

In 1935, five Western Electric AM transmitters were put in place in Indianapolis, Columbia City, the Culver Military Academy, Seymour, and Jasper. The first message was sent out on May 6, 1935 reporting a stolen vehicle in Ligonier. These new stations were given call letters similar to what radio stations use today. While this new system was a vast improvement over the previous method, this system was still a one-way communications system. The trooper could only “receive” dispatches; he couldn’t respond back via radio to confirm receipt of the message. The dispatches were communicated three times to ensure a trooper received the message. The trooper would then have to find a telephone and call in to confirm he had received the dispatch and was able to get further details if necessary.

One Of The Original ISP Radio Transmitters

In 1937 a Continuous Wave (CW) network using Morse Code for communications between state and local law enforcement was in place. A good CW operator could send and receive anywhere from 40 to 50 words per minute. This helped relieve some of the load on voice transmissions. Unfortunately, skilled CW operators were hard to find. Despite the lack of skilled CW operators, the CW system soon provided an effective communications link between not only ISP and local law enforcement; it provided an interstate law enforcement communications link as well. Because CW transmissions were monitored by numerous stations simultaneously, information could be disseminated more quickly and with less expense than making numerous telephone calls.

Radio Dispatch 1930's
Radio Dispatch 1940's

It was around World War II when the Indiana State Police began installing two way radios in its patrol cars so troopers were able to respond to radio dispatches directly from their cars.

Connersville's Car 6-7

Also, by 1947 the Amplitude Modulation (AM) radios in use at the time became obsolete and ISP replaced those radios with a more reliable system known as Frequency Modulation (FM). The “new” FM system was a “noise free” transmission system while the AM system was not.

In February of 1957 the Indiana State Police implemented the microwave system of communication. The microwave system provided rapid, reliable, multichannel communication. Originally the installation linked General Headquarters in Indianapolis with the Pendleton Post. By the end of 1960 all Indiana State Police districts and General Headquarters were linked together by the microwave system providing both telephone and teletype communication.

Shortly thereafter CW stations began to fade away as new communications networks were being established nationwide using telephone circuits as transmission media. Included among these “new” networks was the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS). The Indiana State Police became affiliated with this network in 1966 which increased the speed of handling messages at a rate of over 100 words per minute. In addition, the new system left less of a chance for error than the CW system.

In 1968 the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) was developed. A computer located in Washington, D.C. served as a central repository to store information on wanted persons and stolen vehicles from law enforcement agencies all over the country. This new technology enabled law enforcement agencies nationwide to enter wanted persons or stolen vehicles into the database, thus increasing the chances of apprehension even if the suspect traveled out-of-state.

In 1977 engineers from the Indiana State Police Communications Division developed a portable radio repeater system. In addition to this new communications technology, they developed a mutual aid communications system known as the Indiana Law Enforcement Emergency Network (ILEEN). Now for the first time there was a system in place where troopers could have direct radio communication with officers from local police and sheriff departments. Not only did this system enhance the effectiveness of inter-department communications, it provided the public with more efficient law enforcement service and improved officer safety.

This communication system stayed in place for many years without any great advances in communication technology. In 1990 the Indiana State Police began testing an 800 MHz radio system which provided a much clearer, more efficient, and more advanced means of communication.

The 800 MHz system is now operational statewide and frequencies and talk groups are available to all law enforcement agencies, fire departments, EMS, local public utilities, as well as other governmental agencies. This system allows for direct communication between all agencies and their personnel in case of an emergency that requires multi-agency response.

Over the last 75 years the Indiana State Police have come a long way from the trooper having to make stops along his patrol route to call the post for assignments. With the technology available today a trooper not only transmits and receives dispatch information via 800 MHz radio, information can even be transmitted and received between dispatch and a laptop computer installed in the trooper’s car.

Interior 2008 Troopers Patrol Car


As I pen this final article about the history of the Indiana State Police, I would like to say that I have not even scratched the surface on the history of this illustrious Department. The history and traditions of the Indiana State Police are so vast that 12 small articles are merely an overview. I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my greatest appreciation and respect to the Retirees; the “Pioneers” of the Indiana State Police who made the Department what it is today. It was their hard work, dedication, and self-sacrifice that laid the foundation for the Department as we know it today.

Sgt. Noel Houze
Versailles District

Commercial Truck/Vehicle Enforcement
The post WW II years saw an economic boost in the United States. Factories were producing and the automobile industry was booming. This economic progress caused a need for larger and heavier trucks to haul our nation’s products. Prior to 1950 Indiana police officers had the authority to enforce the rules of the road on all vehicles including big trucks. However, there was little else that could be done to regulate what was being transported to and from Indiana on commercial vehicles.

In 1951 the Indiana Legislature approved the Indiana State Police to hire 25 Troopers specifically to enforce laws that regulate height, weight, length, and width on commercial vehicles traveling Hoosier roadways. Unfortunately, the many other duties required of the state police prohibited the strict enforcement of these laws and regulations. Those Troopers specifically hired for truck enforcement often found themselves busy responding to crashes and other calls that took priority over the enforcement of truck laws.

In the early 1950’s, through the Public Service Commission and state highway funds, enough revenue was generated to hire civilians to assist State Troopers with truck enforcement duties. In August, 1953 the Indiana State Police hired 22 civilian weigh clerks to replace the original 25 Troopers assigned to truck enforcement duties. Police officers assigned to the Public Service Commission detail were assigned to supervise the weigh clerks at permanent scale locations. Four additional officers were then assigned as field supervisors in the truck weigh detail. The name given to the newly created detail was Motor Carrier Inspection.

Cpl. Bruce Hubble Supervises Weigh Clerk

In those early years the weigh clerks had no law enforcement authority. They were civilian employees who were assigned to work with Troopers. They operated the portable scales, manned the permanent scale facilities, and would do the physical inspections of the trucks which often involved crawling under them as well as other duties. The weigh clerks filled out all the reports and arrest ticket information when necessary. The Trooper then checked the reports and tickets for accuracy, signed, and then filed them. As the truck weigh detail began to grow, it expanded into a “division” and included a division commander, three section commanders, and 22 specialists assigned to 19 districts along with additional support personnel.

It wasn’t until 1952 the first permanent weigh stations were built. They were small 8x10 buildings located on what was then considered primary roads, but by today’s standards, would be considered secondary roads. The buildings were heated with kerosene heaters and had no air-conditioning. A platform scale was installed and worked similar to a bathroom scale. As a truck would cross the scale, one axle at a time was weighed not only to determine the weight on each axle but the sum of these weights equaled the gross weight of the vehicle. These scales stayed in use for many years when the last one, located on U.S. 6 in northern Indiana, finally closed in October of 1997.

From Portable Scales To Scale House

Motor Carrier Inspection operated in this manner for over 20 years when around 1975 their titles were changed from weigh clerk to “weigh master” but they still had no law enforcement authority. According to Larry Andress, retired ISP Motor Carrier Inspector, that same year the legislature sent out questionnaires to all weigh masters to determine if they could perform their duties without the constant supervision of a trooper. Andress went on to say this was not viewed favorably by the Indiana State Police command staff. In fact, he said, “We were all told when we were finished with the questionnaire, we were to turn it into the post and it would be forwarded for us. Myself and Dale Horine told our superior we had already mailed ours in.” According to Andress, only those two questionnaires made it to the legislature. Despite the apparent lack of response to the questionnaires, later in 1975 weigh masters were finally given “limited” law enforcement authority and sent to the academy for three weeks of training. Following that training they were authorized to enforce state and federal laws as they related to weights and dimensions of commercial trucks, permits, and other aspects related to all commercial vehicles. While they now had limited law enforcement authority, their immediate supervisors were still troopers. It was about 1987 when their titles changed again; this time from weigh master to motor carrier inspector (MCI). Along with this came promotion opportunities. No longer under the supervision of a trooper, a “working leader” was promoted from the MCI’s at each district to supervise the other MCI’s assigned to that district. Later the title of working leader was changed to “district coordinator.” Today there are various other supervisory positions within the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division (CVED) and more opportunity for advancement within the ranks of Motor Carrier Inspectors.

Today's Modern Inspecion Facility

CVED Employee Heaton Honored By Division Commander

*NOTE: The sources of the above historical information: Gangsters, Gunfire, and Political Intrigue: The History of the Indiana State Police by Marilyn Olsen and Indiana State Police 1933-1983 by Esther Kellner.

Website "Madison Came Running" & PE 248 Pleased To Be Included On Sergeant Houze's Indiana State Police History Mailing List. (10-42)