WI State Patrol celebrating 75th year

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The state patrol is turning 75 years old.

Back when the first state patrol troopers took their posts in 1939, they had less authority and more challenges with communication.

Cars go faster, roads are busier and distractions are everywhere.
But the state patrol said through its 75 years of existence, Wisconsin roads have gotten safer.

From clothes and cars to computers and communication, the list of changes and improvements are as long as the highways they patrol.

“The safety belt being a primary enforcement has changed the way we do business and what we look for and it made people safer,” 27-year-veteran Lt. Dori Petznick said.

“When I started, we had no short sleeve shirts, we wore long sleeves year round, the tops of our cruisers were black, there was no ac and it got pretty warm in there,” Former Captain, Sterling Standiford, who spent nearly 30 years with the patrol said.

“The technology we have now is so much more efficient. Everything used to be hand written,” Petznick said.

Standiford said troopers no longer have to be at least 5’10”, or drive their own cars on duty, but more education and more strict background checks are now required.

“The people have gotten better. They're better trained, they're better able to respond to many type of calls they do,” Standiford said.

Petznick said more funding could bring more opportunities for safety in the future.

“We'd love to have more officers out there to be able to assist in these rural agencies. Right now, they're in need of help,” she said.

“It's a good place to work. The state is a good employer in that respect. If I had to do it again, I’d do the same thing,” Standiford said.

The state patrol plans to put out a book for its 75th anniversary and there's a banquet scheduled in Madison next month.