Ask Trooper Rob: Vehicles move forward while underscoring traditionPublished 11:52pm Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Have you ever wondered why the Michigan State Police patrol car has its distinctive blue color and is commonly called a “Blue Goose?”
Commissioner Joseph A. Childs (from 1952-1965) decided to “add some life” to the color of state police patrol cars that had been uniformly black with gold door shield and striping painted on since the 1930s.
In 1954, the color was changed to a bright shade of blue that remains standard today. Uncomfortable with the “gaudy” new patrol car, troopers dubbed it the “Blue Goose” in parody of a well-known commercial bus line of that time. Trooper John K. Cosgrove Jr. described the patrol car color change as follows:
“Change is always hard. At first, we troopers thought it just wouldn’t work, but the new color stuck, and, today, I think it’s one of the best-looking patrol cars in the business.”
The Michigan State Police has endured many types and styles of vehicles. Beginning in 1917 with mounted patrols on horses, it went to a Lincoln Touring car, Ford Model A (which was the first standard marked patrol car) to Plymouth, Chevy, Ford and Dodge patrol cars. These included a Mustang and Camaro, which led to the current line fleet of Ford Crown Victoria’s, Dodge Chargers and Chevy Tahoes.
There also have been Indian motorcycles and now Harley-Davidsons. Troopers use boats, helicopters and planes to ensure public safety and enforce the criminal and traffic laws of Michigan.
Trooper John P. Clinton enlisted in the Michigan State Police on May 18, 1920, and, at age 24, was assigned to the Grandville Detachment. In December
1922, Clinton was patrolling old M-11 near Grandville when his motorcycle sputtered then stalled. He flagged down a passing motorist and hitched a rope to the car’s bumper in an effort to restart the motorcycle while it was being towed.
They traveled a short distance when the rope became tangled in the motorcycle’s front wheel, throwing Clinton to the pavement, causing a skull fracture. The motorist rushed Clinton to a Grand Rapids hospital, where Clinton succumbed to his injuries on Jan. 8, 1923.
Clinton was the third Michigan State Police to die in the line of duty.
Send email to Trooperrob53@Yahoo.com.