LANSING - The Michigan State Police will celebrate its 100th year anniversary this April, and if you keep an eye out on the streets throughout the state you might have the chance to see just how they are honoring those 100 years.
The Michigan State Police Agency was founded in April of 1917 when horses and motorcycles were used as the means of patrol.
Starting in the 1930’s, officers began to use motor vehicles, and in 1954 the cars were painted the traditional state police blue that you see today.
Prior to having their own fleet of cars the Michigan State Police actually used confiscated vehicles, so the 1937 patrol car was one of the first uniformed vehicles that the department was given.
"In commemorating our 100 year anniversary we decided to take a look back to our past as we move to our future and we have 50 patrol cars that are mocked up like our 1937 patrol cars were in a black scheme with a gold ribbon on the vehicle," Lansing Post Commander First Lieutenant Joseph Thomas said.
“These cars have been out for approximately two weeks now and they’ve been a very positive response from the public. A lot of thumbs up, a lot of people excited about seeing the car," Thomas said.
The newly schemed cars will be assigned to every post in the state, and driver precedence will be given to the Corporal Samuel Mapes award winner.
“The Mapes award was named after Corporal Samuel Mates. Corporal Mapes was an officer in our department who died affecting a felony arrest with some rum runners at the time, so the Mapes award is dedicated to those troopers who have the highest activity with felony arrests and investigations," Thomas said.
“Here at the Lansing post we were afforded two patrol cars here- one goes to our Mapes award winner and the other is just used for administrative purposes," Thomas said.
Contrary to what some may think- MSP did not spend any extra money to obtain these remodeled patrol vehicles.
“Because it is something different, some people have had concerns that that may not be a state trooper driving that type of vehicle, and that’s why we’re doing stories like this to let the public know these are vehicles that are assigned by the Michigan State Police, it’s driven by a trooper of the Michigan State Police, and it’s very identifiable as a Michigan State Police vehicle," Thomas said.
The agency will be hosting commemorative events throughout the year, with the main celebration being in April.
Thomas said these cars give officers the opportunity to reach out and engage communities a establish conversation about the rich history of the state police.