DPS honors 75 years with motorcycle tour
Early patrolmen’s badges add touch of history to ride
As the Texas Department of Public Safety prepares for its 75th birthday, 20 motorcycle riders left Austin on Sunday to travel the state in honor of the agency and its fallen officers.
The riders — DPS officers and employ- ees and members of the Blue Knights motorcycle club — left on a 13-day, 2,400-mile trip to Houston, Lubbock, McAllen and other cities. They’ll visit DPS locations in those cities to mark the anniversary and will carry the badges of two early highway patrolmen along the way.
DPS Chief Inspector Jude Schexnyder said that the motorcycle trip was inspired by one of the original two components of the department when it was created in 1935: The Texas State Highway Patrol, whose officers used motorcycles exclusively until cars were added in the 1940s.
The other agency was the Texas Rangers, he said.
“A lot has been written about the Texas Rangers, but not a lot is known about the
Continued from B1 Highway Patrol,” Schexnyder said. He said the patrol kept the state safe at a time when both motorcycles and roads were unreliable.
“It just seemed appropriate that we celebrate this anniversary with a motorcycle ride around the state,” he said.
The riders are taking the badge of patrolman Hardy Matthews Sr., who graduated from the first patrol school in February 1930, and the cap badge of patrolman Arthur Fischer, who was the first highway patrolman killed in the line of duty when he died in a motorcycle crash in 1932.
Proceeds from entry fees will go the DPS Memorial Fund, Schexnyder said.
Jeff Tippit of La Porte said he joined the ride as a member of the Blue Knights.
“We’re a law enforcement motorcycle club, so when we heard about this, we wanted to be in it,” Tippit said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event.”
Jude Schexnyder says ride honors early agency.
A 1930s Texas State Highway Patrol shirt badge will accompany the motorcyclists across the state on their anniversary ride.