DPS hon­ors 75 years with mo­tor­cy­cle tour

Early pa­trol­men’s badges add touch of his­tory to ride

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO&STATE - By Pa­trick Ge­orge

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.

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