Camp Williams Academy
In 1959, Sergeant Mike Gale and Staff Sergeant Ed Pitcher were assigned to Camp Williams to begin the Utah Highway Patrol Police Academy. Opening on July 6, 1959, the Utah Highway Patrol Academy provided two weeks of basic training to all new officers, Utah Highway Patrol as well as others. Sergeants Gale and Pitcher provided much of the training and coordinated the rest. They solicited the assistance of county attorneys, police officials, medical personnel, and National Guard personnel to serve as instructors at no charge. Mike was later promoted to Staff Sergeant. The rank of Staff Sergeant was only held by four members of the UHP as follows: Rulon Bennion, Dan Beckstead, Ed Pitcher and Mike Gale. Mike’s wife, Ellen, managed the Camp Williams Officer’s Club.
Classes included accident investigation, blockades and road checks, court appearances, criminal code, crime scene searches, defensive tactics, finger printing, firearms, first aid, history and origin of the police, interrogation, laws of arrest, local laws and ordinances, mechanics of arrest, and the vehicle code.
The Utah Highway Patrol continued to offer basic training for nearly every agency in the state. The Nevada Highway Patrol sent 10 men to one of these sessions. The total cost to other agencies was $45 per officer for lodging. For years, the Utah Highway Patrol and the Utah Peace Officers Association lobbied the legislature for funding to create a police academy. Their goal was realized in 1967, when the legislature finally created Peace Officer Standards and Training. The Utah Highway Patrol Academy continued to offer courses until the 1970s.
With the creation of the UHP Academy and the implementation of the new dress blouse, many administrators believed the image of the Patrol would be enhanced with the implementation of military courtesy. Close order drill was implemented at the Highway Patrol Academy. Patrolmen and troopers were required to salute officers of the rank of sergeant and above, including the Commissioner and the Governor. This practice continued from 1959 to 1961.