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Beehive and Speeders

In 1973, the UHP established the Beehive Award Program to stimulate the recovery of stolen vehicles and the apprehension of suspects in them. For every stolen vehicle recovered with an arrest of the driver, troopers received a red lightning bolt, to be placed on the left door of their patrol car. Patterned after the fighter pilot program, troopers became “Aces” upon receipt of the fifth lightning bolt. A large “A” on a gold background was also affixed to the left door. Many highly successful troopers adorned an entire door with lightning bolts and ace emblems. Later the program allowed for the affixing of a car with a red lightning bolt through the center and the number of recovered stolen vehicles specified in the center. This program continues today. Each year the Utah Highway Patrol Association awards the Golden Beehive Award to the trooper with the most stolen vehicle recoveries and arrests. The Silver Beehive Award is presented to the top trooper in each section with the most stolen vehicle recoveries and arrests.

Moving radar was first used in 1973. The first moving radars used by the Patrol were Kustom Signals, model MR-7s. This unit only displayed the violators speed. The patrol car speed was not displayed. No training was given to troopers regarding shadowing, batching, and panning. There was no certification required to operate radar at this time.

An oil embargo by several oil producing nations led to an energy crisis in the early 1970s. By 1973, the federal government passed a national maximum speed limit of 55 mph. Enforcement of this law was left up to the states; however, states which failed to enforce the law were threatened with the loss of highway construction and maintenance funds. Utah began enforcement of the 55 speed limit in late 1973, by issuing warnings only. The Department of Transportation made “55 mph” placards which were placed over existing speed limit signs. By early 1974, several rural roads still displayed speed limit signs in excess of 55 mph. Once all signs had been changed, the Patrol began enforcement with citations. The Utah Highway Patrol was the primary enforcement agency of this new law.

Trooper receiving golden Beehive award