The Utah Highway Patrol Honorary Colonels Association was chartered on November 13, 1985. In attendance were Colleen M. Bangerter, wife of Governor Bangerter; State Senator Richard J. Carling, State Representative Mike Dimitrich, Mark Fuellenbach, State Senator Lyle W. Hillyard, former Commissioner Raymond A. Jackson, “Met” N. Johnson, Lynn R. Poulsen, Dr. Sterling R. Provost, Glen Richeson, “Tex” Savage, and Otis Winn.
It was agreed that the purpose of the UHP Honorary Colonels was to support the Utah Highway Patrol in every possible way and to lend their support to the Department of Public Safety, where possible. The Honorary Colonels was organized with Sterling Provost as chairman, Met Johnson, chairman elect, and Tex Savage as secretary/treasurer.
The Honorary Colonels established various awards programs, including Trooper of the Year. They appeared before legislative sub-committees in support of the Patrol’s legislative program. Working with private enterprise, the Honorary Colonels created many innovative projects. Burger King furnished “Courteous Driving Awards” which troopers gave to safe drivers. These certificates could be redeemed for a complementary meal at Burger King. Smith’s Food and Drug donated a Thanksgiving turkey for every trooper.
The Honorary Colonels sponsored the adoption of an official UHP flag in 1988. The design of this flag was submitted by Jeff Tippitts, a Patrol dispatch supervisor in Cedar City. The official flag of the UHP is a golden outline of the State with a beehive and the State Seal on a brown background. Visitors to headquarters see this flag, proudly displayed in the reception area.
One of the most noteworthy projects of the Honorary Colonels was the UHP relic car restoration. In January 1986, Sergeant Les Langford located a 1950 Ford in Naples, Utah. The flathead V8 engine, three speed column shift and two-door body style was identical to cars used by the Patrol in 1950. Sergeant Langford approached the Utah Highway Patrol Association with the prospect of restoring this vehicle for parades, safety fairs, and public relations. While the UHPA agreed this project would bolster the image of the Patrol, the UHPA was not in a position financially to undertake the project.
In 1987, the Honorary Colonels became aware of this proposal and willingly accepted the challenge. Colonel Lynn Labrum, owner of L&L Motor, a Ford dealership in Roosevelt, Utah, capably coordinated the work. Using old photographs, the 1950 Ford was painted a distinctive black and white which is identical to the patrol cars of that era. Ford Motor Company donated $1,000 to the project. Many individuals donated labor, materials, and money. Patrol warehouses were searched for relic police equipment including a siren, rotating red light, and low-band whip antenna. The Honorary Colonels spent about $4,000; and one year to complete the restoration. On July 26, 1988, during ceremonies in front of the State Capitol, the restored patrol car was presented to Governor Norm Bangerter, Commissioner John T. Nielsen, and the Utah Highway Patrol.
The 1950 Ford, bears license plate UHP HCA, representing Utah Highway Patrol Honorary Colonels Association. Today, the relic car continues to instill pride in the Patrol and provides symbolism for what the UHP has been to Utah over the years.