During June 1979, an independent truckers’ strike resulted in several acts of violence. All troopers were called to duty following four shootings and two truck fires. Troopers doubled up during graveyard shifts. After several tense days, the strike ended and the troopers resumed normal duties.
In the late 1970s, several court decisions regarding the lack of training of police officers in the use of traffic radar and no certification of radar units received national attention. The Utah Highway Patrol implemented a radar certification program in 1979. For the first time, troopers received detailed instruction on the proper use of traffic radar. All radar units were subsequently certified twice annually. Several units were modified, while others were taken out of service, since they did not conform to recommended standards.
The following year, Major Mike Chabries and Sergeant Gary E. Gunrud taught the UHP radar training program for Northwestern University’s Traffic Institute. The Traffic Institute subsequently adopted this program in their curriculum. Many other states received traffic radar training by UHP instructors. These states also adopted the Patrol’s radar training course.
In November 1979, the Patrol created an “ART” team. “ART” is an acronym for accident reconstruction team. The first ART team was lead by Trooper Robert N. Dahle. Trooper Dahle was sent to the Minnesota State Patrol Academy to learn new methods of accident investigation. Other members of the first ART team were Troopers James E. Lindsey, Dale D. Neal, and Bruce S. Marshall. The following year the ART team taught an advanced accident investigation course to all troopers. This training included weight shift, fall speed, conservation of linear momentum, perspective grid photography, and quadratic equations.
Following years of work by the Utah Peace Officers Association, the Utah Sheriffs Association, the Utah Chiefs of Police Association and the Utah Highway Patrol, the 1977 legislature appropriated money to build a police academy. A permanent training facility for Peace Officer Standards and Training was completed in 1980. The Utah Highway Patrol and the Utah Department of Transportation also built new administrative facilities next to the new police academy, located at 4501 South 2700 West, Salt Lake City. This building was named the Calvin L. Rampton Complex in recognition of Governor Rampton.