The Utah Highway Patrol obtained its first electronic officer, Trooper Tron, on February 4, 1985. Trooper Tron, a robot trooper, was donated to the Utah Highway Patrol by Channel 2 television as a public service. Tron was operated by public relations officer Trooper Wayne Rider.
Tron spent most of his time visiting elementary schools in Utah to participate in safety education programs. During his first year on the job, Trooper Tron visited 391 schools, talked with 85,579 students and made 20 other presentations. Tron talked with 157,950 people that first year teaching them the benefits of safety belts, bicycle safety, pedestrian safety, and traffic safety.
Trooper Tron was self equipped with several small traffic signs, a flashing red and blue light, a built in safety belt, a television screen, and of course the UHP smokey hat and badge. Operated by remote control, Trooper Tron moved about talking to young students eager to listen. During the presentation, students received coloring books which emphasized safety. These books were donated by Hercules Aero Space of Magna, Utah. Students also received plastic badges which designated them as Junior Utah Highway Patrolmen.
Trooper Tron continued to serve until 1992, when he was replaced by Trooper Morton Smith on August 11, 1992. Trooper Morton Smith was derived from Morton International and Smith’s Food and Drug, who donated the funds for this project.
It was rumored that Trooper Tron applied to be police chief in Sandy City. Trooper Smith was built by Robotronics in Spanish Fork. He boasts a human face and moving eyes and hands. Trooper Smith continues to deliver important safety messages to Utah elementary children.