Chief John Batiste also thanked about 50 retirees who were present for the legacy they left to his generation.
“Those of you who came before us left a wonderful agency. We owe you a huge debt of gratitude,” Batiste said.
He offered a moment of silence in honor of the 26 agency employees who gave their lives in service to the people of Washington.
Also speaking was the agency’s oldest living retired trooper, 96-year old Bob Rupp.
“It was always about service to the people of this state,” Rupp said. “Occasionally you had somebody who was a problem, and we did what we had to do. But service came first.”
Rupp had a chance to ride in a modern police car, and was amazed by all of the current gadgetry such as multiple radios, computers, PA systems and lights.
“In my day we had a radio microphone with a button that you pushed to talk. That was it,’ he said.
Borrowing a tradition from the military, Rupp as the agency’s oldest trooper and pre-Academy Cadet Brooke Bova used a sword to make the first cut in the agency’s birthday cake symbolizing the past and the present.
A pre-television film clip about the Patrol, made in the 1940s and which played in local movie houses, is now available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/wspgovandmedia#p/u/1/qDqr81fq_sI.