State Police celebrating 100th anniversary

Posted 11 April 2017 at 2:34 pm

Photos courtesy of State Police: Sergeant Harry A. Adams, 55, died on September 1, 1951, while directing traffic at the scene of an accident. Sergeant Adams, in charge of an accident investigation on Sawyer Road near Albion, was assisting with traffic control when a motorist passing through the accident scene struck and killed him. Sergeant Adams had a lengthy career with the Division of State Police at Troop A. He was the Albion Station Commander at the time of his death.

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the start of the New York State Police Centennial Celebration with the dedication of an historical marker commemorating the Division’s 100th Anniversary at the Cavalry Club in Manlius, Onondaga County.

Governor Cuomo also proclaimed April 11th as New York State Police Day. The Department of State Police was created on April 11, 1917, when Governor Charles S. Whitman signed the Wells-Mills Bill into law, establishing the State Police as a full-service police agency. The Cavalry Club is the site of Camp Newayo, where the first 232 Troopers received their training starting in June of 1917.

“The New York State Police built a 100-year legacy of innovation and excellence in public service, giving it the well-deserved recognition as one of the most highly-respected law enforcement agencies in the nation,” Governor Cuomo said. “From Buffalo to Plattsburgh to New York City and everywhere in between, Troopers put their own safety on the line each day to protect all of us. I join the State Police in celebrating this important milestone, and on behalf of all New Yorkers, I congratulate and thank all Troopers for their outstanding service.”

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, “Since the days when troopers protected our rural communities on horseback, they have been a force for law, order and justice. From highway patrols to the highest level investigations, our state police force is unmatched in its professionalism and dedication to duty that remains as strong today as it was 100 years ago. As we celebrate this milestone in the history of a truly great law enforcement agency, we offer our congratulations and deepest gratitude to the men and women whose willingness to serve and sacrifice touches the lives of every New Yorker.”​

The Troop A Coin represents one of the “original 4” Troops assigned to patrol the state, hence the “original 4” at the bottom of the coin. The purple border represents the Praetorian guard of the Roman Empire and the eights stars represents the eight counties that are patrolled by Troop A: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming. The mounted Trooper watches over Niagara Falls and represents the early lone “soldier of the law” at the most western region of New York State. The black background at the top is for the fallen Members of Troop A.

State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “Since April 11, 1917, the State Police have been committed to helping New Yorkers by providing them with friendly, professional service. I am humbled and honored to serve as Superintendent as we celebrate our centennial, and I encourage everyone to join us and learn about the outstanding work our sworn and civilian members perform each and every day.”

After dark tonight, the tower of the Empire State Building in New York City will be lit in purple and gray to honor the State Police Centennial. The Peace Bridge in Buffalo will also be illuminated in the State Police colors, as will Niagara Falls, from 10 p.m. – 10:15 p.m.

As part of this year’s Centennial celebration, each State Police Troop will host an open house for the public, starting on April 29 with Troop D in Oneida and continuing with other Troops throughout the summer and into October.

Each open house will feature a travelling exhibit showcasing State Police history. Information on the schedule of open houses, along with a timeline of historical events and photographs, can be found at the centennial website: The State Police will also unveil a new exhibit at the New York State Fair, which runs from August 23-September 4.

The idea for a State Police force started in 1913, when a construction foreman named Sam Howell was murdered while delivering payroll to a jobsite in Westchester County. Before he died, Howell was able to identify his attackers as a group of men he recently released from the construction site, due to poor performance. Even with this information, the men were never apprehended. His employer, Miss Moyca Newell, and her friend, author Katherine Mayo, concerned by the state of rural law enforcement, started the movement to form a state police force to provide police protection in all of New York’s rural areas.

Trooper Edward Longhany in front of SP Batavia 1953.

In June of 1917, the first Recruit Troopers started their training in Manlius, NY at Camp Newayo, named for Newell and Mayo. When training ended that fall, the original 232 Troopers were sent to their first assignment to patrol the New York State Fair, then set out on horseback to start policing the State’s rural areas. There are currently more than 5,600 sworn and civilian members in 11 Troops across the State, including Troop NYC based in New York City.

The New York State Police is a full service police agency. In addition to the uniformed force, there are more than 1,000 members of the plainclothes Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which investigates felonies and major crimes, and is able to assist local law enforcement agencies that don’t have the resources to undertake major criminal investigations.

The State Police also support the state Office of Counter Terrorism and manage the New York State Intelligence Center, which brings together federal, state and local agencies to analyze and share information on terrorism and related crimes. Other specialized details include the Aviation Unit, Special Operations Response Team, Canine Unit, Dive Team, the Community Narcotics Enforcement team, and the Bomb Disposal Unit.

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