As I embark on life as a retiree, it is humbling for me, a guy from Marion, to have had the opportunity to serve as the superintendent of this amazing organization.
When I was walking the halls of Ridgedale High School as a senior in 1977 thinking about what I was going to do with my life I never imagined the impact the Ohio State Highway Patrol would have on my life. When I was walking (running) the halls of the Academy as a cadet in the 108th Class in 1980 I never imagined the impact the Ohio State Highway Patrol would have on my life.
When I look back now on my career, and consider the history of the amazing people who made the Ohio State Highway Patrol great – I have to be honest, it was quite awe-inspiring to be the superintendent of such a storied organization.
In the days leading up to my retirement, I spent time reading issues of the Flying Wheel from throughout my career, and took time to go through the 75th Anniversary history book and savor our rich heritage. I couldn't help thinking the morning of my retirement, Sept. 18, that no document or official history of the exploits of the men and women of the Ohio State Highway Patrol could ever really capture what the Patrol, or what the letters “OSHP” themselves mean to the people whose way of life we are sworn to serve and protect.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol has always been thought of as a cut above the ordinary, and our officers, whose dedication and professionalism are a standard admired across the country, are daily the first line of defense against drunk drivers, reckless and aggressive motorists, drug couriers and wanted felons who prey on the innocent and undermine the moral foundations of our society.
The personal qualities of the women and men of the Ohio State Highway Patrol have made our organization internationally recognized as a flagship agency by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, and led agencies from across North America to spend countless hours analyzing our business practices and modeling their operations from our successes. In the history of law enforcement, I don’t think it is a stretch to say we are one of the most modern and advanced agencies of its kind in the world.
In retiring after 31 years, I know the Ohio State Highway Patrol will continue to look to the future, to use the latest and most sophisticated technology and techniques to protect life and property, promote traffic safety and provide professional public safety services with respect, compassion and unbiased professionalism. In short, I know you will continue to do what needs to be done to protect the law-abiding people of Ohio and the United States.
Today, the nearly 2,700 employees who comprise the Ohio State Highway Patrol carry on the legacy of the thousands who came before you. Since 1933 the Patrol’s core foundation has been rooted in the mission to save lives. I am proud to say that right now you are on the threshold of an historic achievement in terms of traffic fatality reduction in Ohio.
I know our Patrol officers on every shift, every day will continue to concentrate on being more efficient, more focused and more effective at his or her job. And I know our professional staff on every shift, every day will continue to provide the level of support so collectively the Patrol can focus on providing public value every day to the citizens and motorists in this state.
As has been the case throughout our history – When challenged our people responded and surpassed expectations. In retiring after more than three decades with the Patrol, once again, each of you is being looked at by the citizens of Ohio for that kind of leadership – That kind of selfless dedication.
I want to say to all of you that I know you will respond as Patrol personnel always have – with excellence and with fervor. Thank you for the opportunity to share in your accomplishments and to be part of continuing to build the legacy of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Retired Colonel Richard H. Collins