10-8 REPORT

Mississippi Highway Patrol Museum

by Ivana Keeley Williams on 09.16.20

Mississippi Highway Patrol Museum

By Andy Kanengiser

The Mississippi Highway Patrol museum is filled with a sea of artifacts spanning the law enforcement agency’s birth in 1938 through 2020.

A colorful neon sign posted outside the Brookhaven district station, trooper uniforms from a bygone era and a display saluting the courageous service of MHP troopers following the wrath of Hurricane Katrina are part of an extraordinary collection. Troopers were among the first responders on the scene of a devastated Mississippi Gulf Coast after the deadly storm slammed the region on August 29, 2005.

What could be one of the best-kept secrets in the Magnolia State is a splendid museum located at MHP headquarters on Woodrow Wilson, off I-55 in Jackson.

A book “Attention on Deck’’ sits in the museum’s lobby area telling visitors much more about MHP’s history on its 80th anniversary in 2018.

The museum was largely put together in 1988 to mark the Highway Patrol’s 50th birthday. Longtime museum supporters like Joseph Naegele added to it for decades. Trooper families donated historical items from their attics, clothes closets and garages.

A trooper motorcycle known as “knucklehead’’ from 1946 joins old highway maps, MHP trophies, flags, DUI records, aging photos of classes at trooper schools and much more.

From photos of Mississippi governors to MHP commissioners to police radios from decades ago there is something for historians as well as curious citizens to take in. It’s hard to see it all during one visit to the museum. However, for people looking for a copy of the Cadet Creed, the latest “Mississippi Trooper’’ magazine or an outdated booklet on motor vehicle laws, it’s all here.

Before exiting the building, I paused to see the photographs of fallen MHP troopers who gave their lives serving Mississippi. A bell and an American flag stands nearby. A granite marker is inscribed with the words of John 15:13. “Greater Love Hath No Man Than This. That a Man Lay Down his Life for his Friends.’’

What does the future hold for the Mississippi Highway Patrol museum? Funds are being set aside by the state Legislature to build a new MHP headquarters near the Mississippi Crime Laboratory in Rankin County. Some museum supporters would like to see it housed at the new headquarters in Pearl or in its own facility in the area. The new MHP building is expected to be finished by 2024.

The museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. So come visit and enjoy the history.

 


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