HISTORY OF THE NEVADA HIGHWAY PATROL ASSOCIATION
1981 : A new era starts
In 1981 the NHPA started to recognize the need to become more involved in the political circle and to establish itself more as a labor organization. The NHPA also came to the reality we needed to have our voice heard across the state and to inform our citizens of who we are and what our issues were. While other Nevada Police Agencies were moving ahead in wages and benefits, the troopers of the NHP were not even recognized in the investigative class in state government.
In 1981 the NHPA Board of directors authorized NHPA President Gary Wolff, from 1981 to 1983 to act as the first Legislative Liaison and to represent the NHPA on internal NHPA state issues. The first major victory for the NHPA was establishing the sworn members of the NHP as investigators. This was no easy task as it received little attention and support from state personnel and required a full one step upgrade for all sworn NHP personnel. Several NHPA and NHP individuals were labeled and put their careers on the line.
One such individual was now retired Chief Peter J. Zadra. who at the time was the commander of the Reno area joined forces with the NHPA. When state personnel failed to bring the issue before the personnel commission as promised, Zadra called NHP Chief Jim Lambert and stated he was tired of the delays and broken promises and if the Trooper issue was not put on the next commission agenda he would abandon management and take up with the troopers. This was a very risky statement for Zadra, but it worked.
Although Wolff was the legislative liaison the NHPA relied on the Stare of Nevada employees Association [SNEA] to actually lobby and support NHPA issues. During this period the NHPA actually had it’s own unit under SNEA . During the 1983 Legislature it became clear the SNEA lobbying was ineffective on NHPA issues, in fact the NHPA found that SNEA actually opposed a pay proposal that the NHPA was trying to pass.
After the 1983 session the NHPA severed it’s official ties with SNEA and elected to go it alone. Other notable accomplishments that occurred during 1981 to 1983 were, then Trooper Steve Harney director Las Vegas area presented a gift of ten thousand dollars from a Las Vegas casino owner. The first NHPA magazine was published in 1982and the first NHP Belt Buckle was designed by Tom Hammill and offered for sale in 1983.