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New Mexico Ranger & BCCU

The New Mexico Rangers are a police auxiliary organization with responsibilities similar to those of the N.M. Mounted Patrol.  The organization was formed in December 1941, a few days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, as a volunteer civil defense organization established under the name Bernalillo County Home Defense Unit. After the war the members reorganized for peacetime duties as the Bernalillo County Citizens Unit (BCCU). Special license plates for the BCCU were authorized in 1967. In May of the following year its name was changed to New Mexico Rangers, and the designation on the license plates was changed accordingly. (The N.M. Rangers who received these plates are different from the organization of the same name which operated around the turn of the twentieth century.)  The AP prefix on the 1967 and 1968 plates stands for Auxiliary Police.  All plates illustrated on this page except for the 1970, 1971, and the undated yellow yucca plate were owned by the late Kenneth King, a long-time member of the BCCU who was active in numerous search & rescue and other public service organizations.

At the beginning of 1968 BCCU members received new plates, identical to the 1967 tags except for the date and a new blue-on-tan color scheme. The “BCCU” silk screened in block letters at the top center of the plates was carried forward from the prior year. When the name of the organization was changed to New Mexico Rangers in May of ’68, the designation on the plate was changed as well. Rather than stamping out new plates, the new name was silk screened onto a piece of the same self-adhesive tan Scotchlite material that was already on the plates, and then this piece was used to cover the “BCCU.” Though difficult to see under normal conditions, if the plate is tilted to a highly oblique angle to a light source, the impression made on the Scotchlite by the underlying “BCCU” is clearly readable. The NMTHP would like to photograph an example of a 1968 BCCU plate which did not have the N.M. Ranger overlay applied to it. If you have one that you would like to loan, donate, or sell, please contact us.


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