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Arizona DPS director receives letter from his late dad from time capsule

Arizona Department of Public Safety head Col. Frank Milstead. (AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead received a gift this week he never knew existed — a letter from his late father.

The letter came from a time capsule that was buried in 1988 when the DPS headquarters was built. The agency dug up the capsule for the department’s 50th anniversary, which fell on Monday.

Former DPS Director Ralph Milstead addressed the letter to whomever the current director would be, having no idea at the time that that person would be his son, who was appointed in 2015.

“As I am going through the contents of the box for the crowd, there’s a letter in there from the director from April of 1988, who was my father,” the current director told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes Show on Wednesday.

“The first two words on the letter were ‘Dear director,’ and I broke down. It was just so incredibly emotional.”

Milstead said the original letter will be placed in the agency’s museum.

“He’s writing a letter to me and he doesn’t know it’s me,” Milstead said.

“And here I am because of Gov. (Doug) Ducey, to be in this position because of my 35 years in law enforcement, I’m the guy that’s opening the time capsule. It was unbelievable.”

The former director, who died in 1996, wrote about the April 4 impeachment of Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham, the same day the letter is dated.

Ralph Milstead also wrote about his warm feelings toward the future director.

“I know a little about you. I know you’re a good person, very successful and a leader. I know you head the finest law enforcement agency in Arizona and possibly the United States,” the letter read.

“I know DPS is in good hands. I know we could be friends.”

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