Trooper Jim Foster
Sgt. James S. “Trooper Jim” Foster was a public relations safety officer with the Florida Highway Patrol in the late 60’s and early 70’s and his job was speaking to civic groups on traffic safety in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. He eventually branched out as a singer/songwriter and producer of country music, a broadcaster, and eventually, a politician.
Jim was raised in central Georgia on a small farm and moved to Florida after serving in the Air Force during the Korean War. He loved country music and learned to play the guitar as a youngster. He wrote most of his songs and many of them have been recorded by other top country artists. His most-known record was a novelty tune released in 1965, “Four On The Floor (and a Fifth Beneath the Seat)” for United Artists Records.
From that point on, Jim recorded on a regular basis for various labels, including Plantation Records’ Shelby S. Singleton, the Nashville producer behind Jeannie C. Riley’s 1968 mega hit “Harper Valley PTA.” In the late 60’s and early 70’s, he hosted a 15-minute Sunday TV show, “Bring ‘Em Back Alive,” on Tampa Bay’s WLCY-TV Channel 10 and voiced traffic safety public service announcements for radio stations throughout the Greater Tampa Bay Area.
Using his position with the FHP as a springboard, Jim launched a successful political career and served ten years in the Florida House of Representatives representing a district east of Tampa. He was an advocate of law enforcement and limited government spending and served on various agricultural and criminal justice committees. He sponsored legislation to force convenience stores to cover adult publications and was responsible for improved safety standards at school bus stops. He also created a taxi commission to regulate public transportation in Hillsborough County.
After ten years as a legislator, Jim left politics in 1982 and began work with the state Division of Forestry and the Department of Motor Vehicles and Highway Safety while continuing to consult for police benevolent organizations in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. He retired in 1988 and made his home in the Georgia and Tennessee mountains
“Trooper Jim” always called Tampa home, living on “The Foster’s Lazy Acres,” but resided in Pulaski, Tennessee at the time of his death in 1996. He was 62.
1965 - 1972 WPLA (On Air Personality)