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What's the difference between State Police and State Patrol?

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  • What's the difference between State Police and State Patrol?

    The thread says it all, what's the difference in say highway patrol and state police? Here in Wisconsin we have the Wisconsin State Patrol, county sheriff departments, and city/municipal police departments.

    I notice some states have State Police, what's the difference?

    Thanks, JT

  • #2
    Only difference is the letters that make up the second word. Some politician decided to call them them whatever they were called.

    Just like detectives. They can be called detectives, investigators, inspectors or whatever the agency decides to call them. On a side note the US Postal Inspectors are the only federal investigative agency where their guys are not called special agents.
    God made perfect cops.......The rest he put in cars.

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    • #3
      Ok Let me reword the question. Is there any differences between a state trooper and state police? Does one enforce different laws per se? Like just traffic?

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      • #4
        Again, it's just a job title. State police officers/troopers/whatever they are called have jobs that vary from state to state. In some states, almost all of what they do is traffic. In other states, they perform general law enforcement duties because sheriff's offices do not do it (like Pennsylvania). You'd have to look at each statewide law enforcement agency to find out what their duties are. What they call themselves doesn't really define what they do.
        Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

        I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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        • #5
          No difference like listed above.

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          • #6
            We call them State Troopers here and they're part of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

            We do NOT call them State Police. There was a Texas State Police during Reconstruction. Governor Edmund Davis, easily the most corrupt governor behind Ma and Pa Ferguson (Two Governors for the price of one!) formed the force to control Texas. The TSP was extremely biased towards certain political ideologies and served to repress Texas and Texans for joining the Confederacy. It is my understanding that several times, DPS has attempted to identify themselves as State Police and the public uproar was deafening.
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            Let your watchword be duty, and know no other talisman of success than labor. Let honor be your guiding star in your dealing with your superiors, with your fellows, with all. Be as true to a trust reposed as the needle to the pole. Stand by the right even to the sacrifice of life itself, and learn that death is preferable to dishonor. ~ Gov. Richard Coke, October 4, 1876

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            • #7
              State Police conduct general LE activities and traffic, while State/ Highway Patrols concentrate primarily on traffic matters.

              In Ga it kind of limits the utility of a state agency to have troopers that know little about how to handle stuff besides traffic.

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              • #8
                Like as mentioned above regarding PA, above the agency is called PA State Police, the patrol officers are called Troopers.

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                • #9
                  "Only difference is the letters that make up the second word"

                  Yeah I'm gonna disagree. A classmate of mine came from the NC Highway Patrol. The only thing they do is traffic on the insterstate. Va State Police do it all.

                  Big difference!

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                  • #10
                    Like other posters have already mentioned, basically the same. State Patrol/Police have authority throughout the entire State, whereas local town, city, parish exercise their official authority within their jurisdiction.

                    Here in Louisiana, State Police are basically traffic cops responsible for the interstate and highways throughout Louisiana. They do not get involved with title 14 statutes unless of course it's subsequent to a traffic stop.

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                    • #11
                      Yet here in AZ, it is The Department of Public Safety. They are generally called DPS officers. The department is actually under the Department of Transportation, and while they patrol the state highways, they also support the Sheriff's offices.
                      Generally, on the East coast, the State force is strong, and the Sheriff's offices are small, with limited duties. Here in the West, the SO is strong, and the state forces more limited.

                      EDITED to add: "weak" and "strong" are perhaps the wrong words. Here in AZ, the SO is the 'primary' enforcement/investigative agency, Back East it tends to be the Sate force.
                      Last edited by Sleuth; 10-13-2009, 01:43 PM.
                      "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                      John Stuart Mill

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                      • #12
                        In Alabama, the Department of Public Safety is a full service state police agency. It's duties include, Highway Patrol, issuance of Driver Licenses, support, including investigative/technical services to city and county agencies, Executive/VIP protection to the Governor, First Family, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House of Reprsentatives,Attorney General, Capitol Police. Each of these Divisions is interchangeable, and cross trained. The Dept routinely provides investigative/technical support to small county and municipal agencies across the state.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
                          In Alabama, the Department of Public Safety is a full service state police agency. It's duties include, Highway Patrol, issuance of Driver Licenses, support, including investigative/technical services to city and county agencies, Executive/VIP protection to the Governor, First Family, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House of Reprsentatives,Attorney General, Capitol Police. Each of these Divisions is interchangeable, and cross trained. The Dept routinely provides investigative/technical support to small county and municipal agencies across the state.
                          That sounds pretty impressive, but do they know how to handle a DV case, or take a simple theft report, lol.

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                          • #14
                            Ohio - State Highway Patrol - no jurisdiction unless land is owned or leased by the state aka: state patrol, highway patrol, OSP, OSHP, we are not a "state police" as they do not have "police" powers in Ohio.

                            State Trooper - word used for state highway patrolman, or state police officer ie: Kentucky State Police has state troopers as well as Ohio State Highway Patrol

                            State Police - jurisdiction in both private and public matters on and off state owned or leased property

                            With a Highway patrol, generally there are more deputies and/or local LEOs. With a State Police, generally there are fewer deputies and/or local LEOs.

                            Alaska- the only state I know who call themselves Alaska State Troopers, not "state police" or "highway patrol". That is the only terminology they used to refer to their position.

                            Hope this clears it up.
                            Most people fail because they trade what they want MOST, for what they want at the MOMENT.

                            The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, WHO can know it?
                            -Jeremiah 17:9

                            Is it any surprise that cops don't trust anyone?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 913 View Post
                              That sounds pretty impressive, but do they know how to handle a DV case, or take a simple theft report, lol.
                              Yep, we can do that too. LOL

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