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  • State Trooper out all alone!?

    Hello everyone! I have been a member of Officer.com for several months just reading and trying to gain as much knowledge as possible about a future career in law enforcement. My first kick on LE was becoming a city police officer. After further research I really started liking the fact of Highway Patrol/State Police depending on where you are from! I'm looking to apply at the Missouri Highway Patrol, Nebraska State Patrol, and the Arkansas State Patrol/Police whatever they call theirs. Regardless I always see them by themselves. Now I'm in the AF reserves as SF and have a few troopers in my unit. They always say you're all out on your own etc... but do they have any backup if things get hariy? I mean do they have county backing them up or other patrol officers? This concerns me somewhat and I think it would anyone being all out by yourself. I figured that there is just such a wealth of knowledge on these forums that this will be a simple question however I hope to receive a detailed answer!

    Thank in advance and hope to hear from you all soon.

  • #2
    Longdistance...finally someone actually asking an intelligent question! To give you a brief on some State Police agencies I am familiar with and have worked beside. Some statr units do work a lot on their own. Which can be anything from pulling just traffic stops to working construction detail on a highway during the night. Each state has their own specific jobs for their troopers, etc. In Maryland, some troopers respond to calls for service in the counties, in which they will get back-up from local PD's and county agencies, however in Louisiana, most troopers may have to work at least 3 parishes by themselves with no back-up for miles. Those are things you will have to think about when applying and when it comes time for oral boards, etc. You have to decide if you can cut it or not. Good luck and keep the good questions rolling!
    "An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded."

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    • #3
      Good questions?

      Well Irish thanks for the response. I'm surprised you thought it was really that good of a question. I mean I think it's most likely obvious to most that troopers in most states work by themselves. However being Non-LEO I don't know anything. I'm not one to try to post on things I'am not knowgeable* about or quite frankly have the experinece in LEO. Because I don't! I'm curious what one would do if they have to pull over a car of 5+ people vs. 1 Trooper. I guess you just have to have the I'm going home to my family attitude. I hear the quote constantly about "I would rather be judged by 12 then carried by 6." That's true in any line of work however especially in my humble opion a trooper. Out there by themselves not having the "backup" within minutes that most cities agencies possess. Furthermore I'm planning on doing a ride-along program with the patrol to gain futher knowledge about this specfic "branch" of law enforcement. I have done two seperate ride-alongs in my area for the city and it became a wealth of knowledge not only about the career but about finances being a LEO and family life which meant a great deal to me. I would wonder if the stuff hits the fan what exactly a trooper would do. I mean what would he say on the radio. Yell for back up and it proably won't arrive for several minutes. I think LEO's know that minutes are like hours in a crisis situation. Furthermore I'm curious on the charcristics* that Patrols themselves look for in a recruit. Hopefully a no quit attitude I do posses which is nice I think especially for LEO work. Another feat I'm suffering though is that I'am about five foot ten inches and 135lbs. I'm skinny as a pole and still look skinny wet! Hopefully they will look past this and know that I will gain weight and learn to fight with training and experience. I am a tenacious* little scrapper if you will. Also Irish I sincerly appreciate the comments that you posted and also appreciate the quick response to this thread. If you or anyone else has any addtional responses please keep them coming. I do applogize in advance if this wasn't the proper forums to put the posting at however since it said "Ask a Cop" that's what I did.

      Thanks again!

      * - Spelling errors.

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      • #4
        The smaller town PDs, small sheriff departments, and Troopers cover each other real well. Law enforcement in lightly populated areas usually get along much better because they have to depend on each other more. You dont have as many turf battles.

        If you are confident in your abilities, tactically sound you will do fine no matter how desolate it is.

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        • #5
          My patrol area covers 17 towns and a major highway of which my barracks covers 25 miles of it. During the day there are 3 patrols, at night just 2. If another Trooper needs a back up we're there as fast a possible, but it can be a while sometimes.

          Some of the towns in our area have part time or no PDs at all and we're the primary LE in the area. Other big towns and cities in our area don't mind helping us and vice versa. We listen to them on the scanner and they listen to us, but we can't talk directly to each other

          "Troopers ride alone" is not just a motto, it's the real deal here. We're not Highway Patrol (although our Secretary of Public Safety wouldn't mind that), and it's a full service State Police department. Other states may be different, but here in the northeast, most SPs are the same.
          Whitechapel - Hate Creation

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          • #6
            Originally posted by longdistancecop
            They always say you're all out on your own etc... but do they have any backup if things get hariy? I mean do they have county backing them up or other patrol officers?
            In KY a Trooper works alone and may have as many as 5 rural counties to work (in KY most counties are pretty small, heck, we have 120 of them). There can be decent backup available, but still 10-15 minutes away, maybe more, depending on geography.
            "We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered." - Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

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            • #7
              All good answers

              It just depend on what state, and what part of the state. I live in a state with many urban areas, and lots of rural areas too. The job is a lot different in the various counties, a lot different.

              One of the nice things, however, is that you get some control over what type of area (rural or urban) you want to work in. Not at first, of course, but with time and seniority.

              Hey, and I think we are hiring soon. PM me if you want to know more.
              You can now follow me on twitter.

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              • #8
                It's not much different up here, ldc, from what it is down there. Where I am posted, there is 1 Sgt, 1 Cpl, and 5 Csts for investigations, plus my 2 Cst partners and me (also a Cst-for-life!) for traffic enforcement.

                The 7 investigators cover an area of roughly 2700 square miles. My 2 partners and I patrol an area roughly 9 times that again, as we cross several Detachment and Municipal Police Service boundaries.

                Many RCMP Detachments will often only have 1 member on duty for a 16:00 - MN shift, or only have someone "voluntarily" on-call during late-night quiet hours.
                #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                "Smile" - no!

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                • #9
                  I am not a Missouri Trooper, I have ridden with a few though, when I was off duty with my agency.

                  Missouri Troopers Usually cover two counties, unless they are in an urban area, Some of the Troop-c guys cover a few miles of 270. Yet some troop-c guys work Pike/Lincoln and could have a response time of up to 45 minutes, Thats lights and siren boys and girls.

                  Missouri Troopers Usually go off duty by 0200, then they could be called out, only once did I have a Trooper show up with even needing a shave, I was told by one that he shaves before going to bed.

                  Whether you have back-up depends on the place. I know of Muni's that will not let their Officers cross the city limits, for any reason, including backing up another cop.

                  Some Counties have such poor relations with everyone else, that they will not back-up others. Many deputies that work those places will take the butt chewing and do it anyway. One county I worked for we were not supposed to assist at accidents unless directed by the sheriff, an often violated policy, and we did not get yelled at unless the Sheriff felt like it, or a citizen complained, and they did.

                  There are several counties in Missouri that do not have 24 hour service, I know that some of these counties at least try to say on as long as MSHP is on but not all do.

                  If you are a Trooper here sometimes your nearest back-up is in his jammies. When I was working at one muni, the repeater cut out and the County who dispatched for us sent a just gone off duty Deputy to check on a traffic stop I was on, he showed up in his pajamas and a robe, when I said "hey thats some serious Officer presence", he said "well I brought my gun, I figured it was just radio trouble, but if you needed me, all you really needed was another shooter"

                  Missouri really is the dark ages for Law Enforcement, philosophy-wise, but the State Patrol is pretty good, as long as they do not get too big a head....
                  Last edited by purdinpopo; 10-06-2005, 12:13 PM. Reason: correction
                  Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for all the replys! I appreciate it. I think that I really need to do a ride along and see what it's like first hand. I heard them going off shift around 0200, and then being on call. I wonder if these agencies will put you out in the middle of no where for your first year or two and if you would be able to transfer to a metro county etc... Does anyone know on that? I'm surprised so many people replied to my messages. I really appreciate the wealth of knowledge I'm gaining hear. I just think the troopers uniforms (for most states) look great and really professional. I'm still thinking about city police just due to the fact that at least you know you'll stay put for you're career. Plus the fact that you can move up into investigations etc... I know on the east coast that it's state police so you can move up to detective etc... if you wanted to i.e. you get selected/hired for that postion. Anyhow thanks again and please keep the responses coming.

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                    • #11
                      My wife was one of the first female troopers in a Western state. This was 1970's, when she had to wear male uniforms (and body armor). She was sent to a small post, told "You are taking a man's job", and detailed to midnights.
                      She learned to overcome resistance, usually by talking them into the cuffs. One drunk drove through 3 counties, "just to see how far (my wife) would follow her!"
                      Payback hurt: Drunk went to jail in county #3, but, per state law, her car was towed to county #1. Next day, drunk gets released, and wants to know how she is to get to her car? My (future) wife told her to hire a cab - and these are BIG counties. Figure a $100 cab fare.

                      I worked for a Federal Agency along the border, where backup was usually 45 min,. to an hour & 1/2 away. Stopping cars with 7-12 people, or large loads of dope (200+ pounds) solo at night were regular occurances. You learn to adapt, improvise, and overcome. If you develop the proper outlook and mental attitude, it's not a big deal. Tools help too - we carried handguns, rifles, leg irons, multiple cuffs, etc.
                      "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
                        Where I'm at, help is not too far away from other troopers and/or locals but guys up north could be 300 miles from the next LE officer. It all depends. Just be smart about how you pick your battles.

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                        • #13
                          ride alongs?

                          In our State, ride alongs with State Troopers is not allowed. I think the only exception is if you are seeking a career in Dispatch, or already hired as a dispatcher. Is this the same for other States?
                          Thanks

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                          • #14
                            This post has been deleted.
                            Last edited by VSP734; 06-22-2007, 08:15 PM.

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                            • #15
                              back up

                              On the flip side... my husband was a Deputy and worked in a huge area, sometimes completely on his own, and the Troopers were awesome to him, they were always there to back him up if he got in a scary situation, great bunch of guys!!

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