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  • Just a general question

    I'm new and this may have been answered but In all the times I've been on patrol and participated in DUI details, I've never asked this question of our fellow troopers. It's mostly for Florida and I have a general idea but would like to hear from others.

    What is the difference between state law enforcement officer and highway patrol troopers? I know it's in the wording with different states, but there must be more to one than the other.

    I appreciate the info.

  • #2
    Troopers have a traffic mission and state police have a police mission. In a nutshell, the primaray duty of the Ohio Highway Patrol is enforce all laws relating to traffic offenses on public roadways. They can also enforce all criminal state laws on state property. They cannot go anywhere they want and enforce criminal law, as a state police officer can. A highway patrolman will not come to your house out in the country and take a burglary report, a state police officer will.

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    • #3
      It will vary from state to state.

      In California all peace officers have authority anywhere in the state, however, the Legislature has also given each agency a "primary mission" or function. For city police the mission is anywhere in the state for a public offense committed or which there is probable cause to believe has been committed within the political subdivision employing them or in which they serve (contract cities).

      For Highway Patrol the mission is anywhere in the state for enforcement of any law relating to the use or operation of vehicles upon the highways, or laws pertaining to the provision of police services for the protection of state officers, state properties, and the occupants of state properties, or both.

      If an officer comes across a serious offence outside the area of his primary mission he doesn't have to put on his blinders and has the authority to take police action, however, when an agency starts spending a disproportionate amount of time handling things outside their normal mission questions may arise as to misuse of public resources and neglect of their primary mission.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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      • #4
        The Alabama Department of Public Safety is a full service state police agency, but NOT a first responder. in many instances.. The notable exception to this is traffic accidents on the interstate system, state highways and county roads.

        Normally, the department does not respond to Burglaries, Domestic disputes and general calls, except to back a county/municipal officer on request.

        The department does assist small municipalities/counties in criminal investigations when requested to do so. These requests are quite frequent, and my Agency renders substantial assistance in these instances.

        Arresting Officers of the Department of Public Safety enjoy full state wide criminal and traffic law jurisdiction.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by LawN4CR View Post
          What is the difference between state law enforcement officer and highway patrol troopers? I know it's in the wording with different states, but there must be more to one than the other.

          I appreciate the info.
          In EVERY STATE--------A trooper is a state law enforcement officer.

          However every state law enforcement officer is not a trooper.

          IN Iowa we have a Department of Public Safety which oversees the State Troopers, Division of Criminal Investigation , State Narcotics Investigators, & State Fire Marshall's. (Each division's title is pretty self explanatory as to their duties)

          The Iowa Department of Transportation has an Enforcement branch that employees Police Officers.

          We also have Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement, as well as 3 of the State Universities have Law Enforcement Officers who are "State Law Enforcement Officers)

          All of the above are also State Law Enforcement Officers

          Technically the Department of Corrections have "Correctional Peace Officers" who are considered non=sworn Law Enforcement Officers. The Department of Corrections also has Parole/Probation Officers who ARE sworn LEO's and thus also are State Law Enforcement Officers

          Now if you are really asking about the difference between a State Trooper and a State Police officer.................................Read Post #2
          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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          • #6
            Originally posted by just joe View Post
            Troopers have a traffic mission and state police have a police mission. In a nutshell, the primary duty of the Ohio Highway Patrol is enforce all laws relating to traffic offenses on public roadways. They can also enforce all criminal state laws on state property. They cannot go anywhere they want and enforce criminal law, as a state police officer can. A highway patrolman will not come to your house out in the country and take a burglary report, a state police officer will.
            This is what I thought it might be. I'm sure it's the same with Florida.
            Thank you.

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            • #7
              Thank you Iowa #1603. Post #2 is what I thought as well.
              Last edited by LawN4CR; 05-09-2014, 10:58 PM.

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              • #8
                Thank you

                Thank you all for the answers. Please stay safe.

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                • #9
                  I know Alaska is probably a special case,but I thought it strange their troopers appear to act as a state police from watching the show. I can see a trooper from any state assisting in regular police work every now and then in more rural areas where regular police forces are thin, but they seem to be patrolling in larger cities up there,...so I just don't know.

                  Here in Texas, uniformed troopers mostly work traffic in mostly rural areas. They usually assist smaller agencies when needed, and many work all traffic investigations in these more rural areas. A Texas Ranger is a trooper appointed to that position. He is pretty much a detective for more rural areas that don't have the expertise in higher criminal investigations. They have other duties also, but again, they are small town detectives.

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                  • #10
                    TN Highway Patrol focuses primarily on traffic, but they do have specialized divisions like SWAT, CID (auto theft), etc. The TN Bureau of Investigation has special agents that make arrests related to crimes such as medicaid fraud, homicide, drug offenses, etc. They usually step in and handle investigations or assist smaller agencies who don't have the resources. Then you also have Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) in TN that focuses on alcohol offenses, but gets involved on the drug side of things too. Once you throw the judicial drug task forces in the mix and the OIGs office, there's plenty of law enforcement to go around outside of the county & city agencies. Haha
                    I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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