Highway patrol

A highway patrol is either a police unit created primarily for the purpose of overseeing and enforcing traffic safety compliance on roads and highways, or a detail within an existing local or regional police agency that is primarily concerned with such duties. They are also referred to in many countries as traffic police, although in other countries this term is more commonly used to refer to foot officers on point duty who control traffic at junctions.


Duties of highway patrols or traffic police may include the following:

Accident investigation
Gathering evidence to determine the cause of a roadway accident.
Commercial vehicle enforcement
Enforcing highway laws related to commercial transport, including weight limits and hazardous materials rules.
Providing public information, handouts, and displays to encourage safe driving and usage of the roads.
Emergency response
Securing the scene of a traffic accident by using cones and flares as well as providing first aid to the injured.
Law enforcement
Assisting local police in rural areas, and keeping an eye out for non-traffic violations.
Observing and reporting damage to the roadways, and conducting hasty road surveys after disasters or the passage of inclement weather.
Traffic enforcement
Enforcing laws and regulations intended to improve traffic safety, such as speed limits.


In Argentina, traffic policing is the responsibility of the Argentine National Gendarmerie.


2016 Holden Commodore (VF II) SV6 sedan, Western Australia Police (2016-11-12)
Western Australia Police, Holden Commodore of the Traffic Enforcement Group

In Australia, traffic policing is the responsibility of the state police forces. Each force has its own traffic sections, often a local section in each area and a statewide section.


In Belgium, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Wegpolitie - Police de la Route (WPR) a section of the Federal Police (former Gendarmerie).


In Brazil, traffic policing is the responsibility of state and federal police forces accordingly to the highway administration status. State administered highways (usually shorter, within state borders, two-way, single lane, lower traffic) are policed by a branch of the Military Police forces, called State Highway Military Police. At the same time Federal highways and roads (longer, crossing state borders, some double lane and high-traffic) are the responsibility of the Federal Highway Police.


In Canada, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, except for the provinces of Ontario , Quebec and Saskatchewan .

Saskatchewan highway patrol

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial police of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary serves major metropolitan areas.[1], and highway policing is the responsibility of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Currently, the provincial sheriffs' service in Alberta maintains a highway patrol that shares traffic duties with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and historically, several provinces, e.g. New Brunswick, have had their own highway patrols. Quebec also operates the Contrôle routier Québec, who enforce traffic laws in relation heavy vehicles.


In Colombia, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Highway Police.


In Croatia, traffic police special department is the national motorway patrol, patrols the motorways in Croatia. Missions include the prevention and detection of driving offences. The car fleet is BMW 330d, Mercedes-Benz C 320 CDI, Skoda Superb, VW Passat, VW Tuareg, Audi A4, Honda Accord, Ford Mondeo, Opel Vectra and Porsche Carrera 997.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Policie CR.


In the Finland, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Finnish National Police.


In France, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of dedicated units of the Gendarmerie Nationale, the Escadron départementaux de sécurité routière (EDSR) and the CRS autoroutières of the National Police (France).


Hinweistafel der 62nd US Highway Patrol, Germany, zwischen 1948-1958
Road sign of the 62nd US Highway Patrol in Germany (1948–1958)

In Germany, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Autobahnpolizei section of the Landespolizei.


In, Hungary, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Law Enforcement and Public Safety Service section of the Rendőrség.


In India, traffic policing on highways are carried out by state police forces.

  1. Andaman and Nicobar Police
  2. Andhra Pradesh Police
  3. Arunachal Pradesh Police
  4. Assam Police
  5. Bihar Police
  6. Chandigarh Police
  7. Chhattisgarh Police
  8. Dadra and Nagar Haveli Police
  9. Daman and Diu Police
  10. Goa Police
  11. Gujarat Police
  12. Haryana Police
  13. Himachal Pradesh Police
  14. Jammu and Kashmir Police
  15. Jharkhand Police
  16. Karnataka Police
  17. Kerala Police
  18. Lakshadweep Police
  19. Madhya Pradesh Police
  20. Maharashtra Police
  21. Manipur Police
  22. Meghalaya Police
  23. Mizoram Police
  24. Nagaland Police
  25. Orissa Police
  26. Pondicherry Police
  27. Punjab Police
  28. Rajasthan Police
  29. Sikkim Police
  30. Tamil Nadu Police
  31. Telangana Police
  32. Tripura Police
  33. Uttar Pradesh Police
  34. Uttarakhand Police
  35. West Bengal Police


Indonesian traffic police car
Indonesian traffic police highway patrol car

In Indonesia, traffic policing is the responsibility of the Indonesian National Police's Traffic corps. The Indonesian Police Traffic corps (Kor-Lantas) oversees several units which regard to traffic policing including the highway patrol unit. It conducts activities such as traffic law enforcement, management, control, accident handling and prevention, education, and patrolling affairs in the country. The issuing of a driver's license is also conducted by this unit.


The Garda Traffic Corps, a specialised unit of the Garda Síochána (the national police force for the Republic of Ireland) is responsible for patrolling the countries motorways and other national routes. They patrol using motorbikes, off-road/4X4s, and a mixture of marked and unmarked high-powered saloon cars.


In Italy, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Polizia Stradale section of the civilian Polizia di Stato and the military Carabinieri.


In Japan, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Expressway Traffic Police Units (高速道路交通警察隊 Kōsoku-dōro kōtsu-keisatsu-tai), operational units of Traffic department of each Prefectural police departments.[2]


Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Police patrol car
Malaysia used Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X as a highway patrol car which called as "Helang Lebuhraya" in Malay meaning "Eagle Highway".

In Malaysia, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility by Royal Malaysia Police. JPJ also charged with the responsibility of undertaking registration and licensing of drivers and all motor vehicles and trailers in Malaysia.


In Mexico, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Policía Federal.


In the Netherlands, policing on the highways falls under the purview of the Dienst Verkeerspolitie (transportation police), which is one the Landelijke Eenheid (national police services, as opposed to the regional forces). Some regions have their own traffic police organisatie highway patrol, cities as Amsterdam, Den Haag and Rotterdam.


In Norway, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of National Mobile Police Service of the Norwegian Police Service


In Pakistan, traffic policing on National Highways And Motorways is the responsibility of National Highways & Motorway Police.


In, Poland, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Policja (Police).


In Portugal, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Republican National Guard.


In Russia, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of GIBDD section of the Politsiya and Public Security Service of the MVD.


Madrid Highway Patrol Renault Twizy
Renault Twizy of the Madrid Highway police

In Spain, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Civil Guard, except in the autonomous communities with transferred competences on traffic policing (Catalonia and the Basque Country), where regional police forces (Mossos d'Esquadra and Ertzaintza, respectively) are responsibly for this area. In Navarra, traffic policing is shared between the Guardia Civil and the regional police (Policía Foral de Navarra).

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, traffic policing is the responsibility of the Traffic Police.


In Sweden, traffic policing is the responsibility of the Swedish Police Authority. All Swedish police officers have the authority to stop drivers but it is only the police officers within the Swedish Traffic Police division who have the authority to clamp vehicles etc.


In Taiwan, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the National Police Agency.


In Turkey, traffic policing and highway traffic policing are an extra unit at General Directorate of Security.Traffic Police officers in Turkey, controls seat belts, plates, driving licences and alcohols etc. Highway Traffic Police in Turkey works in Highways like the other countries. In Turkey, every police car has a tablet and a GPS device.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the road policing unit of the territorial police force.

United States

2010 NCCBF Grand Parade 2010-04-18 8
California Highway Patrol

Many state police agencies in the United States take the name of "highway patrol" rather than "state police". State police agencies may fulfill the role of highway patrol, and vice versa. For instance, the Arizona Highway Patrol is actually a state police agency, meaning that it is a police body having statewide authority to conduct law enforcement activities and criminal investigations. In addition to its highway patrol duties, it performs functions outside the normal purview of the city police or the county sheriff, such as enforcing traffic laws on state highways and interstate expressways, overseeing the security of the state capitol complex and other state buildings, protecting the governor, providing technological and scientific support services, and helping to coordinate multi-jurisdictional task force activity in serious or complicated cases. The California Highway Patrol also serves as bailiffs and courtroom deputies for certain state courts, such as the appellate courts and the California Supreme Court building in San Francisco. The state traffic enforcement agency retained the name "California Highway Patrol" after the merger of the smaller California State Police with the larger—and better-known—CHP and the combination of their functions into one agency.

Some highway patrol organizations, however, such as the Florida Highway Patrol and North Carolina State Highway Patrol, are specifically charged with the enforcement of traffic laws, and while able to enforce other laws, they are not an official "state police" agency, yet retain their statewide jurisdiction[3] in the same vein as the California Highway Patrol or the New Jersey State Police. In other cases, states like Texas have a bona fide and appropriately named state police department such as the Texas Department of Public Safety, of which only one arm is a highway patrol division.[4] In addition, the police departments of Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York have highway patrol units. A privately compiled list of Highway Patrol organizations and similar state police agencies is available on the web.[5] The Iowa State Patrol maintains a list of phone numbers and cell phone dialing codes for non-emergency calls to the dispatchers of the Highway Patrol organizations in all 50 states.[6] These numbers are useful for motorists who want to report aggressive driving, driving under the influence, or other dangerous but not life-threatening situations that do not require a 9-1-1 call.

Highway patrol and state police officers are often referred to as "State Trooper". Historically, a troop was a small cavalry unit; many state police forces originated as mounted paramilitary forces who were stationed in barracks like soldiers, hence the term "trooper." A state trooper goes by the title "trooper", as in "Trooper John Smith". Some agencies, particularly on the east coast, refer to their state police offices as "barracks," although troopers generally do not reside there. Other state police forces, particularly highway patrols as in California, have always modeled themselves after police officers who simply commute to work like ordinary civilians. Like police officers, they use the title "officer." Other states use the term "Patrolmen" in reference to members of the State Police or Highway Patrol.

Many states and their Departments of Transportation have organized government-run freeway service patrols, Highway Assistance Patrols, or Highway Safety Patrols, to assist with highway emergencies as needed. While not law enforcement personnel, these persons provide free service to motorists in distress, and secure lanes of traffic, provide emergency medical assistance, request tow trucks for vehicles in inconvenient or dangerous locations, remove debris from the roadway after a crash, and resolve minor disabled vehicle problems, such as flat tires, jumpstarts, or pushing a disabled vehicle out of travel lanes. Many of these patrols work directly with the State Police and Highway Operations departments of their state, and respond to assistance when a citizen calls 911 for minor roadside assistance duties.

*Hawaii is the only state without an agency that provides statewide uniformed patrol.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "Constabulary Website". Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  2. ^ National Police Agency Police History Compilation Committee, ed. (1977). Japan post-war police history (in Japanese). Japan Police Support Association. pp. 934–1051. NCID BN15987654.
  3. ^ "NC Department of Crime Control and Public Safety". Nccrimecontrol.org. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
  4. ^ "Texas DPS Organization Chart" (PDF). www.dps.texas.gov. 27 Dec 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 Jun 2018.
  5. ^ Terrance D. Martin. "Official Directory of State Patrol and State Police". Statetroopersdirectory.com. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
  6. ^ "Iowa State Patrol Division - Emergency Contacts While Traveling in Iowa". Dps.state.ia.us. 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
  7. ^ "About HPD".
Alabama Highway Patrol

The Alabama Highway Patrol is the de facto state police organization for the U.S. state of Alabama, and which has full jurisdiction anywhere in the State. The Alabama Highway Patrol was created in 1936. Since its establishment, 29 officers have died while on duty. It is subordinate to the Alabama Department of Public Safety, which is itself subordinate to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Arizona Department of Public Safety

The Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) is a state-level law enforcement agency with a primary function of patrolling and enforcing state laws on Arizona highways. The Director is Frank L. Milstead, who began his 4-year term in February 2015. Its headquarters are in Phoenix.

Arkansas State Police

The Arkansas State Police is a state police agency for Arkansas, which has jurisdiction anywhere in the state. It was created to protect the lives, property and constitutional rights of people in Arkansas. The uniformed division is as a highway patrol not a general power police as the Arkansas constitution grants that authority to the various county sheriffs and local police. While the Arkansas State Police was developed primarily to enforce liquor laws and assist local police departments, all commissioned State Troopers have arrest authority that is equal to that of the County Sheriffs regarding any/all criminal and traffic laws of Arkansas. The official duty of the Arkansas State Police is to serve as an assisting agency to local agencies and to aid in the supply of resources not afforded to the local agencies.

Like the Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Highway Police also has statewide jurisdiction, but serves as the enforcement arm of the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

On March 19, 1935, when Arkansas Governor J.M. Futrell and the Arkansas General Assembly approved and signed into law Act 120, known as the Chrip-Carter bill, the Arkansas State Police was born.

The first men to be empowered in Arkansas with statewide law enforcement duties and responsibilities were known as Rangers. The name later changed to troopers.

Broderick Crawford

William Broderick Crawford (December 9, 1911 – April 26, 1986) was an American stage, film, radio, and television actor, often cast in tough-guy roles and best known for his Oscar and Golden Globe-winning portrayal of Willie Stark in All the King's Men (1949) and for his starring role as Dan Mathews in the television series Highway Patrol (1955–1959).Until filming All the King's Men, Crawford's career had been largely limited to "B films" in supporting or character roles. He realized he did not fit the role of a handsome leading man, once describing himself as looking like a "retired pugilist". Nevertheless, he excelled in roles playing villains and authoritarian figures.

California Highway Patrol

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is a law enforcement agency of California. The CHP has patrol jurisdiction over all California highways and are also known as the state police. They also have jurisdiction over city roads, and have the right to conduct law enforcement procedures there.

The California State Legislature originally established the California Highway Patrol as a branch of the Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Public Works, with legislation signed by Governor C. C. Young on August 14, 1929. It was subsequently established as a separate department with legislation signed by Governor Earl Warren in 1947. The CHP gradually assumed increased responsibility beyond the enforcement of the State Vehicle Act and eventually merged with the smaller California State Police in 1995. It is currently organized as part of the California State Transportation Agency (CALSTA).

In addition to its highway patrol duties, the CHP also provides other services including protecting state buildings and facilities (most notably the California State Capitol) and bodyguarding state officials. The CHP also works with municipal and federal law enforcement agencies, providing assistance in investigations, patrol and other aspects of law enforcement.

The California Highway Patrol is the largest state police agency in the United States, with more than 10,700 employees, 7,500 of whom are sworn officers, according to FBI data.

Florida Highway Patrol

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is a division of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the primary law enforcement agency charged with investigating traffic crashes and criminal laws on the state’s highways.

Highway Patrol (American TV series)

Highway Patrol is a 156-episode action crime drama series produced for syndication from 1955 to 1959.

Mississippi Highway Patrol

The Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol is the highway patrol and acting state police agency for the U.S. state of Mississippi, and has law enforcement jurisdiction over the majority of the state.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol specializes in the patrol of state and federal highways throughout the State of Mississippi, and was formed in 1938 to enforce traffic laws on state and federal highways. It falls under the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. Sworn officers of the Highway Patrol are known as "State Troopers" and have the power to arrest for any crime committed in their presence statewide.

Missouri State Highway Patrol

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is the highway patrol agency for Missouri and has jurisdiction anywhere within the state. Colonel Eric T. Olson has been serving as the 24th Superintendent since March 15, 2019. He was confirmed by the Missouri Senate on March 14, 2019 and now holds the rank of colonel.In 1992, MSHP became only the 10th State Police/Highway Patrol to receive accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is a division of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

New York City Police Department Highway Patrol

The New York City Police Department Highway Patrol, also known as the NYPD Highway Patrol or by the shorthand NYPD HWY, is a specialized unit under the auspices of the NYPD's Transportation Bureau primarily responsible for patrolling and maintaining traffic safety on limited-access highways within New York City. The NYPD Highway Patrol's other duties and roles include accident investigations, advanced driver and radar training for NYPD officers, field sobriety testing, dignitary and parade escorts, hazardous material and truck traffic enforcement, anti-drag racing programs, and anti-terrorist checkpoints at key bridges and intersections in the city.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is the highway patrol agency for North Carolina which has no per-se "state police" agency. The Patrol has jurisdiction anywhere in the state except for federal or military installations. The Highway Patrol was created in 1929 and is a paramilitary organization with a rank structure similar to the armed forces. NCSHP personnel at times conduct formations, inspections, honor guard activities and drill similar to the armed forces drill and ceremonies. Troopers have a reputation in North Carolina for immaculate uniform and grooming standards. The primary mission of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol is to ensure safe and efficient transportation on the streets or highways, reduce crime, protect against terrorism, and respond to natural and man-made disasters.

The Highway Patrol is one of the largest divisions of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety other than the Department of Correction (DOC). The patrol's headquarters is located in the DPS headquarters in Raleigh in the Archdale Building downtown. This department also includes the NC State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), NC Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE), NC Department of Corrections (DOC), which includes probation and parole (Community Corrections), NC Civil Air Patrol, Emergency Management, NC State Capitol Police, and the NC National Guard.

North Dakota Highway Patrol

The North Dakota State Highway Patrol is the state patrol agency for the state of North Dakota. It was established in 1935 by the North Dakota Legislative Assembly.

North Dakota state troopers, when hired, attend the Law Enforcement Training Academy at Bismarck. It is a 22-week program in which the recruits learn all Peace Officer Standards and Training as well as advanced traffic information.

Major activities of the State Patrol include: traffic enforcement, crash investigation, reporting road conditions, and enforcement of laws where state property is involved. A major duty of a North Dakota state trooper is the ability to work independently and exercise good judgement accordingly. This may differ from other peace officer agencies where operations are teamwork oriented.

Ohio State Highway Patrol

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety and is the official highway patrol agency of Ohio.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) is a major state law enforcement agency of the government of Oklahoma. A division of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, the OHP has traffic enforcement jurisdiction throughout the state. OHP was legislatively created on July 1, 1937 due to the growing problem of motor vehicle collisions, the expansion of a highway system, and the increase in criminal activities.

As the principal statewide law enforcement agency in Oklahoma, the state patrol is dedicated to providing quality policing directed at achieving safer roadways and reducing crime through pro-active investigations, education and patrol services and by providing leadership and resources during natural disasters, civil disorders and critical incidents. OHP has patrol jurisdiction over all State highways and waterways in Oklahoma, regulating motor vehicles, regulating explosive devices, and providing protection for the Governor of Oklahoma, the Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma and members of the Oklahoma Legislature.

The highway patrol is under the command of Colonel Michael S. Harrell, who is the current chief of the highway patrol. Harrell was appointed by DPS Commissioner Rusty Rhoades to succeed Ricky G. Adams as chief.

Orangeburg massacre

The Orangeburg massacre refers to the shooting of protesters by South Carolina Highway Patrol officers in Orangeburg, South Carolina, on the South Carolina State University campus on the evening of February 8, 1968. The approximately 200 protesters had previously demonstrated against racial segregation at a local bowling alley. Three of the protestors, African-American males, were killed and twenty-seven other protesters were injured.The event pre-dated the 1970 Kent State shootings and Jackson State killings, in which the National Guard at Kent State, and police and state highway patrol at Jackson State, killed student protesters demonstrating against the United States invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

State police

State police or provincial police are a type of sub-national territorial police force found in nations organized as federations, typically in North America, South Asia, and Oceania. These forces typically have jurisdiction over the relevant sub-national jurisdiction, and may cooperate in law enforcement activities with municipal or national police where either exist.

State police (United States)

In the United States, the state police is a police body unique to each U.S. state, having statewide authority to conduct law enforcement activities and criminal investigations. In general, state police officers, known as state troopers, perform functions that do not fall within the jurisdiction of the county sheriff (Vermont being a notable exception), such as enforcing traffic laws on state highways and interstate expressways, overseeing the security of the state capitol complex, protecting the governor, training new officers for local police forces too small to operate an academy and providing technological and scientific services. They support local police and help to coordinate multi-jurisdictional task force activity in serious or complicated cases in those states that grant full police powers statewide.

A general trend has been to bring all of these agencies under a state-level Department of Public Safety. Additionally, they may serve under different state departments, such as the Highway Patrol under the state Department of Transportation and the Marine patrol under the Department of Natural Resources. Twenty-three U.S. states use the term "State Police." Forty-nine states have a State Police agency or its equivalent, with Hawaii being the only state with a Sheriff Division of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety with Statewide Jurisdiction.

Tennessee Highway Patrol

The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) is the highway patrol agency and de facto state police organization for the U.S. state of Tennessee, responsible for enforcing all federal and state laws relating to traffic on the state's federal and state highways. The agency was created to protect the lives, property, and constitutional rights of people in Tennessee. The THP is a division of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol provides assistance to motorists who need help. It investigates traffic accidents involving property damage, personal injury, or death. The agency works with prosecutors in the prosecution of cases in which the use of drugs or alcohol contributed to accidents causing personal injury or fatalities. In addition to traffic law enforcement, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has responsibility in criminal interdiction, which involves the suppression of narcotics on the state's roads and highways, including Interstate Highways. It is the agency responsible for conducting background checks on applicants for permits to carry handguns.

Wyoming Highway Patrol

The Wyoming Highway Patrol is the highway patrol and de facto state police agency for the U.S. state of Wyoming, and has jurisdiction across the entire state.

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