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The Department of Transportation (DOT) is the most common name for a government agency in North America devoted to transportation. The largest is the United States Department of Transportation, which oversees interstate travel and is a federal agency. All U.S. states, Canadian provinces, and many local agencies also have similar organizations and provide enforcement through DOT officers within their respective jurisdictions.



List of U.S. state and insular area departments of transportation[edit]

Local departments of transportation[edit]

Canadian provincial departments of transportation[edit]

The Transport Canada logo

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

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Types of State Police agencies[edit]

In many states, the state police are known by different names: the various terms used are "State Police", "Highway Patrol", "State Highway Patrol", "State Patrol", and "State Troopers". However, the jurisdictions and functions of these agencies are usually the same, regardless of title. Some agencies' names are actually misnomers with respect to the work regularly done by their members. All but three state police entities use the term "trooper" to refer to their commissioned members - Arizona, California and New Mexico are the lone exceptions, using the term "officer" instead. These titles are usually historical and do not necessarily describe the agency's function or jurisdiction. Colloquial or slang terms for a state trooper may include "troop", "statey", "stater", or, in trucker slang, "Smokey" or "full-grown bear".

Alaska and Arkansas are the only states with both a Highway Patrol and a State Police. The Alaska Highway Patrol is a bureau of the Alaska State Troopers while the Arkansas Highway Patrol is the uniformed patrol division of the Arkansas State Police. A separate Arkansas Highway Police [5] exists as part of the Arkansas Department of Transportation but it is a commercial vehicle enforcement agency. The New Hampshire Highway Patrol, also a commercial vehicle enforcement agency, has since been merged into the New Hampshire State Police as Troop G - Commercial Vehicle Enforcement.[6]

The California State Police (CSP) was a division of the California Department of General Services, and was a security police agency which was merged into the Department of California Highway Patrol in 1995.

Pennsylvania formed a State Highway Patrol in 1923 within the Department of Highways to enforce the vehicle laws of Pennsylvania's burgeoning highway system. The State Highway Patrol was merged with the State Police on June 29, 1937.[7]

State Police[edit]

An Oregon State Police car on I-5N

Though many forces use the term "state police", its meaning is not consistent from agency to agency. In many places, it is a full-service law enforcement agency which responds to calls for service, investigates criminal activity, and regularly patrols high-crime areas. On the other hand, some state police agencies, despite the name, are strictly tasked with traffic enforcement, though their members usually retain full police powers; the Arkansas State Police is an example.

State Police

Highway Patrol[edit]

North Carolina State Trooper on I-85

Several agencies use the term "highway patrol", though this name can be misleading in some cases. Some highway patrol agencies are, as their name implies, dedicated to enforcing state traffic laws on the highways; a few are full-service state police agencies which regularly respond to calls and conduct inner-city policing functions; and others are a bridge, focusing primarily on traffic enforcement but providing general policing services when and where necessary.

Highway Patrol

State Highway Patrol

State Patrol[edit]

Their primary concern is enforcing motor vehicle laws, but they also assist with other incidents. These include riots, prison disturbances, labor related disturbances, and providing security at sporting events.

State Patrol

Highway Police[edit]

Highway Police (Dept. of Transportation) in Arkansas.

Statewide policing in Hawaii[edit]

Unlike the other 49 states, Hawaii is not a continuous piece of land, but rather an archipelago, consisting primarily of eight major islands. Because of its geography, it is impossible to use roads to get from one local/municipal jurisdiction to another. As a consequence, Hawaii is the only state that does not have a specifically named state police / highway patrol force. Highway patrol functions are instead carried out within each of the state's five counties, each of which has its own police force. The Sheriff Division of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety performs the security policing tasks usually undertaken by a dedicated state police force, in addition to providing bailiffs and corrections officers to the judicial apparatus.

The television series Hawaii Five-O featured a fictional state police detective unit in Hawaii. This was not a uniformed police force, but instead functioned more as a State Bureau of Investigation.

List of State Police agencies[edit]

Agencies without comment are independent agencies.

Other state police agencies[edit]

  • State Bureau of Investigation (SBI): the state's equivalent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • State Bureau of Narcotics: the state-level counterpart to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
  • Department of Public Safety (DPS) exist in 31 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Vermont), often these are umbrella organizations which provide oversight and coordination over various state-level police agencies, such as State Police, State Bureau of Investigation, or Highway Patrols.
  • State Sheriff:
    • Hawaii, where the State of Hawaii Sheriff's Office, part of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, serves as the state-wide law enforcement agency.
    • Rhode Island The Rhode Island State Sheriff's Department is assigned to various job functions within Rhode Island's four County Court facilities (Providence County, Kent County, Newport County and Washington County). The functions of the State Sheriff's Department include Courtroom/Judicial Security, Court Facility and Cellblock Operation, Inmate Transportation, Interstate Extraditions, Interstate Inmate Transfers, Writ Service and Body Attachments.
  • Motor Carrier Enforcement: another organization with many various titles and may be part of the actual State Police or Highway Patrol. Many belong the their state's Department of Transportation or even the Secretary of State. These agencies conduct vehicle inspections and enforce the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) as mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They conduct safety inspections of commercial motor vehicles (primarily trucks and buses), inspects highway shipments of hazardous materials, and performs compliance reviews (safety performance audits) on motor carriers. The DPS adopts and enforces driver and vehicle safety regulations and hazardous materials regulations as part of this program. Both the Arkansas Highway Police and the New Hampshire Highway Patrols are motor carrier enforcement agencies.
  • Marine Patrol: The state water police.
  • State Park Police: New Jersey,[8] New York.[9] Florida Park Police.[10]
  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement: In 1967, the Florida Legislature merged the responsibilities of several state criminal justice organizations to create the Bureau of Law Enforcement. The Bureau began with 94 positions, headed by a Commissioner who reported to the Governor, certain Cabinet members, two Sheriffs, and one Chief of Police. In July 1969, after government restructuring, the Bureau became the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

Today, FDLE is headed by a Commissioner who is appointed by the Governor and approved by the Cabinet. Headquartered in Tallahassee, FDLE employs nearly 2,000 members statewide who work at the department’s seven Regional Operations Centers, 15 field offices and seven crime laboratories. The members of FDLE are guided by four fundamental values as they respond to the needs of Florida’s citizens and criminal justice community: service, integrity, respect, and quality. FDLE is structured to deliver services in five program areas:Executive Direction and Business, Support Program, Criminal Investigations and Forensic Science Program, Florida Capitol Police Program, Criminal Justice Information Program, Criminal Justice Professionalism Program.

See also[edit]


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