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North Carolina State Highway Patrol
Abbreviation NCSHP
NorthCarolinaHP.jpg
Patch of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
NCHighwayPatrollogo.jpg
Logo of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
NC - Highway Patrol Badge.png
Badge of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
Agency overview
Formed 1929
Employees 2,340 (as of 2008)[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of North Carolina, USA
NC - Troop Map.png
North Carolina State Highway Patrol Troops
Size 53,865 square miles
Population 9,061,032 (2007 est.)[2]
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Raleigh, North Carolina
Troopers 1,517 (as of 2004)[3]
Civilians 212 (as of 2004)[4]
Agency executive Colonel Walter J. Wilson Jr., Commander
Parent agency North Carolina Department of Crime Control & Public Safety
Troops
Facilities
Stations 47
Website
NCSHP website
Footnotes
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.
North Carolina State Trooper on I-85

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is the highway patrol agency for North Carolina, which has jurisdiction anywhere in the state except for federal or military installations. The Highway Patrol was created in 1929, and is not a "State Police" agency. The Patrol is, however, a paramilitary organization with a rank structure similar to the armed forces. The mission of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol includes providing for safe transportation on the highways and reducing crime. The Highway Patrol is one of the largest divisions of the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety and its headquarters is located in Raleigh. This department also includes the NC Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE), Emergency Management, Butner Public Safety, and the National Guard.

The Highway Patrol has many responsibilities. The primary job of the rank and file trooper is traffic law enforcement. This includes traffic collision investigation, issuing warning tickets and citations for traffic violations, and finding, arresting, and processing impaired drivers. A state trooper is a sworn peace officer, and although their primary duty is traffic enforcement, they can perform other law enforcement functions.

Contents

Duties of Highway Patrol

The State Highway Patrol shall be subject to such orders, rules and regulations as may be adopted by the Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, with the approval of the Governor, and shall regularly patrol the highways of the State and enforce all laws and regulations respecting travel and the use of vehicles upon the highways of the State and all laws for the protection of the highways of the State. To this end, the members of the Patrol are given the power and authority of peace officers for the service of any warrant or other process issuing from any of the courts of the State having criminal jurisdiction, and are likewise authorized to arrest without warrant any person who, in the presence of said officers, is engaged in the violation of any of the laws of the State regulating travel and the use of vehicles upon the highways, or of laws with respect to the protection of the highways, and they shall have jurisdiction anywhere within the State, irrespective of county lines. The State Highway Patrol shall enforce the provisions of G.S. 14-399.

The State Highway Patrol shall have full power and authority to perform such additional duties as peace officers as may from time to time be directed by the Governor, and such officers may at any time and without special authority, either upon their own motion or at the request of any sheriff or local police authority, arrest persons accused of highway robbery, bank robbery, murder, or other crimes of violence.

The Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety shall direct the officers and members of the State Highway Patrol in the performance of such other duties as may be required for the enforcement of the motor vehicle laws of the State.

Members of the State Highway Patrol, in addition to the duties, power and authority hereinbefore given, shall have the authority throughout the State of North Carolina of any police officer in respect to making arrests for any crimes committed in their presence and shall have authority to make arrests for any crime committed on any highway.

Regardless of territorial jurisdiction, any member of the State Highway Patrol who initiates an investigation of an accident or collision may not relinquish responsibility for completing the investigation, or for filing criminal charges as appropriate, without clear assurance that another law-enforcement officer or agency has fully undertaken responsibility, and in such cases he shall render reasonable assistance to the succeeding officer or agency if requested.[5]

The NC Highway Patrol, like other state and county law enforcement agencies, does not have territorial jurisdiction on Cherokee Indian tribal lands in western North Carolina. Because this land is exclusively under federal law enforcement and tribal police jurisdiction, troopers who are assigned to that area are commissioned as "special officers" of the US Bureau of Indian Affairs, allowing them to make arrests and issue citations in tribal court.

History

Established in 1929, the NC State Highway Patrol's mission is to reduce collisions and make the highways of North Carolina as safe as possible.[6]

North Carolina, like many Southern states, was distrusted by the federal government from starting a "state police" agency, due to concerns that the department would be used for political motives to intimidate blacks from voting in the late 1920's, a time when lynchings and ku klux klan activities were on the rise following the end of WW1. The NC Sheriffs also did not want to lose power to a state police agency. These issues were alleviated by establishment of a traffic enforcement agency to police the ever-expanding highways and motor vehicles only. The original members of the HIghway Patrol, the command staff, were sent to the Pennsylvania State Police Academy for training. Upon their graduation, they returned to North Carolina and established the first basic school at Camp Glenn, an abandoned WW1 Army Camp in Morehead City. Several extra recruits were brought to the original basic school and were sent home as alternates, in the event that original members quit or were fired. Most of these men were never recalled to duty after 8 weeks of training. Over the years, the agency obtained semi-state police powers with the authority of the Governor to implement it, but this has never been fully done by any NC Governor.

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Establishment

In 1921, 150,558 motor vehicles were registered in North Carolina. By 1929, the number of registered vehicles increased to 503,590. As the number of vehicles increased, so did the number of people killed in traffic accidents: 690 deaths in 1929.

Traffic control was of such concern that in 1929 the General Assembly passed an act authorizing the establishment of a State Highway Patrol. The new organization was given statutory responsibility to patrol the highways of the state, enforce the motor vehicle laws, and assist the motoring public.

The organization was designed as a division of the State Highway Commission. The Highway Commission initially sent ten men (later designated as a captain and nine lieutenants) to Pennsylvania to attend the training school of the Pennsylvania State Police. Their mission was to study law, first aid, light adjustments, vehicle operation, and related subjects for use in North Carolina's first Patrol School.

An office was established in Raleigh to serve as state headquarters, and a district office was established in each of the nine highway districts. A lieutenant and three patrolmen were assigned to each district. All patrolmen were issued Harley Davidson motorcycles and the lieutenants drove Model A Ford Coupes. The Patrol commander was issued a Buick automobile.[7]

Growth

In 1931, the General Assembly increased the Patrol to 67 members and reduced the number of lieutenants to six. The Patrol was increased in size in 1933 to 121 members. Patrolmen were relieved of gasoline inspection duties and given responsibilities for issuing driver licenses and enforcing the new driver license laws

All patrolmen were assigned individual vehicles in 1937, and during the same year the legislature authorized a statewide radio system for the purpose of coordinating operations and improving the efficiency of the Highway Patrol. Numerous executive, legislative, and administrative changes have occurred since the Patrol's creation. The duties and responsibilities have varied, different ranks have been designated, and the organizational structure has been modified to improve efficiency.

The Patrol, a paramilitary organization, currently consists of five sections, each having specific duties and responsibilities. These sections are:

  • Field Operations;
  • Professional Standards;
  • Special Operations and Motor Carrier Enforcement;
  • Technical Services Unit; and
  • Training[8]

As of 2008, the the North Carolina State Highway Patrol has an authorized strength of over 1,800 sworn law enforcement officers.

Rank structure

Rank Structure: The NC Highway Patrol is a paramilitary organization, with a rank structure similar to that of the armed forces. Rank denotes grade while title denotes special duties. Not all special duties include a title. Title is reserved for more permanent, semi-permanent or time period assigned assignments or skills, while some duties and assignments are adjunct to primary duty and may be part of the trooper's duties for much of or all of his-her career.

The ranks of Captain and above are appointed by the Governor and exempt from the jurisdiction of the State Personnel Commission. Commissioned officers of the patrol with ranks of lieutenant or higher have gold badges, while first sergeants and below have silver badges. All titles of rank are now reflected on the trooper's badge.

Colonel (Col.): The commanding officer of the NCSHP holds the rank of Colonel and the title of commander with silver eagles collar or shoulder insignia.

Lieutenant Colonel (Lt. Col.): The deputy commander holds the rank of lieutenant colonel, with silver oak leaf clusters collar or shoulder insignia.

Major (Maj.): Each zone (half of the state) and certain other positions have a major in charge or command, with gold oak leaf clusters as collar or shoulder insignia.

Captain (Capt.): Each of the troops and certain other units is commanded by a captain, with double silver bars as collar or shoulder insignia.

Lieutenant (Lt.): Each troop has two deputy commanders, a lieutenant with a single silver bar as collar or shoulder insignia.

Warrant Officer (WO): This is a no-longer used rank that was given to pilots on the NCSHP, with a silver bar with a black vertical strips in the middle as collar or shoulder insignia. This rank was abolished in the late 1980s.

First Sergeant (F/Sgt.): Each district within a troop is supervised by a first sergeant. A first sergeant's insignia is three chevrons up, three rockers down, with a French lozenge (diamond) in the middle . The collar insignia is silver, while the embroidered sleeve insignia is black on a yellow background. The stripes are worn below the agency patch on the sleeve of the coat, shirt and coveralls.

Sergeant: Each district has 3-8 sergeants. Their insignia is three chevrons on the sleeve, pointing up. A sergeant supervises a team of troopers.

Master Trooper (M/Tpr): This title is reflected on the trooper's badge.

Senior Trooper (S/Tpr): This title is reflected on the trooper's badge.

Trooper (Tpr): This title is reflected on the trooper's badge and after two years of service following completion of basic school, the trooper is authorized to wear an attachment bar under the nameplate denoting "serving since" with the year joined the NCSHP.

Probationary Trooper: This title is reflected as "Trooper" on the badge, but the probationary trooper is the lowest sworn rank of the NCSHP. The new trooper completes probation after one year of service, following graduation from the basic school.

Vehicles and uniforms

Vehicles and agency colors: By NC Statute, all NCSHP patrol vehicles must be black and silver to be considered marked, though up to 17% of patrol vehicles can be unmarked. Many Interstate patrol vehicles are black and silver but now have only a small trooper seal on the door, no marking panels and no roof light bars. These vehicles are considered "low-profile" for better use in traffic enforcement. The vehicle color scheme is historically similar to the uniform of gray and black, a historic reference to the gray of the Confederacy and the black of the damage done by the fires of the Civil War.

NCSHP Officers were originally titles as "Patrolmen" and were not called "Troopers" until 1977, when females were accepted to patrol School.

Of the uniform items, only the trooper's hat badge, a diamond-shaped badge and dress coat collar insignia (NC state seals) have remained unchanged since 1929.

Merger with DMV Enforcement

Until 2002, there were two state-run law enforcement entities patrolling the highways of North Carolina; the Highway Patrol and the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles Enforcement Section. This branch of the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, which itself is a division of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, was primarily responsible for ticketing and weighing commercial traffic, and enforcing federal motor carrier laws on truckers. DMV Enforcement was structured similar to the Highway Patrol, with districts and even similar model patrol cars (DMV Enforcement cars were light blue and white with "State Owned" license plates, as opposed to the gray and black Highway Patrol colors and Highway Patrol license plate). This division, also, ran the state's interstate weigh stations and patrolled state rest areas. Over the years some tension and animosity developed between the two agencies because of their overlapping authority, since both agencies, ultimately, had the power to pull over all vehicular traffic in the state and write citations. After several scandals and a multitude of state and federal corruption violations rocked the DMV and its Enforcement Division, the state finally decided to restructure the Division of Motor Vehicles and concluded that the Highway Patrol and DMV Enforcement were in fact too similar and more money could be saved by having one agency performing all highway law enforcement duties. DMV Enforcement was merged into the Highway Patrol, and is presently run as the Motor Carrier Enforcement Section of the Highway Patrol.

Former DMV supervisory and command personnel such as sergeants, lieutenants, captains and majors kept their rank when they merged with the NCSHP, though they were originally prohibited from commanding troopers. After all of these officers completed trooper conversion training, they were fully-integrated into the NCSHP chain-of-command and rank structure. That move caused additional resentment with basic school graduate troopers. That tension still lingers somewhat to date. Overall, the integration process has largely transitioned completely.

Though the NC Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) under the NC Department of Transportation (DOT) transferred the weight and commercial vehicle law enforcement uniformed officer personnel to the Highway Patrol in 2003, the DMV Inspectors, plainclothes special agents were retained under DMV. These officers "Inspectors" are tasked with investigation of motor vehicle title fraud and investigation, motor Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) alteration, motor vehicle safety inspection sticker fraud, license and theft investigations, drivers license fraud and related identity theft, along with other similar crimes. These officers have general police powers related to their duties and are empowered to enforce traffic laws throughout the state. They have the same territorial jurisdiction as troopers.

Organization

The NC Highway Patrol is broken down in geographical areas known as troops. These troops are lettered A through H, The troops are broken down further by district. These districts are responsible for anywhere from 1-5 counties depending on geographic size.

Troop/District Location County(ies)
A1 Kill Devil Hills Dare and Currituck
A2 Ahoskie Bertie, Gates and Hertford
A3 Elizabeth City Pasquotank, Chowan, Perquimans and Camden
A4 Washington Beaufort, Washington, Tyrrell and Hyde
A5 Greenville Pitt and Martin
A6 New Bern Craven and Pamlico
A7 Kinston Lenoir and Jones
B1 Fayetteville Cumberland
B2 Clinton Sampson
B3 Jacksonville Onslow
B4 Kenansville Duplin and Pender
B5 Whiteville Bladen and Columbus
B6 Wilmington Brunswick and New Hanover
B7 Lumberton Robeson
B8 Lillington Harnett
C1 Rocky Mount Edgecombe and Nash
C2 Goldsboro Wayne
C3 Raleigh Wake
C4 Henderson Franklin, Warren and Vance
C5 Wilson Greene and Wilson
C6 Smithfield Johnston
C7 Durham Durham and Granville
C8 Roanoke Rapids Halifax and Northampton
D1 Siler City Chatham and Lee
D2 Greensboro Guilford
D3 Reidsville Rockingham
D4 Roxboro Caswell and Person
D5 Graham Alamance and Orange
D6 Asheboro Randolph
E1 Lexington Davidson
E2 Albemarle Montgomery and Stanly
E3 Salisbury Davie and Rowan
E4 Winston Salem Forsyth and Stokes
E5 Elkin Surry and YAdkin
E6 Concord Cabarrus
F1 Morganton Burke
F2 Wilkesboro Alleghany, Ashe and Wilkes
F3 Lenoir Caldwell and Watauga
F4 Statesville Alexander and Iredell
F5 Hickory Catawba and Lincoln
G1 Burnsville Avery, Madison, Mitchell and Yancey
G2 Marion McDowell and Rutherford
G3 Hendersonville Henderson, Polk and Transylvania
G4 Asheville Buncombe
G5 Waynesville Haywood and Jackson
G6 Bryson City Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon and Swain
H1 Gastonia Gaston
H2 Hamlet Richmond,Scotland
H3 Monroe Union,Anson
H4 Shelby Cleveland
H5 Charlotte Mecklenburg
H6 Aberdeen Moore,Hoke

Training

The NC Highway Patrol Basic School for cadets with no prior law enforcement training is twenty-nine weeks long. During this intensive training the cadet class will typically lose 40% of its members. It is in this live-in environment where the cadets learn about state and federal laws, firearms marksmanship, and high speed driving. Early every morning the cadets rise, rain or shine, for physical fitness training before starting a full day of classroom instruction. The cadets will form a tight-knit bond and learn to never leave one another "in the ditch".

Following these months of effort, the cadets are sworn in as Probationary Troopers and are assigned to their respective troops and districts. Once in their assigned district, they will participate in on-the-job training for an additional twelve weeks with an experienced trooper who is trained as a Field Training Officer, or FTO. Special facililties: In addition to the Basic School on Garner Road in Raleigh, located on the site of the old Governor Morehead School for the blind, the Patrol also operates a pursuit driving training track in Raleigh, to simulate interstate and highway driving and pursuit driving, at high and low speed. Other law enforcement agencies also train at this facility.

In addition to the Training Center on Garner Road in Raleigh, the NCSHP has also used the Main NC Justice Academy (NCJA) Campus in Salemburg in Sampson County and the NCJA Western Campus in Edneyville in Henderson County as training schools for basic cadet classes when the main campus is full. In-service training is also conducted at these locations for troopers in the field annually, to update personnel on agency and legal changes, as well as to meet state-mandated training requirements.

Prior to the establishment of the current trooper basic school in Raleigh, the NCSHP used the Institute of Government (IOG) campus at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill for a basic school, which also trained NC Wildlife Enforcement Officers. Other locations for early training schools were in Hendersonville, Henderson County and in Morehead City, on the location of an old WW1 old Army camp, Camp Glenn, where Carteret General Hospital is now located in Carteret County. The current training center was taken over by the HIghway Patrol in the 1970s with half of the campus operated by the NC State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) for administrative officer.

Special duty assignments on the NC Highway Patrol

Polygrapher: Specially-trained and certified troopers conduct polygraph exams for pre-employment screening of applicants, employees and in certain internal investigations.

Accident reconstructionist: Specially-trained investigators handle major or complex traffic collision investigations such as major damage, serious or multiple injury or any fatality. Reconstruction is a phase beyond reporting and investigation, which general troopers handle.

Law enforcement dog handler: Specially-trained troopers handle SHP drug detection dogs.

Internal affairs investigator: Specially-trained sergeants and lieutenants conduct investigations into misconduct involving SHP sworn personnel. Minor incidents are investigated by immediate supervisors, while more serious and firing offenses are handled by internal affairs. Criminal matters are generally invetigated by agents of the NC State Bureau of Investigation (SBI).

Instructor: All NCSHP instructors must complete the NC Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission "Instructor" course of 808-hours to be a general instructor or any specialized instructor. These can include the following:

Instructor: This person trains troopers and other personnel on basic courses at in-service annual training or for cadest in basic school.

PT Instructor-specially-trained trooper instructors train cadets at the basic school for fitness and general daily training life.

Firearms Instructor-Specially-trained trooper instructors, proficient with firearms, train cadets and sworn personnel in initial and semi-annual firearms qualification training and retrains personnel on new firearms as they are adopted.

Time-distance instructor: Trains and recertifies troopers in use of speed measurement instrument (SMI)instruments.

Driving instructor-Specially-trained trooper instructors, proficient in vehicle operation, train cadets and other agency personnel in pursuit driving on the NCSHP's pursuit driving track in Raleigh.

Pilot-Pilots of the NCSHP are FAA-certified helicopter pilots and fly the Patrol's Bell Ranger helicopters from the various aviation centers throughout the state. The aircraft are used in pursuits, manhunts, rescues, training and other critical missions. Pilots are issued an unmarked patrol car and are generally not expected to perform vehicular traffic enforcement. Pilots have a wing insignia on their uniform and wear flight suits for flying duty.

Motorcycle: Specially-trained troopers patrol on motorcycles and must complete US Park Police motorcycle officer training. They are issued a marked car, trailer and motorcycle. Motorcycle officers wear a wheel and wing insignia on their uniform, high boots and helmet while on motorcycle duty.

Administrative or training center assignments: These troopers and other personnel are assigned to the training center or other non-enforcement duties.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT's): Certain troopers are trained as NC-certified EMT-Basic level (EMT-B).

Executive security: A select and specially-trained detail of Troopers is assigned to protect the Governor's Mansion in Raleigh and to drive and protect the Governor and his/her immediate family.

SWAT-The NCSHP no longer maintains a tactical arm, though it did have a sniper program through the mid-1980s.

The SHP also has an honor guard and a cassion team to carry caskets for fallen members who receive a formal burial. These select troopers were special dress uniforms and white gloves. This team was trained by the US Army's "Old Guard" honor guard at Ft. Myer Va.

Drivers licensing: NC Troopers originally gave driver license tests in the early years of the patrol. After WW2, this task is now done by DMV license examiners, though they often share facilities with the NCSHP.

Fallen officers

The NC State Highway Patrol has a fallen trooper memorial monument at the training center, with the names of all troopers, patrolmen and enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty since the agency was chartered on July 1, 1929. The first Trooper to die in the line of duty was killed on the first day the agency was chartered in a collision during a statewide ride to introduce the new officers to the state. The first trooper murdered in the line of duty was in 1937. As of May 2009, since July 1, 1929, 59 NC Highway Patrol members; patrolmen, troopers and enforcement officers have died in the line of duty: 4 by aircraft accident, 13 by automobile accident, 1 by drowning, 19 by gunfire, 1 by heart attack, 5 by motorcycle accident, 1 struck by vehicle, 12 in pursuits and 3 by vehicular assault.

Controversy

On December 8, 2008, the Highway Patrol announced it was dissolving its K-9 unit saying it planned to restructure and rebuild the program. The move came several months after Trooper Charles Jones was fired for kicking his K-9 partner during training. The K-9 program was reviewed by the Highway Patrol and sweeping changes were recommended, including replacement of the training supervisor as well a move from multipurpose, more aggressive dogs to more passive dogs focused on only narcotics detection.[9]

References

See also

External links


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