reputation of state police?

I am curious about the history and reputation of various state police organizations. It turns out to be a complex topic! I had no idea that it took until the 1960s to establish all the state police forces (not counting the very special case of the Texas Rangers, the first was in Pa. in 1905-intended as a publicly funded strike breaking force of all things). So much for history.

My question is the current reputation of state police forces in the US.

Which forces are well regarded by the public and which forces are well regarded by their peers? I assume that there are two possible answers here.

I know in Louisiana the reputation of the state police has fallen to the point where the ethics and honesty of the force is being publicly questioned by the head of the state police. What about other states?

In West Virginia, I think they are regarded as mostly the same as any other police force. We’re largely rural and they’re the only police force that many people have much access to. Maybe seen as a little better than local police. Since WV is 94% white, we don’t see the same racial issues that other police forces have (not that they don’t exist, it’s just that the overwhelming majority of their interactions are with white people just due to the numbers. You are much more likely to be incarcerated as a black person in West Virginia, but the sheer number of white people means our prisons are still overwhelmingly filled with white people.) I would say that the average person on the street probably leans to mild like for the state police. There are certainly those that despise them, but there are probably just as many that like them, although nobody likes to see them sitting on the side of the road with their radar gun.

I can’t speak for all of Illinois but, in Chicagoland, the State Police are regarded as significantly better trained, disciplined, and professional than the Chicago or suburban police.

My impression is that most people’s encounters with state police are traffic incidents on interstate highways.

I flew into JFK Airport a few months ago, and as I was waiting for my door-to-door shuttle service, a couple of state troopers walked by. I thought about mentioning to them how out of place they seemed, since I was used to seeing them upstate on the parkways or on the thruways.

One of my nephews was looking into a job with the PA State Police. I asked him why the State Police, and he told me they were the cream of the crop; if he couldn’t get in with the Sate, he didn’t want to go into law enforcement.

After college he ended up working for his brother’s concrete business.

From my observations and a few conversations with cops, state police are better trained, or at least more uniformly trained, than local PD departments. They have higher pay and much better retirement than most PD departments. Many are a bit snobbish and condescending to local cops.

While the state police report and investigate in rural areas, they are mostly seen handing out speeding tickets.

Every state will be different but IME the state police are more professional than locals. The hiring standards seem to be more strict than average. They also aren’t involved in as much of the police presence type of operations on the street that engenders contempt on both sides of the equation. But I’m sure this is different in states that don’t have as many local police jurisdictions.

California Highway Patrol has an excellent reputation. They are better trained, are better equipped, and generally act more professional than your average city cop.

Sometimes the state police are the local police. A cousin of mine is a PA state trooper, and most of his work consists of local police work in communities that don’t have their own local force.

Yep. Unlike some states, PA has no county police forces (that I’m aware of). Cities always (I believe) have their own police departments. Most boroughs have police departments, though many very small boroughs do not. Only some townships have police departments. Rural townships often do not have police departments, and rely on state cops to respond, investigate and arrest. For many people, calling 911 for a cop means 15, 30 minutes or more before they show up.

Yep. Where my business is located there is no local police force. A 911 call is routed to the PA State Police.

At my home, we have a local police force, but it is understaffed. If the cop on duty is testifying in court, for example, calls are routed to the PA State Police.

In Virginia the state police have a reputation as grim and tough. But they don’t seem unfair or corrupt. They also handle things like the annual vehicle inspection rules and policies.

If you get pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy or local police, you may or may not get a ticket. If you get pulled over by a state boy, you’re getting a ticket. They have a reputation for being more condescending, less forgiving and generally less likeable. All that said, I believe they probably are more highly trained.

The MA SP have been appearing in court as defendants lately, seems they were ‘working’ ghost shifts that the Feds were paying for, and the Feds were not amused that they were not showing up.

Ohio’s highway patrol is limited in jurisdiction, and is viewed with suspicion by the county sheriffs, as they believe it is trying to become a state police force by stealth. There are regular complaints by the sheriffs about troopers overstepping their authority.

I think they have to meet a higher standard to join and have significantly better training. I know in Georgia the state trooper academy is like 33 weeks long, I think that’s a lot more than local city police.

A friend of a relative who was trying to get in to the chp said he was told that thanks to the "chips"TV show they hadn’t had to recruit in years and he should try the LA county sheriff’s …

This will vary by state. A lot of small states that don’t have any major cities only have one law-enforcement academy. I believe this is the case in Maine and New Hampshire. All cadets, whether they’re planning on going into the state police, a small-town police force, or a (small- to mid-sized) city police force, get exactly the same training. In some states, prospective sheriff’s deputies also attend the same academy. Often correctional officers, game wardens, and other specialized law enforcement officers attend the same academy but with a curriculum that differs in some ways.

In PA, at least, state police have a tremendous retirement benefit. I have a buddy who retired after 25 years, when he was just 48 years old. He could easily collect retirement for much longer than he worked. He played the game most state police here do, by working as much overtime as he could the last year of work, as the pension payment is based on your highest calendar year pay, including overtime. State cops with 25 years service get 75 percent of their highest annual pay, with fully paid health insurance. I remember a newspaper article that indicated that some state cops retire with a higher annual pension than their base salary, due to the overtime loophole.