Colorado State Patrol

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Colorado State Patrol
Abbreviation CSP
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Patch of the Colorado State Patrol.
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Logo of the Colorado State Patrol.
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Badge of the Colorado State Patrol.
Agency overview
Formed September 23, 1935; 79 years ago (1935-09-23)
Preceding agency Colorado State Highway Courtesy Patrol
Employees 936 (as of 2004)[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of Colorado, USA
CO - CSP Districts.jpg
Colorado State Police Districts
Size 104,185 square miles (269,840 km2)
Population 4,861,515 (2007 est.)[2]
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Lakewood, Colorado
Troopers 681 (as of 2004)[1]
Civilians 255 (as of 2004)[1]
Agency executive Colonel Scott Hernandez, Chief
Parent agency Colorado Department of Public Safety
Districts 6
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Colorado State Patrol (originally known as the Colorado State Highway Courtesy Patrol), based in Lakewood, Colorado, is a division of the Colorado Department of Public Safety, and is one of the official state police agencies of Colorado, along with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and several smaller state agencies. The Colorado State Patrol primarily enforces traffic laws on state highways, guards the state capitol and the governor of Colorado and has statewide general law enforcement jurisdiction.


Founded in 1935 with only 44 men, it was one of only four law enforcement agencies serving in Colorado at the time. Since two-way radios weren't installed until 1949, officers usually received calls by visiting local gas stations. After dispatchers telephoned the station, the attendant would then place a red flag along the roadway, which would alert the officers to the call.

The patrol was met with opposition from the public when it was formed, as well as from other law enforcement agencies, who thought the patrol would endanger their jurisdiction. Therefore, Colorado legislature carefully outlined the duties of the agency in the Patrol Act, which states that "it shall be their duty to promote safety, protect human life and preserve the highways of Colorado by the intelligent, courteous, and strict enforcement of the laws and regulation of this state relating to highways." This became the motto of the Colorado State Patrol.


Until the switch to auto-loading semi-automatic pistols, The CSP carried blue-steel, 4 inch barreled Colt Python revolvers. CSP troopers now carry the Smith & Wesson M&P .40.[3] Additionally, all troopers are issued a Remington 870 shotgun and are given the option to carry either a department or personally owned M-14 or AR-15 select fire rifle.

Less-Lethal Weapons[edit]

All Troopers are issued an ASP baton and OC. In 2012 the CSP began training and issuing its troopers tasers. The Colorado State Patrol also issues take home cars to its troopers.

Goals and Mission of the CSP[edit]

Strategic Goals[edit]

  • To provide a safe and secure environment on Colorado's highways.
  • To secure necessary resources to provide expected customer service.
  • To provide an environment for employees which is conducive to high quality service.
  • To maintain a highly trained, motivated, competent, work force providing professional service.
  • To provide high quality law enforcement service through sharing of resources to maximize taxpayer dollars.


  • Enforce all the laws of the state of Colorado on approximately 8,483 miles (13,652 km) of state highways and more than 57,000 miles (92,000 km) of county roads.
  • Investigate and report traffic crashes occurring on public property.
  • Direct, control and regulate motor vehicle traffic on public roadways.
  • Inspect vehicles for safety-related equipment violations.
  • Inspect vehicles carrying livestock for brand inspection certificates.
  • Provide community education and administer safety programs to the public.
  • Regulate road closures for special events, inclement weather, or when necessary to prevent further injury or damage following an emergency.
  • Promulgate and enforce rules and regulations for commercial motor vehicles.
  • Operate a state-wide law enforcement telecommunications system.
  • Perform criminal interdiction on Colorado highways, focusing on the transport of illegal drugs.
  • Assist in state homeland security efforts.
  • Provide emergency assistance in the event of major disasters, civil protests, or when requested by local law enforcement.

Rank Structure[edit]

Commissioned Officers[edit]

The Colorado State Patrol headquarters is located in a nondescript building in Lakewood, Colorado.
Rank Insignia Description
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Chief of the Patrol
Lieutenant Colonel
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Region Commander
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District/Branch Commander
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Troop/Section Commander

Non-Commissioned Officers[edit]

Rank Insignia
Sergeant Major
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Master Sergeant
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CO - SP Corporal Stripes.png
Master Trooper and
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Special programs[edit]

Colorado State Patrol car

Alive at 25[edit]

A community program designed to impact the future of traffic safety, Alive at 25 focuses educational effort to youths between the ages of 14 and 25. Its emphasis is to identify and eliminate at-risk driving behavior.

Seat Belt Survivor Program[edit]

Since the CSP recognizes that seat belts are an important means of preventing injury or death in automobile accidents, this program exists to identify and recognize motorists who have survived a potentially fatal or serious-injury crash through the use of seat belts.

Specialty Units[edit]

  • Vehicle Crimes Unit
  • Aircraft Section
  • Executive Security Unit
  • Hazardous Materials Section
  • Homeland Security Section
  • Smuggling and Trafficking Interdiction Section
  • Investigative Services Section
  • Motor Carrier Safety Section
  • Motorcycle Unit
  • Evidence Section

Fallen officers[edit]

Since the establishment of the Colorado State Patrol, 24 officers have died in the line of duty.[4] The most recent being Trooper Zachariah Templeton, who was struck by a vehicle on I-76 on October 11, 2007, while helping a man load plastic water containers that had fallen off of his trailer. He died the next day. Another trooper, Trooper Scott Hinshaw was seriously injured. Trooper Hinshaw had just gotten off the phone with his wife and was looking forward to his anniversary that night. Trooper Templeton is survived by his young daughter. The Colorado State Patrol Family Foundation ( is the 501 (c) 3 non profit and benevolent fund tied into the Colorado State Patrol's employees who are members of the Association of Colorado State Patrol Professionals (

The most well-known death of a Colorado State Trooper is that of Trooper Jason Lee Manspeaker on January 23, 2001. Trooper Manspeaker was investigating a possible sighting of the 'Texas Seven' when he was involved in a fatal automobile accident. The 'Texas Seven' were responsible for the death of Officer Aubrey Wright Hawkins of the Irving, Texas Police Department

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c USDOJ Statistics[dead link]
  2. ^ 2007 Population Estimates[dead link]
  3. ^ "Smith & Wesson Receives Order from Colorado State Patrol". The Outdoor Wire. 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  4. ^ "The Officer Down Memorial Page". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 

External links[edit]