Maryland State Police

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Department of Maryland State Police
Common name Maryland State Police
Abbreviation MSP
Maryland State Police.jpg
Patch of the Maryland State Police
Seal of Maryland (reverse).svg
Seal of the State of Maryland
Flag of Maryland.svg
Flag of the State of Maryland
Agency overview
Formed 1921
Employees 2,429 (as of 2004)[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of Maryland, U.S.
MD - State Police Troops.png
Maryland State Police Troops
Size 12,407 square miles (32,130 km2)
Population 5,773,552 (2010 census)[2]
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters 1201 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, Maryland, U.S., 21208
39°22′30″N 76°43′23″W / 39.374948°N 76.722973°W / 39.374948; -76.722973Coordinates: 39°22′30″N 76°43′23″W / 39.374948°N 76.722973°W / 39.374948; -76.722973
Troopers 1,483 (as of 2009)[3]
Civilians 733 (as of 2009)[3]
Agency executive Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent
Child agency Maryland State Fire Marshal
Helicopters 12
Airplanes 2
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Maryland State Police (MDSP), officially the Department of Maryland State Police (MSP), is the official state police force of the U.S. state of Maryland. The Maryland State Police is headquartered at 1201 Reisterstown Road in the Pikesville CDP in unincorporated Baltimore County.[4][5]

Organizational structure[edit]

The Maryland State Police is organized into a structure based on the United States military, composed of:[6]

  • Department of State Police (commanded by the Colonel)
  • Bureaus (commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel)
  • Commands (commanded by a Major)
  • Troops (commanded by a Captain)
  • Divisions (commanded by a Captain or Civilian Director)
  • Barracks (commanded by a Lieutenant)
  • Sections (commanded by a Captain or Lieutenant or Civilian Director)
  • Units (commanded by a First Sergeant)

The Maryland State Fire Marshal is a member of the department and is charged with investigation and prosecution of suspicious fires and arson throughout the state.

Field Operations Bureau[edit]

The Field Operations Bureau (FOB) is the most visible component of the Maryland State Police. The FOB consists of four commands: the Eastern Command, Western Command, Special Operation & Transportation Command which together encompass the 22 barracks; the Special Operations Division (SOD), Automotive Safety Enforcement Division (ASED) and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division (CVED); and the Aviation Command. Seventy-five percent of MSP sworn personnel are assigned to the FOB.

In 2010 the state police:

  • stopped 540,000 vehicles for motor vehicle law violations, issued over 360,000 citations.
  • made 3,300 arrests for those in possession of controlled dangerous substances.

Field installations worked with the Motor Vehicle Administration implementing its warrant program in support of arresting wanted persons and reducing MSP statewide warrants.

  • handled over 18,000 motor vehicle collisions, conducted over

16,900 criminal investigations and served 8,849 warrants.

  • made 7,833 arrest for Driving Under the Influence, amounting to 34.6% of DUI arrests made statewide.[7]

Homeland Security and Investigation Bureau[edit]

The Homeland Security and Investigation Bureau is divided into the Homeland Security Command and the Investigation Command.

Support Services Bureau[edit]

The Support Services Bureau is responsible for personnel administration including recruiting, retention, training, retirement, and benefits. It maintains the physical and technical infrastructure for the department. The bureau is currently commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Russell. Divisions include Facilities Management, Electronic Systems, Information Technology, Motor Vehicle, Quartermaster, Human Resources, Training, and Promotional Testing.[8]

Office of Strategic Planning[edit]

The Office of Strategic Planning deals with all planning within the department. The bureau manages the Budget and Finance Division, Government Affairs Unit, Policing Division, Staff Inspections Section, and Planning and Research Division.


Until 1921, Maryland had no state-wide police force. In that year, in response to increasing crime, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles organized a team of police officers who were given statewide jurisdiction to enforce traffic and criminal laws. They gained jurisdiction through deputization by county sheriffs. An associated plainclothes investigative unit became known as the "State Police Force." [9]

In 1935, the Maryland State Police was established as a separate unit of state government, funded out of revenues from the Department of Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. It was granted additional statewide police powers to enforce fish, oyster, game and other conservation laws and maintain a training school. It was made part of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services in 1970.[9]

In 1994, the Department of Maryland State Police was formed as a separate executive department; it was renamed the Department of State Police in 1995.[9] Recent Superintendents have included David B. Mitchell from 1995 to 2003, Ed Norris from 2003 to 2004, Thomas E. Hutchins from 2004 to 2007, and Terrence Sheridan from 2007 to 2011. The current Superintendent is Marcus L. Brown, who was appointed on August 1, 2011 after serving as chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police since 2007.

In the history of the force, forty-three state troopers have been killed in the line of duty.[10]


The Maryland State Police has jurisdiction throughout Maryland and may, in its discretion or at the request of any municipal agency, or when ordered by the Governor of the state of Maryland, exercise and enforce statewide laws without regard to jurisdiction within the boundaries of the state of Maryland. Otherwise, except under certain conditions as defined by statute, the agency does not enforce criminal laws within the jurisdiction of those incorporated municipalities which have their own police force.[11]

The department also has the authority and jurisdiction to investigate allegations of police corruption concerning any municipal agency within the state. The department also enforces controlled substance laws throughout the state.

Uniform and equipment[edit]

The police uniform has remained the same since 1951.[12] The standard uniform consists of olive pants with a black stripe down the side, a tan colored button-up shirt is worn, with long sleeves in winter and short sleeves in summer. A black tie is worn with the long-sleeve shirt. Some also wear black sweaters in cold weather. Class A uniforms consist of a dress blouse and Sam Browne belt. The ranks of trooper first class, corporal, sergeant, and first sergeant wear yellow chevrons showing their rank on both sleeves. Members of certain specialized units wear a military camouflage work uniform.[citation needed]

A felt Stetson hat is worn in the winter months with a long sleeve shirt and tie, and a straw Stetson is worn in the summer months with the short sleeve shirt.

Maryland State Police troopers are issued the Glock 22 chambered in 40 S&W and a Remington 870 shotgun. Qualified troopers are also issued the Colt M16-A1 or the Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. [13]

Vehicle Colors[edit]

The police patrol in marked or unmarked vehicles. Early marked patrol units were olive green with black fenders. Beginning in 1974, vehicles (including helicopters) were painted yellow. Beginning in about 1984 new vehicles were painted tan with black and olive side stripes from front to rear. In approximately 1996, the agency changed back to the historic colors, and painted vehicles with most horizontal surfaces olive green and most vertical surfaces black.[citation needed]


The Maryland State Police Training Academy is in Sykesville, Maryland along with the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission.[14] The academy is live-in and consists of twenty-six weeks of basic instruction.

Candidates take college-level academic classes for which they receive 45 college credits. Training includes instruction in the use of the agency's firearms as well as in criminal law, motor vehicle law and emergency vehicle operation. Vehicle training is conducted on the training commission's course.[citation needed]

Upon completion of training, troopers are assigned to one of twenty-two barracks located around Maryland. There troopers will complete an additional eight weeks of field training under the supervision of a Field Training Trooper (FTT).[citation needed]


Barrack ID Location Area served
Barrack A[15] Waterloo[15] Howard County[15]
Barrack B[15] Frederick[15] Frederick County[15]
Barrack C[15] Cumberland[15] Allegany County[15]
Barrack D[15] Bel Air[15] Harford County[15]
Barrack E[15] Salisbury[15] Wicomico County[15]
Barrack F[15] North East[15] Cecil County[15]
Barrack G[15] Westminster[15] Carroll County[15]
Barrack H[15] La Plata[15] Charles County[15]
Barrack I[15] Easton[15] Caroline County, Dorchester County, Talbot County[15]
Barrack L[15] Forestville[15] Prince George's County (south of U.S. 50)[15]
Barrack M[15] JFK Memorial Highway Interstate 95 in Cecil County, Harford County, Baltimore County[15]
Barrack N[15] Rockville[15] Montgomery County[15]
Barrack O[15] Hagerstown[15] Washington County[15]
Barrack P[15] Glen Burnie[15] Anne Arundel County[15]
Barrack Q[15] College Park[15] Prince George's County (north of U.S. 50)[15]
Barrack R[15] Golden Ring[15] Baltimore County[15]
Barrack S[15] Centreville[15] Kent County, Queen Anne's County[15]
Barrack T[15] Leonardtown[15] St. Mary's County[15]
Barrack U[15] Prince Frederick[15] Calvert County[15]
Barrack V[15] Berlin[15] Worcester County[15]
Barrack W[15] McHenry[15] Garrett County[15]
Barrack X[15] Princess Anne[15] Somerset County[15]

Rank structure[edit]

The Maryland State Police is a paramilitary organization with a rank structure modeled after the United States military. The ranks of corporal through captain are based on promotional testing; majors and above are appointed by the superintendent.[16]

The Maryland State Police rank structure is as listed:

Rank Insignia Description
US-O6 insignia.svg
The Superintendent of the Maryland State Police holds the rank of colonel. He is the Secretary of the Department of State Police and a member of the governor's cabinet.
Lieutenant Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
There are three officers with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, each overseeing one of the three bureaus within the state police.
US-O4 insignia.svg
Majors are responsible for a command within the state police.
US-O3 insignia.svg
The specific responsibilities of a captain vary depending upon where they are assigned within the agency. For example, a captain may be a troop commander in the Field Operations Bureau or a division commander in one of the other bureaus.
US-O2 insignia.svg
A lieutenant is the commander of each barrack. Other Lieutenants may command a unit.
First Sergeant
First sergeants are assistant barrack commanders or may perform administrative functions in other areas.
Detective Sergeant
Detective Sergeant, Maryland State Police.svg
Detective sergeants are in charge of all criminal investigations at a barracks, or may be assigned to other investigative functions.
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Sergeant Rank Chevrons.svg
Sergeants act as shift commanders or duty officers.
Corporal Prince George's County Sheriff's Office.svg
Corporals are the first-line supervisors and are usually assigned as road supervisors within barracks. In the absence of a sergeant, they may act as the duty officer.
Master Trooper [] Troopers who complete 15 years of satisfactory or exceptional service are promoted to the rank of Master Trooper.
Senior Trooper
Troopers who complete 10 years of satisfactory or exceptional service are promoted to the rank of Senior Trooper.
Trooper First Class
Deputy First Class Prince George's County Sheriff's Office.svg
Troopers who complete three years of satisfactory or exceptional service are promoted to the rank of TFC.
Trooper Candidates successfully completing the academy and field training are appointed as troopers.


  • Male: 90%
  • Female: 10%
  • White: 78%
  • African-American/Black: 10%
  • Hispanic: 2%
  • Asian: 1%


The Maryland State Police is a paramilitary organization whose organizational and rank structure are modeled after the United States military.

  • Department of State Police (commanded by the Colonel)
  • Bureaus (commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel)
  • Commands (commanded by a Major)
  • Troops (commanded by a Captain)
  • Divisions (commanded by a Captain or Civilian Director)
  • Barracks (commanded by a Lieutenant)
  • Sections (commanded by a Captain or Lieutenant or Civilian Director)
  • Units (commanded by a First Sergeant)


All of the subdivisions of the agency fall under the Office of the Superintendent, are part of one of the three bureaus or fall under the Office of Strategic Planning.

The Office of the Superintendent includes staff and units that directly support the administrative responsibilities of the secretary. Those units and staff report to the chief of staff, except for the Office of Media Communications and Marketing, which reports directly to the secretary.

Field Operations Bureau includes the twenty-three barracks, as well as the Aviation Command, the Transportation Safety Command and the Special Operations Command.

The Homeland Security and Investigation Bureau was established to provide investigative services, both overt and covert to support the department's mission of achieving public safety by improving the quality of life for the citizens of Maryland. The bureau is organized in two commands: the Homeland Security Command and the Investigation Command.

The Support Services Bureau performs vital services to support the personnel and operations of the Maryland State Police. The Personnel Command is responsible for all aspects of personnel administration - from recruiting and training to benefits and retirement. The Logistics Command maintains the vital infrastructure of the agency including the buildings and the computer network. The Records Command includes the Licensing Division, which issues numerous types of permits and licenses (such as handgun permits) and the Central Records Division which is the statewide repository for motor vehicle accident reports.

The Office of Strategic Planning oversees all planning and compliance functions within the department. The Office of Strategic Planning includes the Budget and Finance Division, the Government Affairs Unit, the Professional Policing Division, the Staff Inspections Section, and the Planning and Research

Specialized units[edit]

  • Homeland Security and Intelligence Division (HSID)
  • Criminal Enforcement Division (CED)
  • Executive Protection
  • S.T.A.T.E. Team (SWAT)
  • Aviation Command
  • D.A.R.E.
  • Accident Reconstruction
  • Canine Unit (K9)
  • Crime Lab
  • Media Communications
  • Computer Crimes
  • Automotive Safety Enforcement Division
  • Police Academy or Training Division
  • Motorcycle Unit
  • Licensing Division
  • Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division
  • Underwater Recovery Unit (MSP URT)

Aviation Command[edit]

Trooper 3 (foreground) practicing hoist operations with Trooper 2 in background climbing out on a medical evacuation

The agency operates a large Aviation Command focusing on medevac operations. Aviation also supports ground units of the state and local police. Funding comes from a vehicle registration surcharge ($13.50 per vehicle per year as of 2013)[18] collected by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.[19]

The command operates four types of aircraft.[20] On October 20, 2010, Maryland State Police awarded a $71 million contract to AgustaWestland to provide six AW139 helicopters.[21] In 2013, the contract totaled 10 AW139s at a price of $121.7 million.[22]


Fixed wing

The Aviation Command was instrumental in the support of the first trauma center in the USA, the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.[23]

Trooper 2 crash[edit]

On September 28, 2008, around 12:00am, Trooper 2 (Eurocopter AS 365N1 Dauphin, N92MD) crashed with five people aboard in Walker Mill Regional Park in Prince George's County.[24] Out of the five aboard, there were four confirmed fatalities, which included pilot Stephen H. Bunker (retired corporal), paramedic Trooper First Class Mickey C. Lippy, Emergency Medical Technician Tonya Mallard (Waldorf Volunteer Fire Department), and one of the two patients on board. This resulted in the grounding of all aircraft, until the cause was determined, with allied agencies covering the state. Aircraft were inspected and brought up to cover missions two weeks after the crash with no resulting incidents[citation needed].

This is the fourth fatal crash in the history of the Aviation Division. The most recent fatal crash prior to this occurred on January 19, 1986[citation needed].


In the late 1990s, the Maryland State Police and New Jersey State Police agencies were accused of racial profiling. Allegations were made that black motorists were being pulled over disproportionately on the New Jersey Turnpike and on Interstate 95, for no reason other than race. In New Jersey many rank-and-file state troopers testified that their supervisors had ordered them to engage in this practice. A nationwide scandal erupted, which ultimately resulted in a federal monitor watching over the New Jersey State Police. In a "consent decree," the New Jersey State Police agreed to adopt a new policy that no individual may be detained based on race, unless said individual matches the description of a specific suspect.[25][26] In Maryland the state reached a settlement to pay the victims for the incident.[27]

In 2008, it was revealed through Freedom of Information Act requests that the Maryland State Police had been engaged in domestic spying of anti-war, anti-death penalty and environmental activists, and classified 53 of them as "terrorists," although none of them committed a violent crime.[28] The police admitted that there was never any evidence linking these individuals with any intention to commit any acts of violence. Among those listed as terrorists were two Roman Catholic nuns living in Baltimore.[29]

On the morning of March 11, 2014, officers from MCPD, Maryland State Police, Rockville Police, and Prince George's County Police acting on a tip set up a roadblock on across all 12-lanes on Interstate 270 and walked car to car with pistols, shotguns and semiautomatic rifles drawn. The incident brought hundreds of cars and thousands of motorists on the interstate to a standstill for 45-minutes as dozens of police officers conducted warrantless vehicle-to-vehicle searches at gunpoint[30] for suspects alleged to have participated in a bank robbery. A controversy over tactics used by officers has erupted, with reports of officers walking down I-270 between stopped cars with guns drawn, telling people to get back in their vehicles, and demanding commuters pop their trunks without any explanation why. One woman was reportedly shouted at by police with weapons drawn after she'd opened her car door to throw up, having gotten carsick from sitting in traffic for so long. MCPD Chief Manger defended the incident.[31] Don Troop, an innocent bystander who witnessed the incident, told the Washington Post that a group of officers made its way to his car and other cars around him. “They were just walking along saying: "Pop the trunk! Pop the trunk!” Troop said he overheard a man in a truck next to him call out to another motorist: "The police are looking for bank robbers." A short time later, about nine officers approached his car — including state police in tan uniforms, county police in dark uniforms and at least one plainclothes officer wearing a yellow tie. Among their commands to motorists that Troop heard: “Stay in your car.” “Pop the trunk.” “Get your hands on the steering wheel. Get you hands up where we can see them.” Cpl. Aaron Smith, a pilot flying a Prince George's County helicopter dispatched to assist stated “We saw that they were searching traffic and going vehicle to vehicle.”[32] Montgomery County Police spokesman Captain Paul Starks described the incident as a "systematic check of trunks and rear hitches" of detained vehicles.[33] The suspects were eventually apprehended.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ USDOJ Statistics
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Home page. Maryland State Police. Retrieved on March 23, 2009.
  5. ^ "Pikesville CDP, Maryland." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on March 23, 2009.
  6. ^ Organization of the Maryland State Police
  7. ^ Maryland State Police webpage - 2010 Maryland State Police Annual Report[1]
  8. ^ Support Services Bureau Details
  9. ^ a b c Maryland State Police webpage - History of the MSP
  10. ^ Officer Down Memorial Page
  11. ^ See Md. Pub. Safety Code Ann. § 2-412.
  12. ^ State Police Uniforms
  13. ^ Organization of the Maryland State Police
  14. ^ Maryland State Police Academy
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm Maryland State Police - Barracks
  16. ^ Maryland State Police - Rank Structure
  17. ^ Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics, 2000: Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers
  18. ^
  19. ^ Maryland State Police Aviation Command
  20. ^ US civil aircraft register searches using "Maryland State Police" and "Maryland Department of State Police" as the Owner Name search parameters. Searches conducted 2007-10-31.
  21. ^ AgustaWestland Awarded Contract by the Maryland State Police Aviation Command
  22. ^ "First of 10 new state medevac helicopters arrive Maryland State Police replacing its fleet under $121.7 million contract". The Baltimore Sun. 26 February 2013. 
  23. ^ History of Shock Trauma at the UMM
  24. ^ Four Fatalities in State Police Medevac crash in Prince Georges County
  25. ^ Cleary, Robert; Bill Lee, Susan Cassell, Steven Rosenbaum, Mark Posner, Kelli Evans, John Farmer (1999-12-30), United States vs. New Jersey 
  26. ^ "Division of Criminal Justice Home". Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  27. ^ Landmark Settlement Reached With Maryland State Police In "Driving While Black" Case ACLU. Retrieved September 28, 2008.
  28. ^ Lisa Rein (12 October 2008). "Spying on Activists Discussed at Forum; Group Questions Why Some, Not Others". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  29. ^ "US nuns come home to discover 'terrorist' status". Agence France-Presse (AFP). 11 October 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  30. ^ "Police Close I270 in search for bank robbers". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company, Inc. March 11, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  31. ^ "After I-270 Closure A Question Over Tactics". WTOP 103.5 FM. WTOP News. March 12, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  32. ^ Morse, Dan (March 11, 2014). "Police Halt Montgomery County Commuters on I-270 to hunt for bank robbery suspects". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company, Inc. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Police Close I-270 during search". MyFoxDC. March 11, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 

External links[edit]