Pennsylvania State Police

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Pennsylvania State Police
Abbreviation PSP
Pennsylvania State Police.png
Patch of the Pennsylvania State Police.
Agency overview
Formed May 2, 1905
Preceding agencies
  • State Police (1905–1937)
    State Highway Patrol (1923–1937)
  • Pennsylvania Motor Police (1937–1943)
Superseding agency [1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, USA
PA - State Police Troops.png
Pennsylvania State Police Troops
Size 46,055
Population 12,432,792 (2007 est.)[2]
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Troopers 4,677 (as of 2011) [3]
Civilians 1,600 (as of 2011) [3]
Agency executive Colonel Frank Noonan, Commissioner
Areas 3
Troops 16
Stations 90
Helicopters 7 Bell Jet Rangers
Airplanes 5 "High Wings"
Pennsylvania State Police website
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) is the state police force of Pennsylvania, responsible for statewide law enforcement. It was founded in 1905 by order of Governor Samuel Pennypacker, in response to the private police forces used by mine and mill owners to stop worker strikes (the Coal and Iron Police) and the inability or refusal of local police or sheriffs offices to enforce the law. PSP enlisted members are referred to as "troopers". As of 2011, it has 4,677 state troopers and more than 1,600 civilian support staff. The state police academy is located in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The current commissioner is Colonel Frank Noonan, who replaced Frank Pawlowski.


The PSP's duties include patrolling all state and federal highways across Pennsylvania, enforcing the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, overseeing the state's automobile inspection program, enforcing the state's commercial vehicle safety regulations, and providing the full range of police protection for municipalities without full-time local police departments. The PSP patrols more than half of the state's 2,565 municipalities and the bulk of its rural areas, as the sheriffs in Pennsylvania have traditionally performed their court related services and only over the last several decades have begun to exercise their common law authority to enforce state law.

The PSP provides primary service for 27% of the Commonwealth's population, accounting for over 60% of the Commonwealth municipalities.

This constitutes 85% of the Commonwealth's land area and 66% of the Commonwealth's highways. This is accomplished with only 19% of the police officers in the Commonwealth.[4][5]

The PSP's Bureau of Forensic Services provides crime lab services for criminal investigations. A special unit of the PSP act as bodyguards for the Governor of Pennsylvania and certain other state officials. The PSP also temporarily patrolled the state's 28 airports and five nuclear power plants in the months following the 9/11 attacks. However, the PSP still conducts security checks of all of the Delaware River Bridges along the PA/NJ border, in agreement with the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.

The PSP administers the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS), which is responsible for providing background checks in firearms purchases statewide. The PSP are embroiled in a controversy concerning the maintaining of a firearms "registry" contrary to both Federal and State laws[who?]. The issue is being addressed in the courts and the legislature.[citation needed]

The PSP also administers the PATCH (Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History) background-check database and the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System.

The Call of Honor[edit]

All enlisted members of the Pennsylvania State Police are required to memorize the Pennsylvania State Police Call of Honor as listed below:

Camp Cadet[edit]

Camp Cadet is a summer camp for Pennsylvania's boys and girls typically between the ages of 12 to 15 (each camp has its own eligibility requirements) who are interested in law enforcement. The camp is held at various locations throughout the State and staffed by Troopers, local police officers and many other volunteers. The goal of Camp Cadet is to introduce participants to the diverse criminal justice system and establish a positive relationship with law enforcement personnel.[6] Camp Cadet is solely funded through voluntary contributions and fund raisers. The PSP does not pay for this, and some (but not all) camps charge a fee for cadets to participate. Camp Cadet General Info on Pennsylvania State Police Website Troop A Camp Cadet Website - Westmoreland County Troop A Camp Cadet Website - Indiana County Troop A Camp Cadet Website - Somerset County Troop B Camp Cadet Website Troop D Camp Cadet Website - Armstrong County Troop D Camp Camp Cadet Website - Butler, Beaver, Mercer, Lawrence Counties Troop E Camp Cadet Website Troop F Camp Cadet Website Troop G Camp Cadet Website Troop H Camp Cadet Website Troop J Camp Cadet Website - Chester County Troop J Camp Cadet Website - Lancaster County Troop L Camp Cadet Website Troop M Camp Cadet Website Troop P Camp Cadet Website Troop R Camp Cadet Website

Uniform and Rank Structure[edit]

The uniform worn by PSP troopers is unique within Pennsylvania. In January 1988, the State Police changed the color of its uniforms. PSP troopers wore dark grey uniforms that confused them with some municipal police departments and Pennsylvania State Constables. By state law, no municipal (city, borough, or township) police department can wear the same exact uniform or color configuration as that of the PSP.

Uniform – troopers to sergeants[edit]

The current PSP uniform for troopers, corporals, and sergeants consist of a light gray uniform shirt with black shoulder epaulets. The PSP shoulder patch is worn on both sleeves of all uniform items. The PSP members are issued long sleeve shirts for the winter and short sleeve shirts for summer. However, PSP requires the black necktie to be worn year round. The uniform shirt consist of the trooper's nameplate over the right pocket and any awards the trooper has earned over the left pocket. PSP is 1 of only 5 state police forces that do not wear a badge on the uniform shirt. The original PSP uniform was molded from the Constabulary forces in Europe and they did not have badges. It is history and tradition for troopers today to carry their badges in a wallet along with their photo ID card. The uniform trousers are a darker gray color with a 1" black stripe on the leg. PSP shoes and/or boots are also black in color.

The PSP duty belt is Gould & Goodrich plain black leather. The duty holster is the level-2 model. The ammo pouch and handcuff case have hidden snap closure. The OC pepper spray and ASP baton holders are open top. The duty belt is held together with the trousers belt using 4 silver snap belt keepers.

The PSP trademark item is the campaign style hat with the chin strap worn in the front under the chin on the winter campaign hat(as opposed to most agencies that wear the strap of the campaign hat behind the head). The hat contains a blackened commonwealth coat of arms. It is required to be worn whenever the trooper is outdoors. It is made of dark gray felt (for wintertime wear) or light gray straw (for summertime wear) The strap of the summer hat is worn behind the head.

Also, as an optional part of the winter uniform, troopers may wear a black "woolly-pully" commando sweater over their uniform shirts, along with a vinyl/fur winter hat.

The Class "A" Ceremonial Unit troopers wear a "full dress" uniform which is a charcoal gray military-style dress coat with black buttons. It is worn with matching charcoal gray military-style riding breeches and black high-rider leather boots. The duty belt is worn with the shoulder strap. This uniform is modeled after the original PSP history uniform.

Uniform – lieutenants to colonels[edit]

The uniforms for PSP Lieutenants, Captains, Majors, Lieutenant Colonels, and the Colonel are identical to that of the lower ranks, except for the following:

  • A gold-colored commonwealth coat of arms on the left collar and the officer's rank on the right collar.
  • Black stripes on trousers has a gold stripe within it of increasing width with higher rank.
  • The campaign hat is replaced with a military officer's style service cap with a gold-colored commonwealth seal. Captains and above having the distinctive "Scrambled Eggs" on the visor. Alternatively, officers may wear the campaign hat with a gold coat of arms with the duty uniform.

In addition to the minor detail changes, senior officers wear the four-button military coat for "Class A" functions. The coat has four gold-colored buttons, breast and hip pockets, and shoulder epaulets for the placement of the officer's current rank. A white shirt is worn with a black tie underneath. A system of "rank rings" are worn on each sleeve, similar to the rank-ring system used by the U.S. Navy, United States Coast Guard, and by land units of the Canadian Forces. Currently, the insignia worn by PSP senior officers are as follows:

  • Lieutenant: no service stripes
  • Captain: one service stripe
  • Major: two service stripes
  • Lt. Colonel: three service stripes
  • Colonel: four service stripes

Ranks, insignia, and descriptions[edit]

Title Insignia Additional Information
US-O6 insignia.svg
Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police
Lieutenant Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
Second in Command of the Pennsylvania State Police.
US-O4 insignia.svg
Commander of an Area, such as Area III, encompassing several Troops.
US-O3 insignia.svg
Troop Commander, such as Troop B, encompassing several Stations.
US-O2 insignia.svg
Station Commander, such as Station 1 (located in Troop B of Area III)
PSP - Sergeant.jpg
Station Commander, Supervisor of a unit, section, or specialty position.
PSP - Corporal.jpg
Supervisor of Troopers, oversee the patrol's daily calls for service.
Trooper First Class
PSP - Trooper 1C.jpg
This is a longevity promotion for Troopers with 12 years of service.
Upon graduation from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy, cadets are promoted to the rank of Trooper.
State Police Cadet
A Commonwealth employee who is enrolled in but has not yet graduated from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy.


The PSP owns and operates a myriad of facilities to conduct law enforcement across the Commonwealth. The following is the breakdown.


  • Troop A, Area III - Cambria, Indiana, Somerset, Westmoreland Counties; Troop HQ - Greensburg
  • Troop B, Area III - Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington Counties; Troop HQ - Washington
  • Troop C, Area III - Clarion, Clearfield, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean Counties; Troop HQ - Punxsutawney
  • Troop D, Area III - Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Mercer Counties; Troop HQ - Butler
  • Troop E, Area III - Crawford, Erie, Venango, Warren Counties; Troop HQ - Lawrence Park
  • Troop F, Area II - Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Tioga, Union Counties; Troop HQ - Montoursville
  • Troop G, Area II - Bedford, Blair, Centre, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin Counties; Troop HQ - Hollidaysburg
  • Troop H, Area II - Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Perry, York Counties; Troop and Department HQ - Harrisburg
  • Troop J, Area II - Chester, Lancaster Counties; Troop HQ - Lancaster
  • Troop K, Area I - Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia Counties; Troop HQ - Philadelphia
  • Troop L, Area II - Berks, Lebanon, Schuylkill Counties; Troop HQ - Reading
  • Troop M, Area I - Bucks, Lehigh, Northampton Counties; Troop HQ - Bethlehem
  • Troop N, Area I - Carbon, Columbia, Lower Luzerne, Monroe Counties; Troop HQ - Hazleton
  • Troop P, Area I - Bradford, Upper Luzerne, Sullivan, Wyoming Counties; Troop HQ - Wyoming
  • Troop R, Area I - Lackawanna, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne Counties; Troop HQ - Dunmore
  • Troop T - Turnpike; Troop HQ - Penna. Turnpike Commission HQ, Highspire
  • Troop S - Disbanded. Patrolled State Highways. Troopers in this Troop migrated into the local stations.[7]

(*) - The Pennsylvania State Police currently provide highway patrol services within Philadelphia County; the Troop K Headquarters is located on Belmont Avenue near Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Police Department Highway Patrol recently transferred patrol of interstate highways over to the Pennsylvania State Police in early 2008.

Barracks listing by county[edit]

PSP bureaus and offices[edit]

The PSP also has many bureaus and subdivisions within the organization.[8] This is by no means a complete list, merely a sampling of the breakdown.

  • Bureau of Criminal Investigation
  • Bureau of Emergency and Special Operations
  • Bureau of Human Resources
  • Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement
  • Bureau of Records and Identification
  • Bureau of Patrol
  • Bureau of Integrity and Professional Standards
    • Firearms Division
  • Bureau of Technology Services
  • Commonwealth Law Enforcement Assistance Network - C.L.E.A.N.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Office
  • Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission
  • Domestic Security Office
  • Gaming Enforcement Office

Dispatching facilities[9][edit]

The Pennsylvania State Police was in the process of consolidating dispatch functions from the individual stations to one of five "Consolidated Dispatch Centers" (CDC). However, as of July 30, 2012 The Pennsylvania State Police has disbanded the CDCs and moved the dispatching operations back to the individual stations. Only two CDCs were operational - Harrisburg and Norristown. The stated reason for closing the operations at the CDCs, according to previous statements made by State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan before the Senate budget hearings, was to put more troopers back on the street. It is mandated that all PSP stations be manned on site 24/7 for emergencies and a point of refuge for people in distress. This became a problem when dispatchers, PCO'S (Police Communication Operators), were moved to CDC'S and the position of "Greeters" was created adding additional costs and manpower issues. When greeters were unavailable troopers were assigned this task. Even non-CDC stations also had a shortage of PCOs, in part caused by the number of PCOs required for minimum staffing at a CDC, causing troopers to regularly work as dispatchers at these stations.


The Harrisburg CDC went operational in June 2004. It covered the Carlisle, Harrisburg, and Lykens stations in Troop H and the Ephrata and Lancaster Stations in Troop J. With the assumption of responsibility for the areas previously covered by the Philadelphia Highway Patrol, the Harrisburg CDC also covered the Reading and Hamburg Stations from Troop L. The Harrisburg CDC would have become the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for all PSP stations in Troops H, J, and L.


The Norristown CDC went operational in November 2004. It covered the Philadelphia and Skippack stations in Troop K. The Norristown CDC would have become the PSAP for all PSP stations in Troops K, and M.

Other CDCs[edit]

The remaining three CDCs were to be located in Greensburg, Clarion, and Pittston. The Greensburg CDC would have covered Troops A, B, and G; the Clarion CDC would have covered Troops C, D, and E; the Pittston CDC would have covered Troops F, N, P, and R. Troop T stations are dispatched by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission at its Highspire headquarters.


  • Male: 96%
  • Female: 4%
  • White: 82%
  • African American/Black: 9%
  • Hispanic: 2%
  • Asian: 1%
  • Native American 0%[citation needed]


A Ford Expedition used by the Pennsylvania State Police.

The department currently operates a mixed fleet of vehicles including the new law enforcement specific Ford Police Interceptor sedan and SUV, Crown Victorias, Chevrolet Impalas, Jeep Cherokees, Chevrolet Tahoes, Ford Expeditions, Dodge Chargers, Dodge Magnums, and Chevrolet vans. The PSP also owns and operates numerous helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, some of which are currently for sale .[10] Current plans are underway to purchase and operate some sort of watercraft for the Delaware River in the Philadelphia area.


The PSP Aviation Section consists of thirty-five trooper pilots and three full-time mechanics, using eight helicopters and six airplanes state-wide. These aircraft are stationed in seven aviation patrol units (APU) whose missions including, but not limited to: conducting searches and rescues; assisting in vehicle pursuits; conducting criminal surveillances; participating in marijuana eradication efforts; crime and traffic incident scene photography; transports; conducting emergency management and homeland security missions providing an aerial platform for incident command and control; and attending events promoting law enforcement efforts. The Aviation Section also provides air support to all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies within Pennsylvania and assists during non-emergency situations such as major civic and sporting events.[citation needed]


The department recently adopted the SIG Sauer P227 (specifically the SIG Sauer P227R (rail), .45 ACP, Nitron, SLITE (SIGLITE® Night Sights), DA/SA)[11] semi automatic pistol chambered in .45 Auto as their new service pistol. It holds 10+1 rounds. PSP submitted a solicitation for bids on May 9, 2014 for 150 such firearms for the next PSP academy cadet class to train with and keep as their issue duty sidearm.[12] The SIG P227 (.45 ACP) will eventually replace all of the department's Glock 21 Gen4 (.45 ACP) pistols which were acquired in 2013.[13] Those Glocks had replaced by trade-in 4,800 of the department's Glock 37 (.45 GAP caliber) handguns, which in turn had replaced their Glock 22 (.40 S&W) pistols, which had replaced their Beretta 96D (.40 S&W) double-action-only (DAO) handguns back in 2007/2008.

Other firearms include the AR-15, 12-gauge shotguns (including the Remington 870 pump and 1187 semi auto), and gas grenade launcher.[14]

The current less-lethal weapons the PSP is utilizing consists of Taser technology,[15] Pepper spray (OC), and expandable ASP straight baton.


The Pennsylvania State Police is the largest internationally accredited law enforcement agency in the world. This distinction was awarded to the Pennsylvania State Police on July 31, 1993, by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), an independent, non-profit organization based in Fairfax, Virginia.[citation needed]

Accreditation is a process used by professional law enforcement agencies to facilitate the creation, verification and maintenance of high-quality policies and procedures, via voluntary compliance with performance standards. CALEA's 446 standards address nine major law enforcement topics: role, responsibilities, and relationships with other agencies; organization, management, and administration; personnel structure; personnel process; operations; operational support; traffic operations; prisoner and court-related services; and auxiliary and technical services.[16]

Superintendents and Commissioners since 1905[edit]

Name Date[17]
Groome, John C. 1905 1905
Adams, Lynn G. 1920
Foote, Percy W. 1937
Adams, Lynn G. 1939
Wilhelm, Cecil M. 1943
Henry, E.J. 1955
McCartney, Frank G. 1959
Purdy, E. Wilson 1963
Rittelman, Paul A. 1966
McKetta, Frank 1967
Urella, Rocco 1971
Barger, James 1973
Chylak, Paul 1977
Dunn, Daniel 1979
Laffey, Cyril 1984
Dellarciprete, Nicholas 1984
Schafer, John K. 1985
Sharpe, Ronald 1987
Walp, Glenn 1991
Evanko, Paul 1996
Miller, Jeffrey B. 2003
Pawlowski, Frank 2008
Noonan, Frank 2011


  • The PSP was nationally-recognized as the premiere state police agency in the early years of the 20th century. State troopers from North Carolina and Kentucky attended the training academy so they could start PSP-style state agencies in their respective states. NC trooper cadets at the academy in Raleigh are frequently reminded they have a familial connection to the PSP through their training process history.[citation needed]
  • The PSP was patterned after a military organization and PSP troopers have sometimes been referred to as "Soldiers of the Law."[citation needed] Divisions of the force are called "troops," and officers are known as "troopers" a title usually reserved for members of the United States cavalry, and reminiscent of the early beginnings of the department when officers patrolled on horseback. Regional headquarters, at which single troopers were once required to live, are referred to as "barracks." The original concept was that the troopers did not apply to join the PSP but "enlisted" for two-year periods, after which they could be honorably discharged or apply for reenlistment. The longstanding two-year enlistment periods were phased out in 1961.
  • Married men were initially barred from becoming state troopers. After 1927, troopers were allowed to marry after they had completed their first two-year enlistment if they had approval from the police superintendent. The PSP allowed married men to enlist in 1963.[7]
  • On October 1, 1971, the first female applicant was accepted as a cadet in the Pennsylvania State Police. The academy class, containing the first female troopers, graduated on July 7, 1972.[18]
  • PSP does not allow ride-alongs. Even state police cadets cannot "ride-along" prior to graduating the academy. This is done for numerous safety and liability reasons.[19]



Trooper Michael Evans pleaded guilty in October 2000 to sexual crimes committed against six women and teenage girls while on duty. He was sentenced to between five and ten years in custody. [20][21]


In July, 2008, Trooper Kevin Coleman was charged with protecting a prostitution ring based out of the Gables Truck Stop in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.[22]


In May 2009, Trooper Shawn Dillard was found guilty by a federal court of using his position to protect an interstate prostitution ring based out of the Gables Truck Stop in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This was the same investigation that led to the arrest of Trooper Coleman.[23]


In early 2011, as a result of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the state police agreed to stop issuing tickets to people who swear. Press reports indicated the state police had issued as many as 700 such citation a year.[24]

In March, 2011, Trooper Barry R. Tangert Jr. was sentenced to 14 months supervised probation for interfering with a child abuse investigation.[25]


In January 2012, Lieutenant Barry Eugene Staub, the commander of the state police barracks in York was arrested for driving while drunk. He retired when charges were brought against him.[26]


In March, 2014 Trooper Barry M Seafoss, Jr. pleaded guilty to killing a woman while driving drunk in 2012. He was sentenced to between six and 23 months confinement.[27]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ 2007 Population Estimates
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b The Pennsylvania State Police (2003–4), PSP: PSP History 1900 to 1940, retrieved 2008-12-25 
  8. ^ The Pennsylvania State Police (2008), PSP Bureau and Office Website Listing, retrieved 2008-12-27 
  9. ^ The Pennsylvania State Police (2008), State Police Unveils High-Tech Dispatch Center, retrieved 2008-12-27 
  10. ^
  11. ^ SIG Sauer, Catalog Product Details, P227 Nitron
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ NRA Staff. "Pennsylvania State Police Select Remington 870". American Rifleman. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Pennsylvania State Police Leadership, Superintendents and Commissioners since 1905, retrieved 2011-03-05 
  18. ^ The Pennsylvania Highway Patrol (2003–04), PSP: PSP History 1941 to Present, retrieved 2008-12-25 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Alleged trooper sex acts listed Accusations of sexual misconduct on the Pa. state police force are outlined in a court filing, by Chris Gray, Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 June 2003, INQUIRER
  21. ^ Trooper Pleads Guilty Michael Evans Gets 5-10 Years For Sexually Abusing 3 Girls, 3 Women, by Joseph P Ferry, 4 October 2000, The Morning Call
  22. ^ Officer 2nd charged in prostitution inquiry , by Pete Shellem, 4 July 2008 Patriot News
  23. ^ FBI press release “Former Pennsylvania State Trooper Convicted” dated 16 May 2009
  24. ^ What the .... It's not illegal to swear at a state police officer, bythe Associated Press, January 04, 2011
  25. ^ State trooper gets probation, will lose job for interfering with Cumberland County investigation, by DAN MILLER, 29 March 2011, The Patriot-News
  26. ^ Commander of York County state police barracks retires after DUI charge, by MIKE ARGENTO, 6 January 2012, Daily Record/Sunday News
  27. ^ Ex-Trooper get jail time for fatal Upper Dublin Crash, by Margret Gibbons, 4 March 2014, The Intelligencer

External links[edit]