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; 82 years ago (1935-09-23)
Preceding agency Colorado State Highway Courtesy Patrol
Employees 1108 (as of 2016)[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of Colorado, USA
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Colorado State Police Districts
Size 104,185 square miles (269,840 km2)
Population 5,456,574 (2015 est.)[2]
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Lakewood, Colorado
Agency executive Colonel Scott Hernandez, Chief
Parent agency Colorado Department of Public Safety
Districts 5
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) (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 CSP primarily enforces traffic laws on interstates and 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,[3] 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."[3] This became the motto of the Colorado State Patrol.

The Colorado State Patrol headquarters is located in a nondescript building in Lakewood, Colorado.


Until the switch to auto-loading semi-automatic pistols, The CSP carried blue-steel, 4 inch barreled Colt Python revolvers. CSP then went to the Smith & Wesson Model 4006 .40 S&W in a Melonite (black) finish with the agencies seal engraved in the slide. CSP troopers now carry the Smith & Wesson M&P .40.[4] Additionally, all troopers are issued a Remington 870 shotgun and are given the option to carry either a department or personally owned M14 or AR-15 select-fire rifle.

All CSP troopers are issued an ASP baton and OC, with Tasers started being used in 2011.[5]

Vehicles and aircraft[edit]

Colorado State Patrol Dodge Chargers near Sterling, CO

In 2009, after many years of using Ford Crown Victoria patrol cars, the CSP began to introduce Dodge Chargers into its fleet.[6] The CSP also uses Chevrolet Tahoes, Ford Police Interceptors (both sedan and utility models) and Chevrolet Caprices. The Hazardous Materials and Motor Carrier Safety sections use Ford F-150 trucks.[7]

The CSP operates five fixed wing aircraft:[8][9]


The CSP's mission is to "ensure a safe and secure environment for all persons by utilizing the strengths of our members to provide professional law enforcement services that reflect our core values of Honor, Duty and Respect".[10]

Specific duties include:

  • Enforcing 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.
  • Investigating and report traffic crashes occurring on public property.
  • Directing, controlling and regulating motor vehicle traffic on public roadways.
  • Inspecting vehicles for safety-related equipment violations.
  • Inspecting vehicles carrying livestock for brand inspection certificates.
  • Providing community education and administer safety programs to the public.
  • Regulating road closures for special events, inclement weather, or when necessary to prevent further injury or damage following an emergency.
  • Promulgating and enforcing rules and regulations for commercial motor vehicles.
  • Operating a statewide law enforcement telecommunications system.
  • Performing criminal interdiction on Colorado highways, focusing on the transport of illegal drugs.
  • Assisting in state homeland security efforts.
  • Providing emergency assistance in the event of major disasters, civil protests, or when requested by local law enforcement.

Rank structure[edit]

Commissioned officers[edit]

Rank Insignia Description
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Chief of the Patrol
Deputy Chief
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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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Interior of Colorado State Patrol Dodge Charger patrol vehicle

Special programs[edit]

Colorado State Patrol Chevrolet Tahoe near Sterling, CO

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.[11]

Colorado State Patrol Chevrolet Tahoe near Sterling, CO

Specialty units[edit]

CSP Specialty Units include:[12]

  • Vehicular Crimes Unit
  • Aircraft Section
  • Canine Team
  • 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 CSP was established 27 officers have died while on duty,[13] with the most recent being Cody Donahue, who was struck and killed by a commercial vehicle on November 25, 2016.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-17. Retrieved 2016-02-10. 
  3. ^ a b "History | Colorado State Patrol". Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  4. ^ "Smith & Wesson Receives Order from Colorado State Patrol". The Outdoor Wire. 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  5. ^ "Taser snares 350-piece order from Colorado State Patrol - Phoenix Business Journal". Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  6. ^ "Dodge Charger police cars: where they are, who is using them". Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  7. ^ CSP Procurement Office documented quote for emergency lighting for F150 trucks. Accessed 2016-09-17.
  8. ^ "Aircraft | Colorado State Patrol". Retrieved 2016-09-17. 
  9. ^ "Air troopers give State Patrol a view from 1,500 feet". Retrieved 2016-09-17. 
  10. ^ "2015 CSP Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-17. 
  11. ^ "Programs". 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2016-09-17.  External link in |website= (help)
  12. ^ "Colorado State Patrol - Programs". Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  13. ^ "The Officer Down Memorial Page". Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  14. ^ Garrison, Oscar Contreras, Robert (2016-11-26). "Trooper killed in crash on I-25 south of Castle Rock; NB lanes closed for investigation". 7NEWS. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 

External links[edit]