Kansas Highway Patrol

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Kansas Highway Patrol
Kansas Highway Patrol patch.png
Kansas Highway Patrol logo.png
KS - Highway Patrol Badge.png
Flag of Kansas.svg
MottoService · Courtesy · Protection
Agency overview
Formed1937; 82 years ago (1937)
Preceding agency
  • Kansas Motor Vehicle Inspectors
Employees840 (as of 2004)[1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionKansas, US
KS - Highway Patrol Troop Map.png
Kansas Highway Patrol Troop Map
Size82,277 square miles (213,100 km2)
Population2,911,505 (2018 est.)[2]
HeadquartersTopeka, Kansas

Troopers541 (as of 2004)[1]
Civilians299 (as of 2004)[1]
Agency executive
  • Herman Jones, Superintendent

The Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) is a law-enforcement agency that serves the U.S. state of Kansas. While the patrol's primary focus is maintaining the safety of State, Federal and Interstate highways, it also is charged with providing support for rural and small municipal police departments when tactical, aerial or other specialized services are needed. The Kansas Highway Patrol has statewide jurisdiction, and frequently assists other agencies with emergency calls for service ranging from accidents to fights in progress.


In 1933, the Kansas Legislature, Governor Alfred Landon, and Highway Department Attorney Wint Smith acted to halt the rampant bank robberies and crime sprees of the 1920s and 1930s. They created a force of ten Motor Vehicle Inspectors, forerunners of Kansas Troopers, under the control of the State Highway Commission.[3]

The Legislature officially organized the Kansas Highway Patrol in 1937. A superintendent, assistant superintendent, and 45 troopers were hired to reduce crashes by enforcing traffic, vehicle, and license laws. Kansas City Police Department veteran Jack B. Jenkins was the first superintendent.[3]

The Governor appointed a Superintendent, and the Superintendent appointed the remainder of the Patrol. All appointees had to pass a physical exam and be U.S. citizens, at least 24 years old, of good health and moral character, and without a criminal record. The 1941 Kansas Civil Service Law affected appointment procedures, but as late as 1945, half the appointees had to belong to the governor's political party, and the other half had to be members of the political party that garnered the second highest number of votes in the gubernatorial election.[3]

In the 1950s, the patrol was contracted to patrol the Kansas Turnpike Authority, and Protective Services began with one Trooper providing ground transportation for the Governor. The recruit school moved from the State Reformatory in Hutchinson to the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence. Increasingly, troopers patrolled alone. Before, they always rode in pairs.[3]

In the 1960s, each trooper was assigned a patrol car to improve roadway coverage, and access to the Law Enforcement Teletype System and National Crime Information Center improved the patrol's communications. The first promotional examinations were given, and the former ready-alert facility of the deactivated Schilling Air Force Base in Salina became the patrol's Training Center. Also, the Motor Vehicle Department began examining license applicants, releasing Trooper-Examiners to law enforcement duties.[3]

In 1976, the patrol gained authority over the Capitol Area Security Patrol, which now commonly referred to as the Kansas Capitol Police, or Troop K. In 1988, the responsibility to enforce motor carrier laws was passed from the Department of Revenue to the patrol. As a result, the Patrol inherited Motor Carrier Inspectors and began operation of Motor Carrier Weigh Stations across the state.[3]

In the 1990s, the Patrol had outgrown its training center. The state took over the former Marymount College campus in Salina, to house the training academy, statewide communications center and central region offices.[4][5]

The first female troopers joined the patrol in 1981. Today, the agency actively recruits women and men to be troopers and to fill other uniformed and civilian positions. Besides Troopers, the agency employs Capitol Police Officers, Capitol Area Guards, Motor Carrier Inspectors, Communications Specialists, Vehicle Identification Number Inspectors, Motorist Assistance Technicians, and civilians in a variety of other support positions.[3]

The last revolver issued was the Smith & Wesson Model 586 .357 Magnum revolver. The SIG Sauer P220 .45 Auto was the first semi-automatic pistol carried by the agency in 1991 until it was replaced in 1998 by the Glock 21 .45 Auto pistol. In 2009, the agency was one of the first in the United States to adopt the Glock "SF" (SF, Short Frame) series sidearms (the other state agency to adopt the Glock 21SF shortly after would be the Nebraska State Patrol who still uses them) and the agency chose the Glock 21SF .45 to replace then eleven-year-old Glock 21 pistols that replaced the SIG Sauer P220. The Glock 21SF was first issued with a standard Level 1 or Level 2 high gloss leather holster, but would adopt the Safariland 6360 Level 3 holsters in around 2013–2014. In late 2018, the Patrol transitioned to 9mm with the Glock 17 Gen 5 carried in a Safariland 6360 Level 3 holster. The transition to 9mm was based upon Federal Bureau of Investigation testing showed advances in ballistics technology made modern 9mm ammunition more accurate with more stopping power.[6].

Morale controversy[edit]

In 2014, amidst many allegations of abuse of power and inconsistent work practices resulting in overall low morale, the University of Kansas School of Business proctored a thorough survey of all KHP Employees that were willing to participate. The results of the survey revealed that the majority held great loyalty to the agency, but believed upper-level command staff needlessly doled out disciplinary actions to those they personally disliked, showed favoritism during promotional processes, and were generally incompetent when it came to making important decisions regarding the overall direction of the patrol. Colonel Ernest Garcia and Lieutenant Colonel Alan Stoecklein were both mentioned by name multiple times in an open-ended section at the end of the survey where employees could comment freely. Kansas State Troopers Association President Mitch Mellick said that the survey revealed concerns that had long been held by troopers across the state regarding labor practices and benefits. Lieutenant Colonel Stoecklein soon thereafter announced his retirement, effective September 15, 2014 and Colonel Ernest Garcia announced he was leaving the agency on January 5, 2015.[7][8][9]


The patrol is under the direction of the Highway Patrol Superintendent, who holds the rank of Colonel within the Patrol. The Superintendent is appointed by the Governor of Kansas. The Superintendent appoints an Assistant Superintendent, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, to assist them. Under the Assistant Superintendent are four Majors who comprise the command staff of the patrol.

The patrol is organized into geographical and functional units, usually referred to as "Troops".[10]

  • Troop A (Kansas City Metro – Headquartered in Olathe, Kansas)
  • Troop B (Northeast Kansas – Headquartered in Topeka)
  • Troop C (North Central Kansas – Headquartered in Salina)
  • Troop D (North West Kansas – Headquartered in Hays)
  • Troop E (Southwest Kansas – Headquartered in Garden City)
  • Troop F (South Central Kansas – Headquartered in Wichita)
  • Troop G (Responsible for patrolling the Kansas Turnpike – Headquartered in Wichita)
  • Troop H (Southeast Kansas – Headquartered in Chanute)
  • Troop I (Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program – Headquartered in Topeka)
  • Troop J (Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy in Salina)
  • Troop K (Capitol Police in Topeka)
  • Troop L (Executive Protection Unit – responsible for personal security of the Governor & Lieutenant Governor)
  • Troop M (Central Communications – provides statewide dispatching from Salina)
  • Troop N (Domestic Highway Enforcement Team – Headquartered in Topeka)
  • Troop S (Emergency Services Unit – Headquartered in Salina)
    • Hazardous Devices Unit (Bomb Technicians and Explosive Detection Canines)
    • Police Service Dog Unit (Dual purpose patrol and drug detection canines)
    • Special Response Team (Part-time tactical response unit)
  • Troop T (Aircraft Operations – aircraft stationed in Topeka, Wichita and Hays)
  • Troop V (Auto Theft Unit – Headquartered in Topeka)[11]
  • Units within General Headquarters in Topeka[11]
    • Office of the Superintendent
    • Emergency Operations / Homeland Security
    • Fleet Services
    • Public and Governmental Affairs
    • Records Section
    • Information Technology
    • Fiscal Management
    • Human Resources
    • General & Criminal Counsel
    • Professional Standards Unit

Rank structure[edit]

Title Insignia Description
Superintendent (Colonel)
US-O6 insignia.svg
Rank of colonel, appointed by the Governor of Kansas to be the professional head of the Department
Assistant Superintendent (Lieutenant Colonel)
US-O5 insignia.svg
Rank of lieutenant colonel, second-in-command of Patrol, appointed by the Superintendent
US-O4 insignia.svg
Regional and Division Commanders
US-O3 insignia.svg
Troop Commander
US-O2 insignia.svg
First Line Supervisor
Technical Trooper
Blank - Spacer.png
Rank held by veteran Troopers assigned to a technical specialty (e.g. Bomb Technicians, Aircraft Pilots, Canine Handlers, Task Force Officers, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement troopers).
Master Trooper
Blank - Spacer.png
Rank attained by Trooper after completion of 5 years of service and completion of advanced professional training.
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Rank attained by Recruits upon successful completion of the training academy, responsible for field law enforcement patrol.
Trooper Trainee (Recruit)
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This rank is held by law enforcement officers while attending the KHP training academy.

Officers of the patrol[edit]

Kansas Trooper in a Ford Crown Victoria
Kansas Highway Patrol Bell 407

State Troopers[edit]

State troopers are certified law enforcement officers who enforce Kansas laws. Troopers have law enforcement jurisdiction throughout the state. Daily responsibilities include performing traffic stops, providing emergency medical assistance, assisting motorists, investigating crashes, detecting and deterring criminal activity, and assisting other law enforcement agencies. State troopers assist during civil disturbances and natural disasters, provide law enforcement at the Kansas State Fair, inspect school buses and motor vehicles, testify in court, and educate the public about traffic safety.[12]

Capitol Police Officers[edit]

The Kansas Capitol Police, as they are known today, are members of a specialty troop of the Kansas Highway Patrol (Troop K). The Capitol Police originally became part of the Kansas Highway Patrol in 1976, under the designation of Kansas Capitol Area Security Patrol, or C.A.S.P.

In the early days of C.A.S.P., the police officers of this special unit were statutorily only allowed to enforce laws on or about state property; leaving them powerless to act on a violation of the law when traveling from one property to another.

In 1995 The Kansas Legislature gave county wide law enforcement jurisdiction to the Capitol Police, and several years thereafter full statewide jurisdiction. With this added jurisdiction and the expanding role of C.A.S.P. legislation was also passed to officially change the name of the unit from C.A.S.P. to the Kansas Capitol Police.

Capitol Police Officers carry the same types of weapons and are issued the same types of equipment and vehicles as Kansas State Troopers. Although they are members of the Kansas Highway Patrol, they are considered “officers” not troopers, and wear slightly different uniforms. Most attended other police academies, not the trooper academy. In 2018, five Capitol Police officers attended the entire trooper academy but still graduated as Capitol police. In 2019, two more attended the trooper academy. Those who attended the full trooper academy are allowed to transfer out of Troop K and become a trooper have a specified amount of time in the Capitol.

Troop K is one of only two Kansas Highway Patrol Troops that provide 24-hour, 7-day-a-week police coverage. This coverage currently entails answering calls for service/patrolling over 100 state properties in Shawnee County Kansas, assisting other law enforcement agencies, investigation traffic accidents, intervening in crimes in progress, and traffic enforcement. The Capitol Police are also charged with providing uniformed police protection at the governor's mansion, the statehouse, the insurance regulation building, and the judicial center.[13]

Motor Carrier Inspectors (Troop I)[edit]

Motor carrier inspectors perform thousands of roadside inspections each year, and enforce state laws and federal regulations that promote the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles. MCIs enforce state statutes governing size and weight of vehicles, assist stranded motorists, promote voluntary compliance with the law through educational programs, testify in court, and assist during civil disturbances, natural disasters, and crash scenes. MCIs also train outside agencies in commercial motor vehicle weight and safety regulations. However, most training is conducted by the technical troopers within Troop I (MCSAP troopers).

Motor carrier inspectors work at established scale houses throughout the state, and MCI Law Enforcement Officers conduct mobile inspections. The MCI Law Enforcement Officers are certified law enforcement officers, (but are not troopers), who in addition to inspecting commercial motor vehicles, detect and deter criminal activity, and apprehend criminal offenders.[14]

Around approximately 2015, it was decided the mobile motor carrier inspector position would be eliminated through attrition. The MCIs were allowed to remain employed but had no opportunity for advancement. When they retire, their positions are replaced by technical troopers who perform the MCI duties of size and weight enforcement as well as typical trooper duties.

Communications Specialists (Troop M)[edit]

Communications specialists support field personnel 24 hours a day, seven days a week by rapidly and efficiently broadcasting information from the Highway Patrol's Central Communications Center in Salina, Kansas. Daily responsibilities include operating a data entry terminal and radio communication system to send, relay, and receive information. Communications Specialists maintain continuous contact among Highway Patrol personnel and other emergency response agencies, and they disseminate information for officers to apprehend offenders, develop investigative leads, track criminal activity, identify stolen property, and locate missing persons.

Communications specialists also coordinate emergency medical relays across the state using aircraft and ground units, and monitor alarms and warning systems, such as those issued by the National Weather Service and local emergency managers.[15]



Name Type Caliber Origin Notes
Glock 17 GEN 5 Pistol 9mm  Austria Standard Issue
Glock 19 Pistol 9mm  Austria Executive Protection Detail & Task Force Troopers
SIG Sauer P226 Pistol .40 S&W  Germany Kansas Turnpike (Troop G) Troopers
Remington 870 Shotgun 12 Gauge  United States Standard Issue
Mossberg 500 Shotgun 12 Gauge  United States Kansas Turnpike (Troop G) Troopers
Colt M4 Patrol Rifle 5.56mm  United States Standard Issue to all law enforcement officers
H&K 416 Tactical Rifle 5.56mm  Germany Special Response Team (SRT)
SIG Sauer MPX Submachine Gun 9mm  Germany Executive Protection Detail
H&K MP5SD Submachine Gun 9mm  Germany Special Response Team (SRT)


Kansas Highway Patrol State Troopers operate the following vehicles:

Fallen officers[edit]

Since the establishment of the Kansas Highway Patrol, 10 officers have died in the line of duty.[16][17]

Officer Date of Death Details
Trooper Maurice R. Plummer
Saturday, December 16, 1944
Automobile accident[18]
Trooper Jimmie D. Jacobs
Tuesday, October 6, 1959
Automobile accident[19]
Trooper John B. McMurray
Wednesday, December 9, 1964
Vehicular assault[20]
Lieutenant Bernard C. Hill]
Sunday, May 28, 1967
Automobile accident[21]
Sergeant Eldon K. Miller
Friday, January 19, 1968
Trooper James Donald Thornton
Tuesday, October 2, 1973
Trooper Conroy G. O'Brien
Wednesday, May 24, 1978
Trooper Ferdinand Frederick Pribbenow
Saturday, July 11, 1981
Master Trooper Larry Lee Huff
Friday, November 26, 1993
Automobile accident[26]
Master Trooper Dean Allen Goodheart
Wednesday, September 6, 1995
Struck by vehicle[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c USDOJ Statistics Archived November 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ 2019 Population Estimates U.S. Census Bureau
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "History of the KHP". kansashighwaypatrol.org.
  4. ^ This site is maintained the New Media Department of the Salina Journal. "Salina.com - an online service of The Salina Journal". saljournal.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011.
  5. ^ Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy - kansashighwaypatrol.org - Retrieved March 6, 2009
  6. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-moves-back-to-the-9mm-round-which-it-once-shunned-as-ineffective/2015/10/31/d7d0b994-7e80-11e5-afce-2afd1d3eb896_story.html
  7. ^ "KHP survey points to dissatisfaction with leadership, alleged favoritism". CJOnline.com.
  8. ^ "Kansas Highway Patrol superintendent to retire". KSN-TV.
  9. ^ "Longtime KHP trooper to retire, says so long at his 28th state fair". The Hutchinson News.
  10. ^ Kansas Highway Patrol Troop Locations http://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/field_op/troops.html
  11. ^ a b https://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/31/Field-Operations
  12. ^ "Career Opportunities for Trooper". kansashighwaypatrol.org.
  13. ^ https://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/157/Troop-K
  14. ^ KHP Motor Vehicle Inspector page http://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/careerop/co_mci.html
  15. ^ "Career Opportunities for Communications Specialist". kansashighwaypatrol.org.
  16. ^ Kansas Highway Patrol Memorial page http://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/memory/memorial.html
  17. ^ Officer Down Memorial Page http://www.odmp.org/agency/1938-kansas-highway-patrol-kansas
  18. ^ "Honoring our Fallen - Plummer". Kansashighwaypatrol.org. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  19. ^ "Honoring our Fallen - Jacobs". Kansashighwaypatrol.org. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  20. ^ "Honoring our Fallen - McMurray". Kansashighwaypatrol.org. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  21. ^ "Honoring our Fallen - Hill". Kansashighwaypatrol.org. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  22. ^ "Honoring our Fallen - Miller". Kansashighwaypatrol.org. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  23. ^ "Honoring our Fallen - Thornton". Kansashighwaypatrol.org. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  24. ^ "Honoring our Fallen - O'Brien". Kansashighwaypatrol.org. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  25. ^ "Honoring our Fallen - Pribbenow". Kansashighwaypatrol.org. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  26. ^ "Honoring our Fallen - Huff". Kansashighwaypatrol.org. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  27. ^ "Honoring our Fallen - Goodheart". Kansashighwaypatrol.org. Retrieved October 8, 2015.

External links[edit]