Michigan State Police

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Michigan State Police
Department of State Police
Michigan State Police.jpg
MI - State Police logo.jpg
Michigan State Police Door Seal
MI - State Police Badge.jpg
Badge for retired Troopers
Abbreviation MSP
Agency overview
Formed April 19, 1917; 101 years ago (1917-04-19)
Annual budget $527,300,000.00 (2009-10)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction Michigan, USA
Size 97,990 square miles (253,800 km2)
Population 9,969,727 (2009 est.)[1]
Headquarters 7150 Harris Dr, Dimondale, Michigan 48821

Trooper and Motor Carrier Officer[2]s 1399[2]
Civilians 866
Agency executive
  • Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue, Director
Districts 7
Posts 37

The Michigan State Police (MSP), originally Michigan Troopers Permanent Force, is the state police agency for the state of Michigan. The MSP is a full-service law enforcement agency with its sworn members having full police powers statewide.

The department was founded in 1917 as a wartime constabulary and eventually evolved into the modern agency that it is today. The department's entry-level members are called "Troopers". Its headquarters is in the state capital, Lansing.[3]


The Michigan Department of State Police began as a temporary, wartime emergency force for the purpose of domestic security during World War I. On April 19, 1917, Governor Albert Sleeper created the Michigan State Troops Permanent Force, (also known as the Michigan State Constabulary).[4] With Colonel Roy C. Vandercook as the first commanding officer, this new force consisted of five Troops of mounted, dismounted and motorized units, totaling 300 men.[5] With Michigan going "dry", enacting state liquor prohibition effective May 1, 1918 and Ohio "wet", the force was soon stationed in Monroe County by 1918 due to the smuggling going on.[6] On March 26, 1919, Public Act 26 reorganized the Constabulary as the permanent, peacetime Michigan State Police.[5]

Throughout the history of the department, its members have participated in many important events. Some of the earliest duties of the department involved its troopers being dispatched on horseback to the iron-rich regions of the state's Upper Peninsula to guarantee the mining and distribution of the vital ore.

A Bureau of Investigation and Identification was started by Capt. Ira H. Marmon opened in 1919 at the East Lansing Headquarters with an old shoebox fingerprint records file previous kept under his barracks cot next to his desk.[4]

In the mid-1970s Michigan Governor William G. Milliken gave the Michigan State Police a permanent presence on Detroit area freeways which culminated in the opening of the Detroit Freeway post in Downtown Detroit. This action was taken after a rash of crimes on the Detroit area freeway system and local law enforcement had limited resources in doing expressway patrols on a regular basis. MSP troopers were deployed in Benton Harbor in the summer of 2003 to quell civil unrest that was occurring within that city.

Troopers were also deployed to Louisiana in September 2005 following Hurricane Katrina to assist local authorities with search and rescue, law enforcement, and humanitarian efforts in the devastated city of New Orleans, Louisiana. In January and February 2006, the Michigan State Police deployed several hundred Troopers to Detroit during Super Bowl XL and worked with local and federal agencies to ensure a safe environment for the game and its related festivities.

The summer of 2007 saw a major mobilization of departmental resources for the National Governors' Conference in Traverse City. The state police were also requested to assist local police agencies with patrol support in the cities of Flint and Saginaw; a similar request was made in February 2008 by the city of Pontiac after budget difficulties forced the cash-strapped city to lay off many police officers.

In 2016, the MSP went from the garrison style cap to a navy blue straw "smokey" campaign hat as part of their uniform.

2011 Redistricting[edit]

On October 1, 2011, in an effort to achieve its $17.7 million general fund reduction for fiscal year 2012, the department's districts were realigned and the number of posts was reduced from 62 to 29. In total, 18 posts were converted to detachments (private auxiliary offices for other posts) and 14 posts were closed; however, no MSP employees were laid off.[7]


Troopers with the Michigan State Police are entrusted with the authority to conduct investigations concerning violations of criminal and traffic statutes throughout the state, answer service calls regardless of city, township, or county boundaries.


Michigan State Police, Ypsilanti Post. The Ypsilanti Post was merged into the Brighton Post in 2011.

The MSP consists of three bureaus encompassing many different divisions:

The Field Services Bureau consists of two regions that include seven districts encompassing twenty-nine posts, sixty-one detachments, and eight resident trooper concepts. Also included in the bureau are the Criminal Investigation Division and Intelligence Section. Of all the department's Bureaus, it is the personnel of the Field Services Bureau that citizens most often encounter.

The Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division (CVED) is responsible for the enforcement of laws and regulations pertaining to commercial motor vehicles. CVED was re-aligned under the new Specialized Services Bureau along with the Special Operations Division which includes support services such as the Aviation Unit, Canine Unit, Underwater Recovery Unit, Emergency Support Team, Bomb Squad and EMHSD.

The Administrative Services Bureau consists of the Training Division and the Criminal Justice Information Center, as well as other internal support functions for the department.

The key among the divisions in the State Services Bureau is the Forensic Science Division, which is composed of seven laboratories. State-of-the-art forensic laboratory services, including crime scene and 'post-blast' investigations, drug analysis, document examination, polygraph testing, latent print examination, AFIS, DNA analysis, toxicology analysis, blood/alcohol analysis, firearms and toolmark examination, arson evidence analysis, and serology and trace evidence analysis are provided to all Michigan law enforcement agencies at no cost.

The Executive Division exists to provide administrative support to the Director by providing information for executive-level decision making, supporting agency-wide strategic planning, representing the Director outside the agency, developing and disseminating department policy, formulating agency positions on public policy issues, media relations, and ensuring high standards of organizational effectiveness and individual professionalism. The executive division also contains the Governor's Security Detail.

Patrol vehicles[edit]

Standard MSP Patrol Car

Vehicle types[edit]

The familiar blue MSP Patrol Car is referred to as "the blue goose" by members of the department. The department's fleet consists of the Dodge Charger, the Chevrolet Tahoe Special Service Vehicle, the Ford Police Utility SUV, and Crown Victoria Police Interceptors.

Several other varieties of vehicles, including Chevrolet Suburbans and Impalas, are used by the department's specialized divisions. MSP also deploys troopers on Harley Davidson and BMW R1200 motorcycles. Michigan State Police choose their vehicles using a weighted formula and results from their annual vehicle evaluation tests.

Paint color and marking styles[edit]

MSP Capitol Patrol Car in Lansing.
MSP Vehicles at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

The distinctive blue paint color used on Michigan State Police vehicles is one of the few law enforcement vehicle special order (VSO) colors that manufacturers add to their color palette specifically for an agency.[8] Per Michigan State Police specifications, the color is the "same as Dulux 93-032" (and which may be identified by other color designations or codes depending on whether Ford, GM, or Chrysler produced the vehicle to which the paint is applied). MSP is fairly unusual in its use of both the blue paint of the patrol cars and the red hue of the rotating overhead light as basic livery; the department has used the blue paint scheme and the current door decals since 1954.

The MSP also utilizes "slick top" patrol units for traffic enforcement. There are two types of traffic cars: the traditional blue patrol car minus the traditional "gumball" light, and a semi-marked variety that is painted in colors other than blue and marked only on the passenger side. Available in tan, red, white, silver, and black, these units also use hidden LED lights to increase their effectiveness and have been extremely successful. Michigan state law requires that police vehicles be marked at least on the passenger side; a law that dates back to the days of the "side stop."[9]

MSP Motor Carrier Enforcement officers of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division (CVED) who enforce truck safety laws, drive vehicles identical to regular MSP patrol vehicles, except that they have a "Commercial Vehicle Enforcement" designation on the rear quarter panels of the unit in gold lettering. CVED currently uses only the Chevrolet Tahoe. Starting in 2008, CVED moved to the Tahoe platform and began using the same paint scheme as the Troopers' vehicle. The words "Commercial Vehicle Enforcement" were added to the quarter panels and the 'Motor Carrier Enforcement' decals on the rear were replaced with standard "State Police" decals.

Unique lighting[edit]

Fully marked patrol vehicles feature a single red overhead light, the RV-26 or RV-46 "Spitfire" made by Unity Manufacturing that rotates when activated; however, in late 2009, MSP announced that these are being retrofitted with red LED lamps rather than incandescent beams to reduce the hassle and expense of replacing the PAR 36 or PAR 46, 60,000 CP sealed beam bulbs and servicing the rotor motors. Red lenses on some MSP vehicle roof beacons have one or two clear horizontal stripes that allow some untinted white light to shine through, and this gives the lamps a pinkish glow at long distances. Michigan State Police have continued to use the "gumball" style lights instead of lightbars as they are unique, reduce wind drag, and are highly visible at long distances,[10] as well as for tradition.

MSP vehicles also feature a clear plastic sign, referred to as a "hood light" or "hailer" or "shark fin" on the hood that lights up when activated. The historical use of this hood light dates from the time when a "side stop" patrol stop would be initiated by pulling up next to an offender and the Trooper would motion them to pull over in daylight; at night the hood light was illuminated displaying the words "State Police" and "STOP" (MSP no longer use the "side stop").

Patrol units also use red and blue LEDs facing to the rear of the vehicle and in some forward facing pushbars, as well as headlight and tail light flashers. Both the rotating overhead light and the hood light have traditionally been synonymous with the MSP. The rotating red light has been used by the MSP since 1960 and the current style red overhead light has been in use by the agency since 1979. The red overhead lights on some MSP cars are 25–30 years old.

Vehicle testing[edit]

Michigan State Police is one of only two agencies in North America (the other being the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office) that conduct annual tests of police and special services vehicles. MSP typically conducts their top speed and braking tests each fall at Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Michigan and vehicle dynamics and handling tests on the road course at Grattan Raceway in Grattan Township, Michigan. Tests are open to members of the law enforcement community, fleet managers, and other interested parties, and results are published for the benefit of the law enforcement community.[11]

Many of the specifications and option offerings for Chrysler, Ford, GM police vehicles are a result of findings and suggestions stemming from MSP evaluations. Annual test results are published at the MSP Website

Aviation Unit[edit]

The five aircraft in the Michigan State Police Aviation Unit are assigned several duties:

  • search and rescue
  • relays
  • traffic enforcement
  • traffic control
  • security
  • training
  • investigative and administrative flights

Mobile Command Vehicle[edit]

The Michigan State Police operates one Mobile Command Vehicle as of 2006. The 37-foot-long (11 m) vehicle has an International chassis and engine and weighs 25,500 pounds (11,600 kg). It is equipped with GPS, satellite television, a diesel electric generator, and a lavatory.

The vehicle is also equipped with a variety of radio systems that allow those operating it to communicate effectively in the field. The vehicle was utilized during Hurricane Katrina relief in September 2005 and is also frequently used at large events throughout the state.

Miscellaneous information[edit]

MSP post in Iron Mountain showing the typical architecture.

The department's value statement is: A PROUD tradition of SERVICE through EXCELLENCE, INTEGRITY, and COURTESY. The department requires that the emphasized words be shown in capitalized print when the statement is reproduced in any fashion.

The department's work sites are called "Posts," much as a local police department's offices are referred to as "stations." Many MSP posts are similarly designed and feature a distinctive two-story architectural style with a front door centered above exterior steps to the first level and a sandstone center section engraved with the state seal and the words "Michigan State Police". Many of these buildings were built in the 1930s in the years following The Great Depression just before World War II.

To date, 52 Michigan State Police Troopers have died in the line of duty.

As of January 2011, the Director of the MSP is Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue. She was appointed to the position of Director by Governor Rick Snyder and was preceded by Eddie L. Washington Jr.. Col. Etue is the first female director of the Michigan State Police.

Recruits must complete an intensive twenty-six week training academy prior to being confirmed as a Trooper. The paramilitaristic, residential school is held at the MSP Training Academy in Lansing, MI.

Authored by Inspector Phillip D. Schertzing, "Preserve, Protect, and Defend: An Illustrated History" (ISBN 1563116049) is a 416-page book that covers MSP history from 1917 until the present day.


The State Police Budget for 2009-2010 fiscal year is US$527.3 million, an increase of 5.5 million from the previous year.

Department rank structure[edit]

The MSP uses a paramilitary ranking system, as follows (from highest to lowest rankings):

Title Insignia
Colonel Gold-vector.svg
Lieutenant Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
Captain insignia gold.svg
First Lieutenant
US-O2 insignia.svg
US-O1 insignia.svg


The demographics of the Michigan State Police force:[12]

  • Male: 85%
  • Female: 15%
  • White: 84%
  • African-American/Black: 11%
  • Hispanic: 3%
  • Native American: 2%

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (NST-EST2009-01)". Census.gov. 2009-01-07. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved 2010-11-12. 
  2. ^ a b http://msprecruits.wordpress.com/about/
  3. ^ "Contact MSP." Michigan State Police. Retrieved on October 29, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "State Police celebrates 100th Anniversary". Fox17. April 19, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "A Brief Administrative History of the Michigan Department of the State Police" (PDF). Michigan State Police website. State of Michigan. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Kisonas, Ray (October 28, 2017). "State police crucial to Monroe County's safety for century". Monroe News. GateHouse Media. Retrieved October 30, 2017. 
  7. ^ State Police Announce New Regionalized Posts; 29 Locations Will Serve the Public Michigan State Police October 3, 2011
  8. ^ 2010 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor Ford.com
  9. ^ "Michigan Vehicle Code (excerpt)". Michigan Compiled Laws. Legislative Council, State of Michigan. Retrieved 2009-03-23. Sec. 257.602a(1). A driver of a motor vehicle who is given by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren a visual or audible signal by a police or conservation officer, acting in the lawful performance of his or her duty, directing the driver to bring his or her motor vehicle to a stop shall not willfully fail to obey that direction by increasing the speed of the motor vehicle, extinguishing the lights of the motor vehicle, or otherwise attempting to flee or elude the officer. This subsection does not apply unless the police or conservation officer giving the signal is in uniform and the officer's vehicle is identified as an official police or department of natural resources vehicle. 
  10. ^ MSP Goes LED: Traditional Patrol Light Receives Modern Upgrade Michigan State Police
  11. ^ Police Vehicle Evaluation Michigan State Police
  12. ^ Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics, 2000: Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers Archived September 27, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]