Montana Highway Patrol
|Montana Highway Patrol|
Patch of the Montana Highway Patrol
|Employees||274 (as of 2004) |
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Operations jurisdiction*||State of Montana, USA|
|Montana Highway Patrol Districts|
|Size||147,165 square miles (381,160 km2)|
|Population||998,199 (July 2011 estimate)|
|Civilians||68 (as of 2004) |
|Agency executive||Colonel Tom Butler, Chief Administrator|
|Parent agency||Montana Department of Justice|
|Stations||8 District and 1 Head Quarters|
|Montana Highway Patrol site|
|* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.|
The Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) is the highway patrol agency for the U.S. state of Montana, which has jurisdiction anywhere in the state over Montana Traffic law. It was created to protect the lives, property and constitutional rights of people in Montana.
The Montana Highway Patrol was founded in 1935 after Montana led the nation with a 74% increase in highway fatalities. Twenty-four recruits taken from an application pool of over 1500 were selected to attend the first Highway Patrol Recruit Academy, and on May 1, 1935 those recruits took to the highways. Though authorized to enforce the eleven traffic laws in existence at that time, the Montana Highway Patrol's main focus was to educate and assist the public.
In 1988, they became the first state highway patrol in the nation to become nationally accredited. The accreditation process took three years to complete and was considered a critical element in enhancing the professionalism of the Montana Highway Patrol.
The Montana Highway Patrol is divided into eight districts.
The Patrol's 243 troopers cover great distances to police Montana's highways, assist other law enforcement agencies and help motorists in need. Each year, the men and women of the Patrol:
- drive more than 5.5 million miles
- respond to over 70,000 calls for service
- issue more than 85,000 arrest tickets and more than 100,000 warning tickets
The Highway Patrol's mission is to safeguard the lives and property of the people using the highway traffic system of Montana through education, service, enforcement, and interagency cooperation.
The Montana Highway Patrol uses a variety of lethal and non-lethal weapons, the weapons that are in use by the department are as follows:
- .357 SIG Sauer P229R
- Remington Model 870
- Colt AR-15 and Rock River Arms M-4 Carbine style AR-15 MHP also have Military Surplus M-14 Rifles.
- OC (Oleoresin capsicum) Spray
- ASP Baton
- Taser X2
There are eight District offices:
District I (Missoula) – Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli and Sanders Counties
District II (Great Falls) – Cascade, Fergus, Golden Valley, Judith Basin, Musselshell, Petroleum, Teton and Wheatland Counties
District III (Butte) – Beaverhead, Deer Lodge, Granite, Jefferson, Lewis & Clark, Madison, Powell and Silver Bow Counties
District IV (Billings) – Big Horn, Carbon, Stillwater, Sweet Grass and Yellowstone Counties
District V (Glendive) – Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, Treasure, Valley and Wibaux Counties
District VI (Kalispell) – Flathead, Lake and Lincoln Counties
District VII (Bozeman) – Broadwater, Gallatin, Madison, Meagher and Park Counties
District VIII (Havre) – Blaine, Chouteau, Glacier, Hill, Liberty, Phillips, Pondera and Toole Counties
Since the establishment of the Montana Highway Patrol, eight officers have died while on duty.