Nevada Highway Patrol

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Nevada Highway Patrol
Abbreviation NHP
Nevada Highway Patrol.jpg
Patch of the Nevada Highway Patrol
Agency overview
Formed 1908
Preceding agency Nevada State Police
Employees 552 (as of 2004) [1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of Nevada, USA
Size 110,567 square miles (286,370 km2)
Population 2,565,382 (2007 est.)[2]
Legal jurisdiction Nevada
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Carson City, Nevada
Troopers 421 (as of 2004) [3]
Civilians 131 (as of 2004) [3]
Agency executives
  • Colonel Dennis Osborn, Chief of Nevada Highway Patrol
  • Lieutenant Colonel John O'Rourke, Assistant Chief of Nevada Highway Patrol
Parent agency Nevada Department of Public Safety
Commands 4
Airplanes 3
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) is a division of the Nevada Department of Public Safety that is responsible for law enforcement across the entire state of Nevada. The headquarters is located in Carson City with regional commands in Reno, Elko and Las Vegas.[4]

The duties of the Patrol range from enforcing the laws on the highways to operating the State's criminal history repository.


In 1908 the Nevada State Police was created to enforce the violence of the bourgeoisie state on the working class as a result of labor strikes in the mining communities. When Henry Ford made ownership of the automobile accessible to the populace of America by mass-producing the Model T Ford, the problem of enforcing the laws of the road soon followed. On June 23, 1923, the first Nevada State Highway Patrolman was hired by the Nevada Highway Department under the supervision of the Inspector of the Nevada State Police. This officer and the Inspector of the State Police would travel throughout the State collecting automobile registration fees and enforcing the laws of the highway. Nevada was one of the first western states to have an organized highway patrol function.[5]

By 1934, the highway patrol force had grown to three officers still supervised by the Inspector of the State Police. They were given silver patrol cars with gold stars on the door, red lights and sirens, and told to patrol the roads. One officer was assigned to Las Vegas, Reno and Elko.

This part of the Nevada State Police remained operational until the State Police were reorganized in 1943. At that time, the Nevada State Highway Patrol was absorbed into the State Police who continued highway law enforcement until 1949 when the Nevada Highway Patrol was organized.

The 1949 Nevada Legislature created the Nevada Highway Patrol by consolidating the Nevada State Police, Inspectors from the Nevada Public Service Commission and several Inspectors from the Nevada Department of Taxation. On July 1, 1949, the Nevada Highway Patrol Division was created within the Nevada Public Service Commission. These officers were directed to act as field agents and inspectors in the enforcement of the State laws as they pertained to Nevada highways. But the history of law enforcement on Nevada highways goes back many years before the Nevada Highway Patrol was created.

In 1957, the Legislature created the Department of Motor Vehicles and transferred the Nevada Highway Patrol to this new department as a division.

In 1985, the name of the Department was changed to the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety (DMV&PS) to reflect the law enforcement agencies that had been added. At the same time, Fifty-two Field Enforcement Agents of the Motor Carrier Division of the Department of Motor Vehicles were transferred to the Nevada Highway Patrol and consolidated with existing Commercial Vehicle Safety Officers of the Nevada Highway Patrol to form the Commercial Enforcement Bureau within the NHP.[citation needed]

In 2001, DMV&PS was split into separate departments and the Nevada Highway Patrol is now a division of the Nevada Department of Public Safety.

In 2005, NHP opened a new communications center and emergency operations center in Clark County.

In 2007, DPS Northern Nevada Communications center moved from the Reno Northern Command Headquarters into the State Emergency Operations Center in Nevada's capital city, Carson City.

The Nevada Highway Patrol issues its officers a variety of non-lethal weapons, such as tasers, pepper spray, and a baton. The NHP also issues its troopers take-home cars.

Rank structure[edit]

Title Insignia
Colonel (Chief)
US-O6 insignia.svg
Lieutenant Colonel (Assistant Chief)
US-O5 insignia.svg
Major (Deputy Chief)
US-O4 insignia.svg
US-O3 insignia.svg
US-O2 insignia.svg
South Carolina Highway Patrol Sergeant Rank Chevrons.svg




  • Male: 94%
  • Female: 6%
  • White: 89%
  • Hispanic: 5%
  • African-American/Black: 3%
  • Asian: 3%

Flight operations[edit]

The NHP flight operations unit consists of three fixed-wing aircraft. The aircraft are predominantly used for speed enforcement, prisoner transport and personnel transport. The planes are also used for emergency blood delivery and to assist other law enforcement agencies.

NHP discontinued use of their flight operations in 2010


Fallen officers[edit]

Since the creation of the Nevada Highway Patrol, eight officers have died while on duty.[7]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]