New Hampshire State Police

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New Hampshire State Police
New Hampshire State Police.jpg
Abbreviation NHSP
Agency overview
Formed June 29, 1937; 81 years ago (1937-06-29)
Employees 411 (as of 2004) [1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction New Hampshire, USA
NH - State Police Troops.png
New Hampshire State Police Troops
Size 9,350 square miles (24,200 km2)
Population 1,316,470 (2010 Census)[2]
Headquarters Concord, New Hampshire

Troopers 350 (as of 2008) [3]
Civilians 122 (as of 2004) [4]
Agency executive
  • Colonel Christopher Wagner, Director
Parent agency New Hampshire Department of Safety
Child agency
  • New Hampshire Hospital Security
Stations Troop
Airbases 7
NH State Police site

The New Hampshire State Police is a state police agency within the Department of Safety of the U.S. state of New Hampshire. Police employees of the State Police are ex officio constables and have the primary role of patrolling the state highways, enforcing the laws and regulations of the highway and motor vehicles, and regulations relating to the transportation of hazardous materials. The jurisdiction of the State Police is within the State of New Hampshire state lines.

The State Police utilizes an APCO Project-25 Digital Radio System. Some of the State Police dispatch centers provide primary dispatch for some communities in the state.


New Hampshire RSA 106-B:15 sets out when a State Police trooper may act within a town or city having more than 3,000 people:

  • when he or she witnesses a crime
  • is in pursuit of a law violator or suspected violator
  • in search of a person wanted for a crime committed outside its limits
  • in search of a witness of such crime
  • when traveling through such town or city
  • when acting as an agent of the director of motor vehicles enforcing rules pertaining to driver licenses, registrations and the inspection of motor vehicles
  • when requested to act by an official of another law enforcement agency
  • when ordered by the governor

Troop barracks[edit]

Troop A: Epping

Troop B: Bedford

Troop C: Keene

Troop D: Concord

Troop E: Tamworth

Troop F: Twin Mountain

Troop G: Concord (formerly the New Hampshire Highway Patrol)

  • Statewide
  • Commercial vehicle/hazmat enforcement
  • DMV-specific missions relating to inspections, licenses, pupil transportation, registrations, auto dealers, and more
  • Overlap coverage and provide extra troopers to other Troop Stations as needed


On July 9, 1869, Governor Stearns was presented with a handwritten piece of legislation that would eventually lead to the formation of the New Hampshire State Police.

The legislation, entitled "An Act to Create a State Police in Certain Cases," outlined just what would constitute the proposed State Police. During this historical period, the various local law enforcement authorities chose not to promote compliance with the liquor laws. Therefore, one of the primary functions of the proposed legislation was the enforcement of these "anti-drinking" laws by the State Police.

The proposed legislation failed to achieve the needed backing of two-thirds of the male voters in New Hampshire. This setback did not diminish the interest and support of a large portion of the population of New Hampshire to have a State Police. The interest in such an organization was responsible for the formation of a State Police Commission. The "Report of State Police Commission to the Legislature" was presented to the January 1931 session of the legislature.

It formulated a comprehensive justification for the necessity of establishing a "State Police" and noted that "… today, with the development of a network of improved highways and the universal use of the automobile, a problem of law enforcement and criminal apprehension has been created for which the established system of local protection had proved inadequate." The Commission also suggested that the need for criminal investigators become a reality and recommended the creation of a State Detective Bureau. Up to that point in time, most State (and County) criminal investigations were performed by private detective agencies. A final recommendation by the State Police Commission was concerned directly with the establishment of a Bureau of Records and Identification within the Department of State Police. In reference to this, criminal statistics, fingerprint taking and other methods of identification would be undertaken. The Bureau would also maintain records of revolver purchases and revolver permits issued within the State.

Bill No. 254, entitled "An Act Creating A Department of State Police" did not easily pass through the legislative process and found itself subjected to many amendments, readings and voting sessions. Ultimately, on June 29, 1937, the New Hampshire State Police was created and subsequently became a statutory reality as Chapter 134 of the Laws of New Hampshire. According to this statute, the law became effective July 1, 1937. The New Hampshire State Police became the 15th organization of its type in the United States.

During the first year of 1937, the New Hampshire State Police established its headquarters in the State House. At that time, the initial ranks were composed of individuals who had been members of the uniformed branch of the New Hampshire Motor Vehicle Department and criminal investigators then employed through the State Attorney General’s office. The first Superintendent of the Department of State Police was George Colbath, the Sheriff of Coos County.

During 1937 the complement of troopers reached an authorized forty-eight men. These men would serve as the benchmark to what has become a tradition of law enforcement service reaching national acclamation.[citation needed]

Harley Davidson motorcycles and a few Chevrolet sedans were the primary modes of transportation utilized by the early troopers. There were five Troops for uniformed operations, and General Headquarters included administration, criminal identification, traffic, and teletype bureaus.

In 1962, the New Hampshire State Police became a division of the newly developed New Hampshire Department of Safety.

Since its inception, the New Hampshire Division of State Police has experienced constant growth and expansion, absorbing smaller law enforcement groups such as the Gaming Enforcement unit and the State Hospital Security, incorporating the 55 police officers of the Division of Enforcement in 1996. In 2008 the eighty officers of the New Hampshire Highway Patrol of the Division of Motor Vehicles were merged into State Police.[5] This latest merger has swelled the NH State Police to approximately 380 troopers.[6]

Colonel Christopher J. Wagner was sworn in on October 10, 2016 as the new Director of the Division of State Police.


The NH state police use Ford Police Interceptors, but mostly now have switched to the Dodge Charger. All patrol cars use a very distinct color combination of copper extending to the beltline and hood of the vehicle over a forest green base, along with a large chevron on each side. They also use unmarked versions of the above cars. Special units such as commercial enforcement use a version of the police Chevy Tahoe. During the summer months, motorcycles are used for patrols when weather permits. The bikes have the same copper and green color scheme as their four-wheeled counterparts.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ USDOJ Statistics Archived November 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ 2010 Census Population
  3. ^ Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2008
  4. ^ USDOJ Statistics Archived November 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Council OKs highway patrol, state police merger". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
  6. ^ History - Division of State Police, NH DOS

External links[edit]