New Mexico State Police

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New Mexico State Police
New Mexico State Police.jpg
Agency overview
FormedFebruary 15, 1905; 114 years ago (1905-02-15)
Preceding agencies
  • New Mexico Mounted Police (1905-1921)
  • New Mexico Motor Patrol (1933-1935)
Employees1,000 (as of 2004) [1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionNew Mexico, United States
Size121,665 square miles (315,110 km2)
Population1,969,915 (2007 est.)[2]
Legal jurisdictionNew Mexico
General nature
HeadquartersSanta Fe, New Mexico

State Police Officers605 (as of 2010) [3]
Civilians490 (as of 2010) [3]
Agency executive
  • Pete N. Kassetas[4], Chief
Parent agencyNew Mexico Department of Public Safety
NMSP Website

The New Mexico State Police is the state police agency for New Mexico, which has jurisdiction anywhere in the state. It was created to protect the lives, property and constitutional rights of people in New Mexico. The State Police is a division within the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.


World War I[edit]

During World War I, national security became a great concern, particularly in border states like New Mexico. The last time American soil was invaded by a foreign force was in 1916, when Mexican Revolution General Francisco "Pancho" Villa sacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico. The mounted police were reactivated and kept the border with Mexico secure, as well as provided general law enforcement services. For the next several years, the mounted police gained quite a reputation as an effective and professional police force, much to the disdain of the state's lawbreakers, who often had strong political ties in Santa Fe. Finally, on February 15, 1921 - almost sixteen years after its inception - the New Mexico Mounted Police was abolished. In 1937, it was resurrected once again as a volunteer police organization. In 1941, New Mexico Governor John Miles made the volunteer police organization an official state law enforcement agency as it stands today called the New Mexico Mounted Patrol.

New Mexico Motor Patrol[edit]

The advent of the automobile again highlighted the need for a statewide law enforcement agency. No other police force had jurisdictional authority to enforce laws throughout the state. In 1933, the New Mexico Motor Patrol was established, primarily to enforce traffic laws. The patrol had a civilian oversight board consisting of three members: Governor Arthur Seligman, Attorney General E.K. Neumann, and Highway Engineer Glenn D. Macy. The state of Texas had recently created their own motor patrol, and they detailed Captain Homer Garrison to conduct the first New Mexico Motor Patrol recruit school at St. Michael's College in Santa Fe. One hundred thirty-five men applied for the school; eighteen were selected to attend; and ten were finally chosen and commissioned as the first motor patrol officers. Each officer was issued a Harley Davidson motorcycle with siren, red light, and other accessories. One of the ten graduates, Earl Irish, was appointed as the Chief and was given a monthly salary of $150; Patrolmen made $125 monthly. Officers were allowed $10 per month to maintain their uniforms.

The Motor Patrol proved to be a great success and within a few months of its existence, had generated more than enough revenue to fund itself. A radio broadcasting system was set up that depended on a commercial radio station, KOB, in Albuquerque. Every week, officers would wire law enforcement matters to be disseminated to the chief in Santa Fe, who would see that KOB broadcast the information twice each day, except Sunday. In this way, motor patrol officers communicated information to each other such as descriptions of wanted suspects and stolen goods.

New Mexico State Police[edit]

By 1935, the need to expand the authority and responsibility of the motor patrol was widely recognized. The Twelfth State Legislature changed the name of the organization to the New Mexico State Police, and gave its officers full police powers to enforce all laws of the state and complete statewide jurisdiction. The authorized strength was raised to 30 officers; the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, and captain were added; and salaries were increased. The uniform adopted in 1936 is still in use today, with the exception of the riding breeches and boots favored by motorcycle officers. Seven Chevrolet sedans were added to the department's fleet and a new headquarters building was designed and constructed at a cost of $19,000

==Equipment The service pistol of the NMSP was the Smith & Wesson M&P .357 until 2013 when they converted to the Smith & Wesson M&P in 9mm.[5]


The New Mexico State Police is under the command of the Chief of the State Police. The Chief is appointed by the Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, with the approval of the New Mexico State Senate. The Chief is assisted by two Deputy Chiefs. The Chief and Deputy Chiefs supervise a command staff of five Police Majors who serve as the Bureau Commanders of the State Police.

The Chief serves as the Deputy Secretary of Operations for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, the Department's third highest-ranking member.

Rank structure[edit]

Title Insignia
4 Gold Stars.svg
Deputy Chief
3 Gold Stars.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
Captain insignia gold.svg
US-O1 insignia.svg
South Carolina Highway Patrol Sergeant Rank Chevrons.svg
Senior Officer


NMSP headquarters is located at 4491 Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe, NM.


For operational purposes, the State Police divide New Mexico into 12 distinct Districts. Each district has a main office with a commanding officer who oversees day-to-day operations.

  • District 1, Santa Fe
  • District 2, Las Vegas
  • District 3, Roswell
  • District 4, Las Cruces
  • District 5, Albuquerque
  • District 6, Gallup
  • District 7, Española
  • District 8, Alamogordo
  • District 9, Clovis
  • District 10, Farmington
  • District 11, Socorro
  • District 12, Deming

Senate Bill 95 DPS Reorganization Bill[edit]

On July 1st, 2015 the Motor Transportation Police Division (MTD) and the Special Investigation Division (SID) were merged within the State Police Division per the legislative action. Officers and Agents are now commissioned as New Mexico State Police officers and were removed from the state's employee classified system into the exempt system. The State Police is currently in the process to figure the most efficient and fiscally responsible way to implement uniform, vehicle and policy changes for all commissioned officers. As of November 2015, the decision to change all DPS vehicles and uniforms to match the current State Police identity was issued by the chief. Larger districts such as Albuquerque and Las Cruces will see cars, uniforms and badges issued out to the field first.

As of early 2017 all uniforms, badges and most vehicles (older higher mileage units being phased out) have been replaced with the traditional New Mexico State Police identity.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ USDOJ Statistics Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ 2007 Population Estimates Archived 2008-09-18 at the Library of Congress Web Archives
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2010-09-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Smith & Wesson advertisement in Sept. 2010 issue of Tactical Weapons magazine.

External links[edit]