Pennsylvania State Police
The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) is the state police agency of Pennsylvania, responsible for statewide law enforcement. The Pennsylvania State Police is a full-service law enforcement agency which handles both traffic and criminal law enforcement. The Pennsylvania State Police was founded in 1905 by order of Governor Samuel Pennypacker, by signing Senate Bill 278 on May 2, 1905. The bill was signed in response to the Great Anthracite Strike of 1902. Leading up to the Anthracite Strike, private police forces (the coal and iron police) were used by mine and mill owners to stop worker strikes. The inability or refusal of local police or sheriffs' offices to enforce the law, directly influenced the signing of Bill 278. The Anthracite Strike lasted from May 15 to October 23, 1902 and ended with the help of Theodore Roosevelt, the sitting president at the time. Roosevelt was outspoken in his admiration for the Pennsylvania State Police, having this to say, "The Pennsylvania State Police are a spirited force not to be bought, bent, confused, alarmed or exhausted", and "I feel so strongly about them that the mere fact a man is honorably discharged from this force would make me at once, and without hesitation, employ him for any purpose needing courage, prowess, good judgment, loyalty, and entire trustworthiness."
PSP enlisted members are referred to as "Troopers". Up until 1963, married men were not allowed to apply to the state police, and active troopers had to seek permission from their superior officer to get married. As of 2018, the state police has approximately 4,255 state troopers, 5% of them being women, and more than 1,850 civilian support staff.
The current State Police commissioner is Colonel Robert Evanchick. Colonel Evanchick replaced Colonel Tyree Blocker, who retired from service in 2018. Colonel Blocker replaced Marcus Brown, who failed to secure confirmation by the state's legislature. After resigning, former Colonel Brown was named to Governor Wolf's state office of Homeland Security as the new director.
Pennsylvania State Police Academy
In 1924, a State Police training academy was built in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Cocoa Avenue. The site was located at the Hershey Inn and it remained at this location until 1960 when it was moved to 175 Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, Pennsylvania. The current location is fitted with kennels, stables and a range, among other facilities, and is located only a few miles from the original site. Once accepted into the Pennsylvania State Police Academy cadets endure a rigorous 27-week training period. Cadets live at the academy in barracks style quarters and are only permitted to go home on designated weekends. Cadets who fail to complete physical training in required times or who show any other type of deficiencies may be restricted from going home. While attending training, cadets are put on an 18-month probationary period and can be dismissed at any point in their training by the commissioner under any form of incompetence, inefficiency, or general violation of rules and regulations. The current drop out rate for new recruits in the academy is approximately 20% per class.
Pennsylvania State Police Troops
Troop A, Area II
- Cambria, Indiana, Somerset, Westmoreland Counties; Troop HQ - Greensburg
Troop B, Area I
- Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington Counties; Troop HQ - Washington
Troop C, Area I
- Clarion, Clearfield, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean Counties; Troop HQ - Punxsutawney
Troop D, Area I
- Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Mercer Counties; Troop HQ - Butler
Troop E, Area I
- Crawford, Erie, Venango, Warren Counties; Troop HQ - Lawrence Park
Troop F, Area III
- Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Tioga,
Union Counties; Troop HQ - Montoursville
Troop G, Area II
- Bedford, Blair, Centre, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin Counties; Troop HQ - Hollidaysburg
Troop H, Area II
- Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, and Perry Counties; Troop and *Department HQ - Harrisburg
Troop J, Area IV
- Chester, York and Lancaster Counties; Troop HQ - Lancaster
Troop K, Area IV
- Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia Counties; Troop HQ - Philadelphia
Troop L, Area IV
- Berks, Lebanon, Schuylkill Counties; Troop HQ - Reading
Troop M, Area IV
- Bucks, Lehigh, Northampton Counties; Troop HQ - Bethlehem
Troop N, Area III
- Carbon, Columbia, Lower Luzerne, Monroe Counties; Troop HQ - Hazleton
Troop P, Area III
- Bradford, Upper Luzerne, Sullivan, Wyoming Counties; Troop HQ - Wyoming
Troop R, Area III
- Lackawanna, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne Counties; Troop HQ - Dunmore
- Turnpike; Troop HQ - Penna. Turnpike Commission HQ, Highspire
Barracks Listing by County
PSP Bureaus & Offices
The PSP also has many bureaus and subdivisions within the organization. This is by no means a complete list, merely a sampling of the breakdown.
- Bureau of Criminal Investigation
- Bureau of Emergency and Special Operations
- Bureau of Forensic Services
- Bureau of Human Resources
- Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement
- Bureau of Records and Identification
- Bureau of Patrol
- Bureau of Integrity and Professional Standards
- Bureau of Communications and Information Services
- Bureau of Staff Services
- Bureau of Research & Development
- Bureau of Training & Education
- Bureau of Gaming Enforcement
- Commonwealth Law Enforcement Assistance Network - C.L.E.A.N.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Office
- Public Information Office
- Recruitment and Special Services Office
- Member Assistance Office
- Department Discipline Office
- Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission (MPOETC)
- Domestic Security Office
- Criminal Investigation Unit
- Major Case Teams
- Organized Crime
- Intelligence Units
- Criminal Profilers
- Unsolved Crimes
- Fugitive Units
- Marine Unit
- Motorcycle Units
- K-9 Units
- Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Specialists
- Vehicle Fraud Investigation
- Mounted Units
- Commercial Vehicle Enforcement
- Auto Theft Units
- Firearms Instructors
- Public Information Officers
- Recruiting Unit
- Community Service Officer
- Forensic Services Unit
- Gaming Enforcement
- Computer Crimes
- PA Crime Stoppers
- PA Criminal Intelligence Center
- Fire Marshals
- DNA Database
- Polygraph Unit
- Fingerprint Database
- Megan's Law Unit
- DUI Patrols
- Patrol Unit
- PA Instant Check System
- Airport Interdiction
- Ballistics Section
- Clandestine Lab Units
- Chemistry Labs
- CLEAN Systems
- State Police Crime Laboratories
- Explosives/Bomb Section
- Academy Instructors
- Drug Recognition Experts
- Criminal Interdiction (S.H.E.I.L.D)
- Aerial Observers
- Special Emergency Response Teams (SERT), to include Tactical Units and Negotiations Units
- White: 82%
- African American/Black: 8%
- Hispanic: 5%
- Asian: <1%
- Native American <1%
Uniform and rank structure
The uniform worn by PSP troopers is unique within Pennsylvania. In January 1988, the State Police changed the color of its uniforms. PSP troopers wore dark grey uniforms that confused them with some municipal police departments and Pennsylvania State Constables. By state law, no municipal (city, borough, or township) police department can wear the same exact uniform or color configuration as that of the PSP.
Uniform – troopers to sergeants
The current PSP uniform for troopers, corporals, and sergeants consists of a light gray uniform shirt with black shoulder epaulets. The PSP shoulder patch is worn on both sleeves of all uniform items. The PSP members are issued long sleeve shirts for the winter and short sleeve shirts for summer. However, PSP requires the black necktie to be worn year round. The uniform shirt consist of the trooper's nameplate over the right pocket and any awards the trooper has earned over the left pocket. The PSP is one of only five state police forces that do not wear a badge on their uniform shirts.[self-published source?] The original PSP uniform was modeled after the Constabulary forces in Europe and they did not have badges. It is history and tradition for troopers today to carry their badges in a wallet along with their photo ID card. The uniform trousers are a darker gray color with a 1 inch wide black stripe on the leg. PSP shoes and/or boots are also black in color.
The PSP duty belt is Gould & Goodrich plain black leather. The duty holster is the level-2 model. The ammo pouch and handcuff case have hidden snap closure. The OC pepper spray and ASP baton holders are open top. The duty belt is held together with the trousers belt using four silver snap belt keepers.
The PSP trademark item is the campaign style hat with the chin strap worn in the front under the chin on the winter campaign hat (as opposed to most agencies that wear the strap of the campaign hat behind the head). The hat contains a blackened commonwealth coat of arms. It is required to be worn whenever the trooper is outdoors. It is made of dark gray felt (for wintertime wear) or light gray straw (for summertime wear). The strap of the summer hat is worn behind the head.
Also, as an optional part of the winter uniform, troopers may wear a black "woolly-pully" commando sweater over their uniform shirts, along with a vinyl/fur winter hat.
The Class "A" Ceremonial Unit troopers wear a "full dress" uniform which is a charcoal gray military-style dress coat with black buttons. It is worn with matching charcoal gray military-style riding breeches and black high-rider leather boots. The duty belt is worn with the shoulder strap. This uniform is modeled after the original PSP history uniform.
Uniform – lieutenants to colonels
The uniforms for PSP Lieutenants, Captains, Majors, Lieutenant Colonels, and the Colonel are identical to that of the lower ranks, except for the following:
- A gold-colored commonwealth coat of arms on the left collar and the officer's rank on the right collar.
- Black stripes on trousers has a gold stripe within it of increasing width with higher rank.
- The campaign hat is replaced with a military officer's style service cap with a gold-colored commonwealth seal. Captains and above have the distinctive "Scrambled Eggs" on the visor. Alternatively, officers may wear the campaign hat with a gold coat of arms with the duty uniform.
In addition to the minor detail changes, senior officers wear the four-button military coat for "Class A" functions. The coat has four gold-colored buttons, breast and hip pockets, and shoulder epaulets for the placement of the officer's current rank. A white shirt is worn with a black tie underneath. A system of "rank rings" are worn on each sleeve, similar to the rank-ring system used by the U.S. Navy, United States Coast Guard, and by land units of the Canadian Forces. Currently, the insignia worn by PSP senior officers are as follows:
- Lieutenant: no service stripes
- Captain: one service stripe
- Major: two service stripes
- Lt. Colonel: three service stripes
- Colonel: four service stripes
Ranks, insignia, and descriptions
The department currently operates a mixed fleet of vehicles including the new law enforcement specific Ford Taurus, Ford Explorer, Crown Victorias and Dodge Charger, which are only used by Pennsylvania Turnpike Troopers. The PSP also owns and operates numerous helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. PSP operates watercraft mainly on the Delaware River and Lake Erie.
The PSP Aviation Section consists of thirty-five trooper pilots and three full-time mechanics, using eight law enforcement specific Bell 407GX helicopters and six airplanes statewide. These aircraft are stationed in six aviation patrol units (APU).
The department adopted the SIG Sauer P227 semiautomatic pistol chambered in .45 ACP as their new service pistol. It holds 10+1 rounds. PSP submitted a solicitation for bids on May 9, 2014 for 150 such firearms for the next PSP academy cadet class to train with and keep as their issue duty sidearm. The SIG P227 (.45 ACP) replaced all of the department's Glock 21 Gen 4 (.45 ACP) pistols which were acquired in 2013. Those Glocks had replaced by trading in 4,800 of the department's Glock 37 (.45 GAP) handguns, which had replaced their Beretta 96D (.40 S&W) double-action-only (DAO) handguns back in 2007/2008.
The Pennsylvania State Police is the largest internationally accredited law enforcement agency in the world. This distinction was awarded to the Pennsylvania State Police on July 31, 1993, by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), an independent, non-profit organization based in Fairfax, Virginia.
Accreditation is a process used by professional law enforcement agencies to facilitate the creation, verification and maintenance of high-quality policies and procedures, via voluntary compliance with performance standards. CALEA's 446 standards address nine major law enforcement topics: role, responsibilities, and relationships with other agencies; organization, management, and administration; personnel structure; personnel process; operations; operational support; traffic operations; prisoner and court-related services; and auxiliary and technical services.
Members killed in the line of duty
shaded rows with "SHP" in the Notes cell denotes the officer was a member of the Pennsylvania State Highway Patrol.
Superintendents and Commissioners since 1905
The following is a chronological listings of Commissioners of the Pennsylvania State Police:
- PSP Troopers are widely recognized for wearing the strap of their winter campaign hats under their chins, a tradition that goes back to the early 1900s, which was based on British and Irish Bobbies.
- The PSP is one of only a handful of state police agencies that do not wear badges on their uniforms.
- The PSP was nationally recognized as the premiere state police agency in the early years of the 20th century. State troopers from North Carolina and Kentucky attended the training academy so they could start PSP-style state agencies in their respective states. NC trooper cadets at the academy in Raleigh and KY trooper cadets in Frankfort are frequently reminded they have a familial connection to the PSP through their training process history.
- The PSP was patterned after a military organization and PSP troopers have sometimes been referred to as "Soldiers of the Law and Order". Divisions of the force are called "troops", and officers are known as "troopers", a title usually reserved for members of the United States Cavalry, and reminiscent of the early beginnings of the department when officers patrolled on horseback. Regional headquarters, at which single troopers were once required to live, are referred to as "barracks". The original concept was that the troopers did not apply to join the PSP but "enlisted" for two-year periods, after which they could be honorably discharged or apply for reenlistment. The longstanding two-year enlistment periods were phased out in 1961.
- Married men were initially barred from becoming state troopers. After 1927, troopers were allowed to marry after they had completed their first two-year enlistment if they had approval from the police superintendent. The PSP allowed married men to enlist in 1963.
- PSP does not allow ride-alongs. Even state police cadets cannot "ride-along" prior to graduating the academy. This is done for numerous safety and liability reasons.
Trooper Michael Evans pleaded guilty in October 2000 to sexual crimes committed against six women and teenage girls while on duty. He was sentenced to between five and ten years in custody.
In September, 2007, Trooper Kevin Foley was arrested for the murder of a dentist, Dr. Yelenic, in Blairsville, Pennsylvania.
In July, 2008, Trooper Kevin Coleman was charged with protecting a prostitution ring based out of the Gables Truck Stop in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
In May 2009, Trooper Shawn Dillard was found guilty by a federal court of using his position to protect an interstate prostitution ring based out of the Gables Truck Stop in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This was the same investigation that led to the arrest of Trooper Coleman.
In early 2011, as a result of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the state police agreed to stop issuing tickets to people who swear. Press reports indicated the state police had issued as many as 700 such citations a year.
In January 2012, Lieutenant Barry Eugene Staub, the commander of the state police barracks in York was arrested for driving while drunk. He retired when charges were brought against him.
In March, 2014 Trooper Barry M Seafoss, Jr. pleaded guilty to killing a woman while driving drunk in 2012. He was sentenced to between six and 23 months confinement.
In popular culture
- H. Beam Piper's 1965 science fiction novel Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen's eponymous character begins the story as a PSP Trooper.
- An undercover PSP Trooper played by Sarah Jessica Parker co-stars with Bruce Willis playing a Pittsburgh Police River Rescue Squad officer in the 1993 movie Striking Distance.
- A PSP Trooper is played by Harland Williams in the 1994 film Dumb and Dumber.
- The PSP were featured in the CSI: NY episode "Redemption" as well as the Law & Order season 9 episode 10 titled "Hate".
- The PSP is featured in the 2004 TV film Boa vs. Python.
- Featured in the movie For Richer or Poorer.
- Stephen King's novel From a Buick 8 features Troop D in a fictional town named Statler.
- The PSP were featured in the movie Unstoppable starring Denzel Washington in which a runaway train passes through numerous townships within the state of Pennsylvania.
- Multiple PSP Troopers and the Department were featured in the Netflix series Evil Genius, which covered the murder of Brian Wells and the bank heist surrounding it.
- PSP Criminal Investigators were featured in the tv series Cold Case Files, season 1, episode 1, titled "Little Girl Lost".
- List of law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania
- List of Pennsylvania state agencies
- Pennsylvania Capitol Police
- Highway patrol
- State patrol
- State police
- ODMP memorial for Pennsylvania State Police
- Official Web Site
- Official Recruiting Web Site
- Pennsylvania State Police History
- Pennsylvania State Troopers Association
- Retired State Police Association of Pennsylvania
- Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics, 2000: Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers
- PA Troops Directory 
- "PA State Police Training Academy"
- "United States Department of Labor"
- "PA Trooper History"
- "The Greatest Strike Ever"
- "How to Become a Police Officer"