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  1. #1
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    Apr 2011
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    State Police vs Local Police

    Anyone have any insights on one versus another? It seems that state police spends much time on highway patrol? When does state have jurisdiction over a local investigation?

    Does local tend to have more interaction with the public?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasmain View Post
    Anyone have any insights on one versus another? It seems that state police spends much time on highway patrol? When does state have jurisdiction over a local investigation?

    Does local tend to have more interaction with the public?
    As a State Trooper told me, "see this state patch ? anything in this patch"

    However day to day a city police will probably more contacts with public, versus a roadside stop scenario as the majority

  3. #3
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    No easy answer here. It varies state to state and even to regions within the state. I will use NY as an example. A NYS Trooper assigned to Troop T will primarily spend his time enforcing the law on and around the NYS Thruway system. In many other regions upstate, a Trooper may spend his entire shift answering 911 calls or on patrol. Likewise a trooper assigned to NYC (yes, there are some) will be working almost exclusively in support of ongoing task forces or investigations.
    A very, very broad question that is difficult to give a definite answer to.
    "There is no second place winner"-- Bill Jordan

  4. #4
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    Thanks..that's what I figured. One would interact with the public more on the city level. I guess that could be good or bad. I know one former state trooper who quit because of the boredom of watching the card go by on the highway.

    However, can't most state police officers move on to a specialized unit after a few years, or is the bulk of state police work highway patrol for most of an officer's career?

  5. #5
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    Jim

    I appreciate the answer. I understand the question was broad in nature, but thanks for taking you best stab at it.

  6. #6
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    One thing that you need to keep in mind [unless you're a legacy, and I doubt you are because if you were, you wouldn't have to post here] is that you have to pay your dues first, doing the basic, primary function of the agency. Don't expect any special assignments or designations for at least five years, if not longer.
    As for boredom, that comes with the job. It's the 1% of sheer terror that makes up for the other 99%.
    ESFLEA
    Life is what happens while you're planning other things.

  7. #7
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    There are 49 variations out there (Hawaii does not have a State police agency). The big division is between State Patrols which are generally highway safety and in States which have one or more separate State investigative agencies. State Police will provide both patrol and investigative services in one organization. State patrols often have specialized assignments such as SWAT, dignitary protection or criminal interdiction units but are overwhelmingly about the highway. State police have more functions because of the investigative side. Apart from that you have to look at specific agencies. Some state police agencies provide full service patrol in rural communities, as well as the highway patrolling and investigative services. You would have to go through their webpages to see some of the differences and the scope of assignments might well relate to where you were stationed in the State.
    ret.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by esflea View Post
    One thing that you need to keep in mind [unless you're a legacy, and I doubt you are because if you were, you wouldn't have to post here] is that you have to pay your dues first, doing the basic, primary function of the agency. Don't expect any special assignments or designations for at least five years, if not longer.
    As for boredom, that comes with the job. It's the 1% of sheer terror that makes up for the other 99%.
    Would you say this is true for both state and local agencies? I have a friend on the NYPD who was only in uniform for 2.5 years. I know he is a detective 3rd grade now. I am not certain if he became detective after the 2.5 years or was merely an officer who was on an assignment that did not require a uniform.

    But, I assume you mean that at least at the state level one will most likely be patrolling the highways for 5 years or so?

  9. #9
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    Thanks. I am currently looking at several agencies, both state and local. I understand that I would have to pay my dues either way, and I would have it any other way.

    I was just wondering if it may be preferable to spend those years either on foor patrol (or driving in a patrol car) in a city or on the shoulder of a highway on my own. I assume that at the local level there may be more interaction with fellow officers as well as interacting with the public.

    Further, and I know this may vary from state to state, but does the state police generally take over a local investigation when the suspects involved are known or to have crossed county lines?

    Thanks.

    PS

    Any reason why Hawaii has no state police?

  10. #10
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    I guess all of these things depend on individual taste. A federal agent friend of mine told that he meet an FBI SA who used to be a state trooper but wanted to go back to being a state trooper!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasmain View Post
    I guess all of these things depend on individual taste. A federal agent friend of mine told that he meet an [INSERT BASICALLY ANY FEDERAL AGENCY] SA who used to be a state trooper but wanted to go back to being a state trooper!
    fixed it for you

  12. #12
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    Got ya...thanks, satpak77...I'll be more discreet next time.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasmain View Post
    Would you say this is true for both state and local agencies? I have a friend on the NYPD who was only in uniform for 2.5 years. I know he is a detective 3rd grade now. I am not certain if he became detective after the 2.5 years or was merely an officer who was on an assignment that did not require a uniform.

    But, I assume you mean that at least at the state level one will most likely be patrolling the highways for 5 years or so?
    Was your friend a legacy? Someone with a hook or a rabbi?
    Did he do something significant that earned him/her a gold badge? The cop who wrote the traffic ticket that led to David Berkowitz's arrest got a detective badge out of that.
    Or did your friend have a rather unique skill? I went through the Academy with a guy who was one of the first Fukinese [spelling?] speakers on the job. At that time, NYC was starting to experience problems with immigrants from the Fujian province. His first week in the old Neighborhood Stabilization Unit, two deputy inspectors pulled up to him on his post, put him in the back of their car, and drove him to the command. He thought he was in deep trouble, but instead, he was put in plain clothes and assigned to a specialized unit. So he spent less than five days in uniform. But, again, he was really special.
    Can't speak much about State, but after 25 years in LE, pretty much all agencies are run the same way when you get down to the nitty gritty. If someone in power has an affinity for you, you're golden. If someone in power hates your guts, you could be Popeye Doyle and you'll be treated like crap for your whole career.
    ESFLEA
    Life is what happens while you're planning other things.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by esflea View Post
    Was your friend a legacy? Someone with a hook or a rabbi?
    Did he do something significant that earned him/her a gold badge? The cop who wrote the traffic ticket that led to David Berkowitz's arrest got a detective badge out of that.
    Or did your friend have a rather unique skill? I went through the Academy with a guy who was one of the first Fukinese [spelling?] speakers on the job. At that time, NYC was starting to experience problems with immigrants from the Fujian province. His first week in the old Neighborhood Stabilization Unit, two deputy inspectors pulled up to him on his post, put him in the back of their car, and drove him to the command. He thought he was in deep trouble, but instead, he was put in plain clothes and assigned to a specialized unit. So he spent less than five days in uniform. But, again, he was really special.
    Can't speak much about State, but after 25 years in LE, pretty much all agencies are run the same way when you get down to the nitty gritty. If someone in power has an affinity for you, you're golden. If someone in power hates your guts, you could be Popeye Doyle and you'll be treated like crap for your whole career.
    As far as I know, my friend was not a leagacy and he did not have connections. I know that he is pretty bright and has a bachelor's degree. I assume most cops have a BA despite the requirements for most departments being a high school diploma or 2 years of college. Apart from that, I don't know. Perhaps, he got lucky on same case? While we are on it, how long does it typically take to get the gold shield? I know that it's based on merit rather than test. Is it usually harder to become a DT than to make SGT?

  15. #15
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    Chasmain, ATF SAC nailed it. I'll only add a couple of things. There are not as many specialized unit opportunities, in most state police/highway/patrol organizations in the U.S., as there are in city/county police departments & sheriff's offices. No - the state police or highway patrol doesn't come in and "take over" a case in a local department's jurisdiction. A small department might REQUEST the state police assist or take the primary role in a major felony investigation due to limited resources; but the "taking over" by state police is only in the movies. Making SGT and/or getting into specialized units in most U.S. police agencies of any significant size takes 3-5 years before eligibility. I highly recommend that you focus on a progressive, decent sized (primary 9-1-1 response) city or county police department or county sheriff's office. THEN look at being a Trooper if that is your ultimate desire. Unless you go to agencies like California Highway Patrol, Massachusetts State Police or New Jersey State Police, where there is a huge percentage of "regular policing" due to the rural make-up and unincorporated county area, you just will not quickly gain the experience of the dark side of society as a law enforcement officer. I understand one's possible desire to only work traffic as a Trooper; however, as ESFLEA stated - one must pay their dues. I think the most important thing about the "dues paying/time in the trenches thing" is the experience gained in order to survive while working the street. If you do a good job, learn from your veteran police peers, make solid cases, show up for court, respect and impress the prosecutors and judges, you'll have every specialized unit boss begging for you. Mine was Motors, then I became the boss; and I looked for motivated rookies like I just decribed. Then I got the hell off the street and went federal. And if you only remember one thing from this post, remember this: Don't hold your flashlight in your gun hand! Best of luck.
    Stay safe!

    FedAgent


 

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