state police

Encyclopedia Article


A police force maintained by a U.S. state and responsible for the territoriality of that particular state. The state police force has a higher jurisdiction than the subsidiary forces such as the county, city, or tribal nation police. State police jurisdiction includes highway safety, the safety and security of the state capitol and associated personal, and assistance during multijurisdictional investigations concerning regional crimes or emergencies. However, state police may at times be answerable to a sheriff or chief of police from a county, city, or tribal force, especially in terms of public safety, statewide transportation issues, and protection of natural resources.

Photo Credit: 

"New Mexico State Police Captain Kenneth K. Miller, circa 1961," photograph, New Mexico Magazine (HP.2007.20.1031). Palace of the Governors Photo Archive, New Mexico History Museum.

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