Celebrating 150 Years of State Policing 1865 - 2015
On Saturday May 16, 2015, the Massachusetts State Police proudly celebrates its 150th anniversary as the oldest state police agency in the United States.
In the 1800's the common title for police officers was constable. The Massachusetts State Police traces its origins directly through legislature to the Massachusetts State Constabulary, the first statewide police agency in the nation. The creation of the State Constabulary was signed into law on May 16, 1865 by Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrews. The establishment of a State Police Force in 1865 was unprecedented in this country, but the Massachusetts legislation creating the statewide force would eventually be adopted in various forms throughout our great nation. In fact, 49 States currently have a state policing agency, with Hawaii being the only exception as the Sherriff's Division of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety provides the statewide police services.
There are different forms of State Police Agencies across the country today. Eighteen states use a Highway Patrol, with a primary function of, in accordance with their name, patrolling the highways. Seven states use a State Patrol, with a primary role of traffic enforcement, but in most states, duties are broadened to assisting with prison riots and other large scale support within the state. Twenty-two states use the term State Police, which most often encompasses a full service police agency with a broad range of specializations. Some of the State Police Agencies do more, or in some cases less, than what is provided here as a general overview.
The current rank structure within the Massachusetts State Police begins with State Police Trainee, after appointment to the State Police Academy in New Braintree. Trainees live at the academy during the week, and most classes, referred to as Recruit Training Troops, last over four months in order to complete all the required training. Upon graduation, those that have completed the academy are sworn in as Massachusetts State Police Troopers and spend a one year period as a Probationary Trooper. The first three months of that year are spent in a period referred to as 'break in' where the new graduates ride with veterans troopers who will evaluate them and ensure they are able to utilize the training they received in the academy. Upon completion of the first year of service, the probationary period is complete, and after five years of service the title of Trooper First Class is awarded. For further advancement in the Department, troopers must take a test to obtain the rank of Sergeant, and another test for the rank of Lieutenant. Lieutenants in charge of investigative units may obtain a promotion to the rank of Detective Lieutenant. Another test is required for the rank of Captain, and much like the rank of Lieutenant, a Captain in charge of investigative units may obtain the rank of Detective Captain. Major, the rank held by Troop Commanders, then Lieutenant Colonel, the rank held by Division commanders and the Deputy Superintendent, are appointed by the Colonel, who is also the Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. The Colonel of the State Police is appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts.
To read more about the history of the Massachusetts State Police, click the link in the slideshow above, or the link above.
The May edition of French and Electric Blue salutes some recent retirees and celebrates National Telecommunicators Week by spotlighting some of our hard-working and professional dispatchers. Readers can also learn how MSP personnel partnered with a variety of agencies to take part in the annual Ashburnham-Westminister Community Benefit Hockey Game.
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