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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.
To read more about the history of the Massachusetts State Police, click the link in the slideshow above, or the link above.