What Are the Different Units of the Montana Highway Patrol?

At the helm of the Montana Highway Patrol is the Colonel, appointed by the Montana Attorney General. The MHP operates with a hierarchical structure comprising distinct units with precise responsibilities:

  • Patrol Troopers: The frontline defenders of highway safety, the Patrol Troopers vigilantly monitor traffic, enforce the law, and respond to incidents.
  • Civilians: A crucial backbone of the organization, the 57 civilian staff members support operations through administrative, technical, and logistical tasks.
  • Investigative Units: Skilled in gathering evidence and identifying lawbreakers, the investigative units play a key role in maintaining highway safety.
  • Traffic Services Unit: This unit is dedicated to reducing the number of traffic crashes and improving traffic safety throughout the state.

Each district is responsible for a portion of Montana’s 147,165 square miles, ensuring comprehensive coverage and swift response.

What is the History of the Montana Highway Patrol?

The Montana Highway Patrol was established in 1935 in response to a significant surge in highway fatalities. Initially, the patrol’s primary focus was on public education and assistance, aiming to instill a culture of highway safety among Montana’s citizens.

Over time, the MHP has grown and evolved, expanding its personnel and refining its operations to meet a growing population’s demands and an increasing number of motorists on the state’s highways.

How Does the Montana Highway Patrol Serve the Area?

Contrary to many states, Montana does not have a state police force. Instead, law enforcement is primarily a local affair, overseen by county sheriffs and city officials. Here, the MHP steps in as the primary state-level law enforcement agency, shouldering the responsibility for traffic safety and law enforcement on Montana’s highways.

The MHP collaborates closely with local law enforcement agencies, lending its expertise and resources to maintain safety and order. The Patrol’s jurisdiction extends across the state’s extensive highway network, allowing it to respond swiftly to incidents and emergencies wherever they may occur.

MHP’s service also includes fostering community relations and educating the public on safe driving habits. By facilitating dialogues and fostering mutual respect with the communities they serve, they ensure that Montana’s highways remain secure for everyone.

The MHP has shown its commitment to addressing social issues within its jurisdiction. With Montana aiming to reform its criminal justice system, the MHP stands at the forefront of these changes, ready to adapt its operations to ensure fairness and equity in its service to all Montanans.

The Montana Highway Patrol stands as a vital pillar of law enforcement in the state. From its historical roots in public education to its modern-day role as the chief state-level law enforcement agency, the MHP exemplifies the spirit of service, dedication, and commitment to safety.

Address: 2550 Prospect Avenue, Helena, MT 59620, United States.


Click here to view Montana accident reports.