Sections of the Pennsylvania State Police
At the helm of the PSP is the current Commissioner, Colonel Christopher L. Paris, who oversees a vast array of departments and units. Each has its unique role and function in maintaining law, order, and public safety. A few significant ones include:
- Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI): The BCI is tasked with conducting criminal investigations throughout the state. It handles complex, multi-jurisdictional crimes and also provides investigative support to local law enforcement agencies.
- Patrol Section: Patrol officers are the PSP’s backbone, tasked with enforcing traffic laws, responding to emergencies, and ensuring the safety of the state’s roadways.
- Aviation Section: With 8 Bell 407GX helicopters and 6 “High Wings” airplanes, the Aviation Section provides vital aerial support for search and rescue, criminal pursuit, and traffic control.
- Communications Division: Leveraging the Pennsylvania Statewide Radio Network (PA-STARNet), the Communications Division ensures efficient and reliable communication between troopers and other emergency response agencies.
- Bureau of Training and Education: This Bureau is responsible for the continuous professional development of all PSP personnel. It runs the State Police Training School, established in 1924, to equip troopers with the necessary knowledge and skills for effective policing.
History of the Pennsylvania State Police
The birth of the Pennsylvania State Police is closely tied to the turbulence of the late 19th-century Industrial Revolution. Pennsylvania grappled with escalating conflicts between managers and laborers, leading to frequent violence and societal disruption. The Coal and Iron Police, controlled by industry owners, were originally deployed to protect their interests, often resulting in confrontations with workers. The situation culminated in “The Great Anthracite Strike” of 1902, which instigated widespread violence and a severe coal shortage. Consequently, in 1905, the PSP was established to replace the controversial Coal and Iron Police, marking the inception of the first uniformed police organization in the U.S.
How the Pennsylvania State Police Serves the Area
In the vast expanse of Pennsylvania, spanning 46,055 square miles and home to nearly 13 million people, the PSP has a monumental task. Yet, its troopers steadfastly uphold their “Call of Honor,” pledging to serve and protect all, irrespective of background.
The PSP’s role extends beyond enforcing laws to forging robust relationships with the communities it serves. Through regular outreach programs, troopers work collaboratively with local residents, businesses, and institutions, promoting mutual trust and respect. Such community-oriented policing strategies foster a sense of shared responsibility for public safety and encourage active citizen participation.
Furthermore, the PSP demonstrates its commitment to excellence and professionalism through its affiliations with the PLEAC (Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission) and CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies). These bodies set the highest standards for law enforcement agencies, ensuring that the PSP’s practices and procedures reflect the very best in contemporary policing.
The Pennsylvania State Police is more than just an organization; it is a promise to the people of Pennsylvania of protection, service, and an unwavering commitment to upholding the principles of justice and fairness. The troopers of the PSP stand tall, ready to answer the call of duty, embodying the very best of the Keystone State’s spirit of resilience and unity.
1800 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110
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