History

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The Colorado State Patrol was established in 1935 as a division of the Colorado Department of Highways. The agency was originally known as the Colorado State Highway Courtesy Patrol. It was one of only four law enforcement agencies then existing in the state of Colorado.

On September 23, 1935, 44 men selected from a pool of over 7,500 applicants began six-weeks of intensive training at Camp George West, which is located in Golden, Colorado. Following graduation, patrolmen were dispatched and assigned throughout Colorado. Two-way radios weren't installed in our patrol cars until 1949, so notifying officers of service calls was problematic. Dispatchers would often phone local gas stations along an officer's usual patrol route and provide them with details of a pending service call. Attendants at the gas station would then post a red flag alongside the highway, alerting an officer of a pending service call. This process worked surprisingly well.

 

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By 1945, the ranks of the Courtesy Patrol had grown to 100 Patrolmen, 10 Sergeants, 6 Captains, 1 Assistant Chief and the Chief. In 1947, the organization's name was formally changed to the Colorado State Patrol. The Colorado State Patrol derives its authority from legislative mandate, often referred to as the Patrol Act. It was enacted by the Colorado General Assembly in April, 1935, despite strong opposition by the public. At the time, the idea of creating a state-wide law enforcement agency with broad authority did not sit well with the public, particularly with members of organized labor groups. Similarly, other state law enforcement officers complained that their authority and jurisdiction would be endangered. 

 

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To soothe public apprehensions, the legislature carefully outlined the powers of patrolmen in the Patrol Act. The original Act specified that "it shall be their duty to promote safety, protect human life and preserve the highways of Colorado by the intelligent, courteous, and strict enforcement of the laws and regulation of this state relating to highways." Courtesy thus became the backbone of the Colorado State Patrol. 

 

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Today, the Colorado State Patrol employs over 900 sworn and civilian personnel. They are our most precious resource. Through their dedication and commitment, this agency has greatly improved traffic safety in Colorado and become well-respected in law enforcement circles.

 

The agency relies heavily upon state-of-the-art technology, such as in-car video cameras, mobile data computers, digital-trunked radio systems, and laser speed measuring devices, to perform its traffic safety mission. 

 

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The Colorado State Patrol is a progressive law enforcement agency, meaning we constantly strive to enhance the services we provide and the manner in which they are provided. Simply stated, we aim to be "first in traffic safety."

 

 

Click here to download a full overview of the Colorado State Patrol