The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is the highway patrol agency for North Carolina, which has jurisdiction anywhere in the state except for federal or military installations. The Highway Patrol was created in 1929 and is not a "State Police" agency. The Patrol is, however, a paramilitary organization with a rank structure similar to the armed forces. The mission of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol includes providing for safe transportation on the highways and reducing crime. The Highway Patrol is one of the largest divisions of the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety and its headquarters is located in Raleigh. This department also includes the NC Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE), Emergency Management, Butner Public Safety, and the National Guard.

The Highway Patrol has many responsibilities. The primary job of the rank and file trooper is traffic law enforcement. This includes traffic collision investigation, issuing warning tickets and citations for traffic violations, and finding, arresting, and processing impaired drivers. A state trooper is a sworn peace officer, and although their primary duty is traffic enforcement, they can perform other law enforcement functions.

Duties of Highway Patrol

The State Highway Patrol shall be subject to such orders, rules and regulations as may be adopted by the Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, with the approval of the Governor, and shall regularly patrol the highways of the State and enforce all laws and regulations respecting travel and the use of vehicles upon the highways of the State and all laws for the protection of the highways of the State. To this end, the members of the Patrol are given the power and authority of peace officers for the service of any warrant or other process issuing from any of the courts of the State having criminal jurisdiction, and are likewise authorized to arrest without warrant any person who, in the presence of said officers, is engaged in the violation of any of the laws of the State regulating travel and the use of vehicles upon the highways, or of laws with respect to the protection of the highways, and they shall have jurisdiction anywhere within the State, irrespective of county lines. The State Highway Patrol shall enforce the provisions of G.S. 14-399.

The State Highway Patrol shall have full power and authority to perform such additional duties as peace officers as may from time to time be directed by the Governor, and such officers may at any time and without special authority, either upon their own motion or at the request of any sheriff or local police authority, arrest persons accused of highway robbery, bank robbery, murder, or other crimes of violence.

The Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety shall direct the officers and members of the State Highway Patrol in the performance of such other duties as may be required for the enforcement of the motor vehicle laws of the State.

Members of the State Highway Patrol, in addition to the duties, power and authority hereinbefore given, shall have the authority throughout the State of North Carolina of any police officer in respect to making arrests for any crimes committed in their presence and shall have authority to make arrests for any crime committed on any highway.

Regardless of territorial jurisdiction, any member of the State Highway Patrol who initiates an investigation of an accident or collision may not relinquish responsibility for completing the investigation, or for filing criminal charges as appropriate, without clear assurance that another law-enforcement officer or agency has fully undertaken responsibility, and in such cases he shall render reasonable assistance to the succeeding officer or agency if requested. [1]


Established in 1929, the NC State Highway Patrol's mission is to reduce collisions and make the highways of North Carolina as safe as possible. [2]


In 1921, 150,558 motor vehicles were registered in North Carolina. By 1929, the number of registered vehicles increased to 503,590. As the number of vehicles increased, so did the number of people killed in traffic accidents: 690 deaths in 1929.

Traffic control was of such concern that in 1929 the General Assembly passed an act authorizing the establishment of a State Highway Patrol. The new organization was given statutory responsibility to patrol the highways of the state, enforce the motor vehicle laws, and assist the motoring public.

The organization was designed as a division of the State Highway Commission. The Highway Commission initially sent ten men (later designated as a captain and nine lieutenants) to Pennsylvania to attend the training school of the Pennsylvania State Police. Their mission was to study law, first aid, light adjustments, vehicle operation, and related subjects for use in North Carolina's first Patrol School.

An office was established in Raleigh to serve as state headquarters, and a district office was established in each of the nine highway districts. A lieutenant and three patrolmen were assigned to each district. All patrolmen were issued Harley Davidson motorcycles and the lieutenants drove Model A Ford Coupes. The Patrol commander was issued a Buick automobile. [3]


In 1931, the General Assembly increased the Patrol to 67 members and reduced the number of lieutenants to six. The Patrol was increased in size in 1933 to 121 members. Patrolmen were relieved of gasoline inspection duties and given responsibilities for issuing driver licenses and enforcing the new driver license laws

All patrolmen were assigned individual vehicles in 1937, and during the same year the legislature authorized a statewide radio system for the purpose of coordinating operations and improving the efficiency of the Highway Patrol. Numerous executive, legislative, and administrative changes have occurred since the Patrol's creation. The duties and responsibilities have varied, different ranks have been designated, and the organizational structure has been modified to improve efficiency.

The Patrol, a paramilitary organization, currently consists of five sections, each having specific duties and responsibilities. These sections are:

  • Field Operations;
  • Professional Standards;
  • Special Operations and Motor Carrier Enforcement;
  • Technical Services Unit; and
  • Training [4]


The NC Highway Patrol is broken down in geographical areas known as troops. These troops are lettered A through H, The troops are broken down further by district. These districts are responsible for anywhere from 1-5 counties depending on geographic size.

Troop/District Location County(ies)
A1 Kill Devil Hills Dare and Currituck
A2 Ahoskie Bertie, Gates and Hertford
A3 Elizabeth City Pasquotank, Chowan, Perquimans and Camden
A4 Washington Beaufort, Washington, Tyrrell and Hyde
A5 Greenville Pitt and Martin
A6 New Bern Craven and Pamlico
A7 Kinston Lenoir and Jones
B1 Fayetteville Cumberland
B2 Clinton Sampson
B3 Jacksonville Onslow
B4 Kenansville Duplin and Pender
B5 Whiteville Bladen and Columbus
B6 Wilmington Brunswick and New Hanover
B7 Lumberton Robeson
B8 Lillington Harnett
C1 Rocky Mount Edgecombe and Nash
C2 Goldsboro Wayne
C3 Raleigh Wake
C4 Henderson Franklin, Warren and Vance
C5 Wilson Greene and Wilson
C6 Smithfield Johnston
C7 Durham Durham and Granville
C8 Roanoke Rapids Halifax and Northampton
D1 Siler City Chatham and Lee
D2 Greensboro Guilford
D3 Reidsville Rockingham
D4 Roxboro Caswell and Person
D5 Graham Alamance and Orange
D6 Asheboro Randolph
E1 Lexington Davidson
E2 Albemarle Montgomery and Stanly
E3 Salisbury Davie and Rowan
E4 Winston Salem Forsyth and Stokes
E5 Elkin Surry and YAdkin
E6 Concord Cabarrus
F1 Morganton Burke
F2 Wilkesboro Alleghany, Ashe and Wilkes
F3 Lenoir Caldwell and Watauga
F4 Statesville Alexander and Iredell
F5 Hickory Catawba and Lincoln
G1 Burnsville Avery, Madison, Mitchell and Yancey
G2 Marion McDowell and Rutherford
G3 Hendersonville Henderson, Polk and Transylvania
G4 Asheville Buncombe
G5 Waynesville Haywood and Jackson
G6 Bryson City Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon and Swain


The NC Highway Patrol Basic School for cadets with no prior law enforcement training is twenty-nine weeks long. During this intensive training the cadet class will typically lose 40% of its members. It is in this live-in environment where the cadets learn about state and federal laws, firearms marksmanship, and high speed driving. Early every morning the cadets rise, rain or shine, for physical fitness training before starting a full day of classroom instruction. The cadets will form a tight-knit bond and learn to never leave one another "in the ditch".

Following these months of effort, the cadets are sworn in as Probationary Troopers and are assigned to their respective troops and districts. Once in their assigned district, they will participate in on-the-job training for an additional twelve weeks with an experienced trooper who is trained as a Field Training Officer, or FTO.


On December 8, 2008, the Highway Patrol annouced it was dissolving its K-9 unit saying it planned to restructure and rebuild the program. The move came several months after Trooper Charles Jones was fired for kicking his K-9 partner during training. The K-9 program was reviewed by the Highway Patrol and sweeping changes were recommended including replacement of the training supervisor as well a move from multipurpose, more aggressive dogs to more passive dogs focused on only narcotics detection.


Contact Information

NC Department of Crime Control & Public Safety
4701 Mail Service Center
NC 27699-4701
Phone: (919) 733-2126

See also

External links

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