Maryland State Police

Maryland State Police
Maryland State Police
Abbreviation MSP
Maryland State Police.jpg
Patch of the Maryland State Police.
Agency overview
Formed 1921
Employees 2,429 (as of 2004) [1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of Maryland, USA
MD - State Police Troops.png
Maryland State Police Troops
Size 12,407 square miles (32,130 km2)
Population 5,618,344 (2007 est.)[2]
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Pikesville, Maryland
Troopers 1,596 (as of 2004) [1]
Civilians 833 (as of 2004) [1]
Agency executive Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent
Child agency Maryland State Fire Marshal
Helicopters 12
Airplanes 2
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Maryland State Police is the official state police force of the state of Maryland. The Maryland State Police is headquartered at 1201 Reisterstown Road in the Pikesville CDP in unincorporated Baltimore County.[3][4]


Organizational structure

The Maryland State Police is organized into a structure based on the United States military, composed of:[5]

  • Department of State Police (commanded by the Colonel)
  • Bureaus (commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel)
  • Commands (commanded by a Major)
  • Troops (commanded by a Captain)
  • Divisions (commanded by a Captain or Civilian Director)
  • Barracks (commanded by a Lieutenant)
  • Sections (commanded by a Captain or Lieutenant or Civilian Director)
  • Units (commanded by a First Sergeant)

The Maryland State Fire Marshal is a member of the department and is charged with investigation and prosecution of suspicious fires and arson throughout the state.

Field Operations Bureau

The Field Operations Bureau comprises twenty-two barracks within six geographical troop areas. It further comprises the Aviation Division, Special Operations Command, and the Transportation Safety Command that includes the Automotive Safety Enforcement Division, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, and the Transportation Safety Division which are responsible for traffic control and criminal law enforcement.[6]

Homeland Security and Investigation Bureau

The Homeland Security and Investigation Bureau was established to provide investigative services, both overt and covert. It is divided into the Homeland Security Command and the Investigation Command.

Support Services Bureau

The Support Services Bureau is responsible for personnel administration including recruiting, retention, training, retirement, and benefits. It maintains the physical and technical infrastructure for the department. The bureau is currently commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Robert McGainey. Divisions include Facilities Management, Electronic Systems, Information Technology, Motor Vehicle, Quartermaster, Human Resources, Training, and Promotional Testing.[7]

Office of Strategic Planning

The Office of Strategic Planning deals with all planning within the department. The Bureau manages the Budget and Finance Division, Government Affairs Unit, Policing Division, Staff Inspections Section, and Planning and Research Division.


Prior to 1921, the state of Maryland had no state-wide police force. In that year, in response to increasing crime, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles organized a team of police officers who were given statewide jurisdiction to enforce traffic and criminal laws. They gained jurisdiction through deputization by county sheriffs. An associated plainclothes investigative unit became known as the "State Police Force." [8]

In 1935, the Maryland State Police was established as a separate unit of State government, funded out of revenues from the Department of Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. It was granted additional statewide police powers to enforce fish, oyster, game and other conservation laws and maintain a training school. It was made part of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services in 1970.[8]

In 1994, the Department of Maryland State Police was formed as a separate executive department; it was renamed the Department of State Police in 1995.[8] Recent Superintendents have included David B. Mitchell from 1995 to 2003, Ed Norris from 2003 to 2004, Thomas E. Hutchins from 2004 to 2007, and Terrence Sheridan from 2007 to 2011. The current Superintendent is Marcus L. Brown, who was appointed on August 1, 2011 after serving as Chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police since 2007.

Forty-two state troopers have been killed in the line of duty in the history of the force.[9]


The Maryland State Police has jurisdiction in the state of Maryland and may, in its discretion or at the request of any municipal agency, or when ordered by the Governor of the state of Maryland, exercise and enforce statewide laws without regard to jurisdiction within the boundaries of the state of Maryland. Otherwise, except under certain conditions as defined by statute, the agency does not enforce criminal laws within the jurisdiction of those incorporated municipalities which have their own police force.[10]

The Department also has the authority and jurisdiction to investigate allegations of police corruption concerning any municipal agency within the state of Maryland. The Department also enforces controlled substance laws throughout the state.

Uniform and equipment

The Maryland State Police uniform has remained the same since 1951.[11] The standard Trooper uniform consists of olive pants with a black stripe down the side. A tan colored button-up shirt is worn, with long sleeves in winter and short sleeves in summer. A black tie is worn with the long-sleeve shirt. Some Troopers also wear black wooly pully Commando Sweaters in cold weather. Class A uniforms consist of a dress blouse and Sam Browne belt. Sergeants and corporals wear yellow chevrons showing their rank on both sleeves.

A felt Stetson hat is worn in the winter months with a long sleeve shirt and tie, and a straw Stetson is worn in the summer months with the short sleeve shirt.

The Maryland State Police, along with the Virginia State Police, the West Virginia State Police, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Minnesota State Patrol, is one of the few police agencies to wear a badge directly over their shirt pocket.

Maryland State Police troopers are currently issued the Beretta PX4 Storm chambered in 40 S&W[12] and some are issued a Remington 870. Certain troopers, based on experience are issued the following specialized weapons: Colt M16-A1 and the Colt AR-15.


The Maryland State Police Training Academy is in Sykesville, Maryland in the same location as the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission. The Academy is live-in and consists of twenty-six weeks of basic instruction.

Recruits take college-level academic classes for which they receive 45 college credits. Training includes instruction in the use of the agency's firearms as well as in criminal law, motor vehicle law and emergency vehicle operation. Vehicle training is conducted on the training commission's course.

Upon completion of training, troopers are assigned to one of twenty two barracks located around Maryland.


Barrack ID Location Area Served
Barrack A Waterloo Howard Co.
Barrack B Frederick Frederick Co.
Barrack C Cumberland Allegany
Barrack D Bel Air Harford Co.
Barrack E Salisbury Wicomico
Barrack F North East Cecil
Barrack G Westminster Carroll
Barrack H La Plata Charles
Barrack I Easton Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot
Barrack L Forestville Prince George's (south of U.S. 50)
Barrack M JFK Memorial Highway Cecil, Harford, Baltimore
Barrack N Rockville Montgomery
Barrack O Hagerstown Washington
Barrack P Glen Burnie Anne Arundel
Barrack Q College Park Prince Georges (north of Route 50)
Barrack R Golden Ring Baltimore
Barrack S Centreville Kent, Queen Annes
Barrack T Leonardtown St. Marys
Barrack U Prince Frederick Calvert
Barrack V Berlin Worcester
Barrack W Mc Henry Garrett
Barrack X Princess Anne Somerset

Rank structure

The Maryland State Police is a paramilitary organization with a rank structure modeled after the United States military. The ranks of corporal through captain are based on promotional testing; majors and above are appointed by the superintendent.[15]

The Maryland State Police rank structure is as listed:

Rank Insignia Description
US-O6 insignia.svg
The Superintendent of the Maryland State Police holds the rank of colonel. He is the Secretary of the Department of State Police and a member of the governor's cabinet.
Lieutenant Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
There are three officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel, each overseeing one of the three bureaus within the state police.
US-O4 insignia.svg
Majors are responsible for a command within the state police.
US-O3 insignia.svg
The specific responsibilities of a captain vary depending upon where they are assigned within the agency. For example, a captain may be a troop commander in the Field Operations Bureau or a division commander in one of the other bureaus.
A lieutenant is the commander of each barrack. Other Lieutenants may command a unit.
Sergeant Major
US Army E-9 SGM.svg
The sergeant major is responsible for ensuring a clear channel of communication from the troopers on the road to the secretary of the department. There is only one sergeant major in the Department of State Police who is designated by the superintendent.
First Sergeant
US Army E-8 1SG.svg
First sergeants are assistant barrack commanders or may perform administrative functions in other areas.
Detective Sergeant
US Army E-7.svg
Detective sergeants are in charge of all criminal investigations at a barracks, or may be assigned to other investigative functions.
US Army E-5.svg
Sergeants act as shift commanders or duty officers.
US Army E-4.svg
Corporals are the first-line supervisors and are usually assigned as road supervisors within barracks. In the absence of a sergeant, they may act as the duty officer.
Trooper First Class
US Army E-2.svg
Troopers who complete three years of satisfactory or exceptional service are promoted to the rank of TFC.
Blank - Spacer.png
Recruits successfully completing the academy and field training are appointed as troopers.


  • Male: 90%
  • Female: 10%
  • White: 78%
  • African-American/Black: 19%
  • Hispanic: 2%
  • Asian: 1%


The Maryland State Police is a paramilitary organization whose organizational and rank structure are modeled after the United States military.

  • Department of State Police (commanded by the Colonel)
  • Bureaus (commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel)
  • Commands (commanded by a Major)
  • Troops (commanded by a Captain)
  • Divisions (commanded by a Captain or Civilian Director)
  • Barracks (commanded by a Lieutenant)
  • Sections (commanded by a Captain or Lieutenant or Civilian Director)
  • Units (commanded by a First Sergeant)


All of the subdivisions of the Agency fall under the Office of the Superintendent, are part of one of the three bureaus or fall under the Office of Strategic Planning.

The Office of the Superintendent includes staff and units that directly support the administrative responsibilities of the Secretary. Those units and staff report to the Chief of Staff, except for the Office of Media Communications and Marketing, which reports directly to the Secretary.

Field Operations Bureau includes the twenty-three barracks, as well as the Aviation Command, the Transportation Safety Command and the Special Operations Command. To learn more about the Field Operations Bureau, please click here.

The Homeland Security and Investigation Bureau was established to provide investigative services, both overt and covert to support the Department's mission of achieving public safety by improving the quality of life for the citizens of Maryland. The Bureau is organized in three commands: the Homeland Security Command and the Investigation Command.

The Support Services Bureau performs vital services to support the personnel and operations of the Maryland State Police. The Personnel Command is responsible for all aspects of personnel administration - from recruiting and training to benefits and retirement. The Logistics Command maintains the vital infrastructure of the Agency including the physical buildings and the computer network. The Records Command includes the Licensing Division, which issues numerous types of permits and licenses (such as handgun permits) and the Central Records Division which is the statewide repository for motor vehicle accident reports. To learn more about the Support Services Bureau, please click here.

The Office of Strategic Planning oversees all planning and compliance functions within the Department. The Office of Strategic Planning includes the Budget and Finance Division, the Government Affairs Unit, the Professional Policing Division, the Staff Inspections Section, and the Planning and Research

Specialized units

  • Drug Enforcement Division (DED)
  • Homeland Security and Intelligence Division (HSID)
  • Criminal Investigations Division (CID)
  • Executive Protection
  • S.T.A.T.E. Team (SWAT)
  • Aviation Command
  • D.A.R.E.
  • Accident Reconstruction
  • Canine Unit (K9)
  • Crime Lab
  • Media Communications
  • Computer Crimes
  • Automotive Safety Enforcement Division
  • Police Academy or Training Division
  • Motorcycle Unit
  • Licensing Division
  • Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division
  • Underwater Recovery Unit (MSP URT)

Aviation Command

Maryland State Police operates a large aviation division focusing on medevac operations. Aviation also supports ground units of the state and local police. Funding comes from vehicle registration fees.[17]

As of October 2007 the Command operates 3 types of Aircraft[18]. On October 20, 2010, Maryland State Police awarded a $71 million contract to AgustaWestland to provide six AW139 helicopters. The contract calls for the first helicopter to be delivered within 18 months.[19]


Fixed wing

The aviation command was instrumental in the support of the first trauma center in the USA, the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.[20]

Trooper 2 crash

On September 28, 2008, at approximately 12:30am, Trooper 2 (Eurocopter AS 365N1 Dauphin, N92MD) disappeared from radar and crashed with five people aboard in Walker Mill Regional Park in Prince George's County.[21] Out of the five aboard, there were four confirmed fatalities, which included Pilot Stephen H. Bunker (retired corporal), paramedic TFC Mickey Lippy, EMT Tonya Mallard (Waldorf Volunteer Fire Department), and one of the two patients on board. This resulted in the grounding of all aircraft, until the cause was determined, with allied agencies covering the state. Aircraft were inspected and brought up to cover missions two weeks after the crash with no resulting incidents[citation needed].

This is the fourth fatal crash in the history of the MSP Aviation Division. The most recent fatal crash prior to this occurred on January 19, 1986[citation needed].


In the late 1990s, the Maryland State Police and New Jersey State Police agencies were accused of racial profiling. Allegations were made that black motorists were being pulled over disproportionately on the New Jersey Turnpike and on Interstate 95, for no reason other than race alone. In New Jersey many rank-and-file state troopers testified that their supervisors had ordered them to engage in this practice. A nationwide scandal erupted, which ultimately resulted in a federal monitor watching over the New Jersey State Police. In a "consent decree," the New Jersey State Police agreed to adopt a new policy that no individual may be detained based on race, unless said individual matches the description of a specific suspect.[22][23] In Maryland the state reached a settlement to pay the victims for the incident.[24]

In 2008, it was revealed through Freedom of Information Act requests that the Maryland State Police had been engaged in domestic spying of anti-war, anti-death penalty and environmental activists, and classified 53 of them as "terrorists," although none of them committed a violent crime.[25] The police admitted that there was never any evidence linking these individuals with any intention to commit any acts of violence. Among those listed as terrorists were two Roman Catholic nuns living in Baltimore.[26]

See also

Portal icon Maryland portal
Portal icon Law enforcement/Law enforcement topics portal


  1. ^ a b c USDOJ Statistics
  2. ^ 2007 Population Estimates
  3. ^ Home page. Maryland State Police. Retrieved on March 23, 2009.
  4. ^ "Pikesville CDP, Maryland." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on March 23, 2009.
  5. ^ Organization of the Maryland State Police
  6. ^ Maryland State Police webpage - Field Operations Bureau
  7. ^ Support Services Bureau Details
  8. ^ a b c Maryland State Police webpage - History of the MSP
  9. ^ Officer Down Memorial Page
  10. ^ See Md. Pub. Safety Code Ann. § 2-412.
  11. ^ State Police Uniforms
  12. ^ Police Magazine Maryland State Police to Carry Beretta’s Px4 Storm.
  13. ^ Maryland State Police Academy
  14. ^ Maryland State Police - Barracks
  15. ^ Maryland State Police webpage - Rank Structure
  16. ^ Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics, 2000: Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers
  17. ^ Maryland State Police Aviation Command
  18. ^ US civil aircraft register searches using "Maryland State Police" and "Maryland Department of State Police" as the Owner Name search parameters. Searches conducted 2007-10-31.
  19. ^ AgustaWestland Awarded Contract by the Maryland State Police Aviation Command
  20. ^ History of Shock Trauma at the UMM
  21. ^ Four Fatalities in State Police Medevac crash in Prince Georges County
  22. ^ Cleary, Robert; Bill Lee, Susan Cassell, Steven Rosenbaum, Mark Posner, Kelli Evans, John Farmer (1999-12-30), United States vs. New Jersey, 
  23. ^ "Division of Criminal Justice Home". Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  24. ^ Landmark Settlement Reached With Maryland State Police In "Driving While Black" Case ACLU. Retrieved September 28, 2008.
  25. ^ Lisa Rein (12 October 2008). "Spying on Activists Discussed at Forum; Group Questions Why Some, Not Others". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  26. ^ "US nuns come home to discover 'terrorist' status". Agence France-Presse (AFP). 11 October 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 

External links

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