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The New Jersey State Police (NJSP) is the state police force for the state of New Jersey. It is a general-powers police agency with state wide jurisdiction, designated by Troop Sectors. [1]


As with other state police organizations, the primary reason for the creation of the New Jersey State Police was for the protection of rural areas that had never had law enforcement, beyond a local sheriff, who was often not able to provide suitable police services. Legislation for its creation was first introduced in 1914, but it would not be until March 29 1921, with the passing of the State Police Bill, that a statewide police force was created. Senator Clarence I. Case was the driving force behind the 1921 legislation, however, the person with the most impact on the organization was its first Superintendent Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr. Schwarzkopf was a graduate of West Point and this training and his time in the military heavily influenced how he organized and trained his first group of troopers. The first State Police class reported for training on September 1 1921 and consisted of 116 men out of an applicant group of 1,600. Training took place in Sea Girt, New Jersey on the same grounds as the current State Police Academy. [2]. Out of the 116 men who started training only 81 officers and troopers completed the three-month training program. According to the New Jersey State Police Website, "On December 1 1921, the new troopers were administered the oath of office and on December 5 1921, in a blinding snowstorm, started out on horseback and motorcycle to their posts throughout the state."

Core Functions

The New Jersey State Police is responsible for general police services, general highway and traffic enforcement, statewide investigation and intelligence services, emergency management, support for state and local law enforcement efforts, maintenance of criminal records and identification systems and regulation of certain commerce such as firearms ownership. [1]

Many municipalities in southern and north-western New Jersey lack local police departments, therefore the state police have the primary responsibility for providing police services to these towns for a yearly assessed nominal fee paid to the state government. [1]

The State Police are also charged with the responsibility of protecting the Governor of New Jersey. [1]

Motto and General Orders

Motto and Badge

"Honor, Duty, Fidelity", the motto of the New Jersey State Police was adapted from the West Point motto "Duty, Honor, Country". The triangular State Police logo and hat badge represents this motto. The badge has stars in each of its three corners and was created by New York jeweler Julius George Schwarzkopf, the father of founder Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf. The NJSP logo includes the year 1921, date of founding, in place of a badge number. [3]

General Order #1

The General Orders are the guiding principles of the State Police and provide historical bases for its rules and regulations. A full list of the orders can be found here General Order #1.


Training for recruits takes place at the State Police Academy located in Sea Girt, New Jersey. The academy is both physically and mentally demanding on the recruit. The recruits live at the academy during the week and are responsible for the upkeep of the barracks and academy grounds, as well as their equipment and uniforms. The curriculum consists of ten units of study that increase in difficulty and complexity over the 25 weeks of training. [4] Drop out rate for new recruits in the Academy is above or close to 30% per class. Some areas of study include:

  • Physical Training: Three two-hour sessions per week. Running is a large component of the physical conditioning and reaches a maximum of five miles at an 8-minute pace. Muscular conditioning is also stressed and recruits must pass all physical tests. [4]
  • Self-Defense: Consists of approximately 20 hours of active counter measures, 28 hours of defensive tactics, and 18 hours of PR-24 instruction. [4]
  • Firearms: Recruits must show proper usage and care of all firearms issued by the state police, including the SIG P228 handgun and Benelli M1 shotgun. Recruits go through 60 hours of firearms training. [4]
  • Water Safety: Consists of 40 hours of water safety and life saving instruction.
  • Driving: Driving consists of approximately 21 hours of instruction and each recruit is required to show proficiency in the operation of marked troop transportation. [4]

Rank structure

Title Insignia
Colonel / Superintendent
Lieutenant Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
Sergeant First Class / Det. SFC
Staff Sergeant
Sergeant / Det. Sgt.
Trooper I / Detective I
Trooper II / Detective II
Trooper / Detective


File:NJSP Badge 1921.jpg

New Jersey State Trooper Badge - #1921 was never issued as it is the year the NJSP was founded

In addition to its distinctive triangular badge, Troopers wear a distinctive uniform for regular patrol duties, which is normally reserved for "Class A" functions in nearby state police forces (Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania). Its origins, according to common NJ folklore and Col. Schwarzkopf's diaries, are in German uniforms of the inter-war period which were found to be sufficiently smart and imposing, while practical. The winter uniform consists of a light blue Army-style coat, known as a blouse, with brass buttons, and gold triangular patches, with "N.J." on the right lapel and "S.P." on the left. The blouse is worn over a dress shirt, light blue shirt for sergeants and below, white for lieutenants and above, and a navy blue necktie, with navy blue trousers or riding breeches bearing a gold stripe on each side. During the summer, the coat is replaced with a long-sleeve blue shirt, while a necktie is still worn. For safety reasons, only clip-on ties are worn. A saucer-shaped cap (as opposed to a "Smokey Bear" hat worn in Delaware and Pennsylvania and a Stetson hat in New York and Maryland) is worn, with two straps--one going over the crown, giving the uniform a distinctive, almost German Army-like appearance, appropriate to the uniform's origin. The New Jersey Transit Police Department, virtually all municipal police forces, and several county sheriff's offices have a variation on the cap whereas in most of the nation an 8-point cap is worn. Unlike most other police agencies, the Troopers' badge is only worn on the hat. For this reason, it is extremely unusual to ever see a Trooper without his cover on. Enlisted troopers wear the rank on the sleeves while officers wear their rank on shoulder epaulets. Both winter and summer uniforms are worn with the full Sam Browne Belt, which was adopted by Col. Schwarzkopf, as the belt gave the wearer a proper "brace" (known by General of the Armies John Pershing as the "West Point Brace;" appropriate at the time since both Pershing and Schwarzkopf were both graduates). It can also be used to stop violent bleeding, which can save lives. [5]

Current Organization

The current organization of the New Jersey State Police is[6]:

  • Office of the Superintendent, which is currently held by Col. Rick Fuentes.
  • Administration Branch, which consists of the Administration Section, Information Technology Section, and the Division Human Resources Section
  • Homeland Security Branch, which consists of the Emergency Management Section and the Special Operations Section.
  • The Investigations Branch which consists of the Intelligence Section and the Special Investigations Section
  • The Field Operations Branch, which consists of Field Operations Sections which are further divided into the following five troops: [7]
    • Troop A: Southern New Jersey (including the Atlantic City Expressway)
    • Troop B: Northern New Jersey
    • Troop C: Central New Jersey
    • Troop D: New Jersey Turnpike
    • Troop E: Garden State Parkway


As of 2007, the demographics of the New Jersey State Police was as follows:[8]

  • Male: 97%
  • Female: 3%
  • White: 85%
  • African-American/Black: 8%
  • Hispanic: 5%
  • Asian: 1%
  • Native American: 1%

Law Enforcement Accreditation

The New Jersey State Police, as of July 2007, received a coveted law enforcement accreditation after more than a year of intense reviews and grading. The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) bestowed the honor at a meeting of their commissioners in Montreal, Quebec. [9]

The award is the culmination of a two-year process that included on-site inspections from a national team representing the commission. Assessors examined files, conducted panel interviews of staff members, inspected facilities, and performed ride-a-longs with troopers.

Accreditation brings several significant benefits. Primarily, it improves public safety services by comparing the New Jersey State Police to the best procedures currently used by law enforcement and raising any non-compliant areas up to those standards. Additionally, it creates accountability to a respected benchmarking group that knows the work of modern policing. Public trust is bolstered by way of the transparency involved in the whole CALEA accreditation process.

In popular culture

Bruce Springsteen's album Nebraska (1982) contains the dark song "State Trooper", in which a traveller on the New Jersey Turnpike, a desperate man who has committed unknown crimes, hopes that he won't be pulled over by a State Trooper. This song was used in The Sopranos.

New Jersey Turnpike ridin' on a wet night 'neath the refinery's glow, out where the great black rivers flow
License, registration, I ain't got none but I got a clear conscience 'Bout the things I done
Mister state trooper, please don't stop me
Please don't stop me, please don't stop me!


Racial Profiling

In the late 1990s, the Maryland and New Jersey State Police agencies was rocked by a racial profiling scandal. 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.[10][11]

New Jersey Turnpike Shooting

On April 23, 1998, Troopers James Kenna and John Hogan opened fire on a van they stopped for speeding on the New Jersey Turnpike. The four passengers in the van were unarmed. The troopers said they fired, wounding three of the four minority men inside, when the van lurched back toward them. This also started the investigation of possible racial profiling within law enforcement in New Jersey.

Contact Information

P.O. Box 7068
West Trenton
NJ 08628
Phone: (609) 882-2000

See also

  • List of law enforcement agencies in New Jersey
  • State police
  • State patrol
  • Highway patrol


The 20s History Begins. New Jersey State Police. Retrieved on December 21, 2006.

Core Functions. New Jersey State Police. Retrieved on December 21, 2006.

General Order #1 General Orders. New Jersey State Police. Retrieved on December 21, 2006.

History of the Badge. New Jersey State Police. Retrieved on December 21, 2006.

Academy. New Jersey State Police. Retrieved on December 21, 2006.

NJ State Police Awarded National Accreditation. New Jersey State Police. Retrieved on August 17, 2007.

CALEA Accreditation Letter (PDF). New Jersey State Police. Retrieved on August 17, 2007.

External links