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Virginia State Police

Virginia Department of State Police
Common name Virginia State Police
Abbreviation VSP
Patch of the Virginia Department of State Police
Badge of a Virginia State Trooper
Agency overview
Formed 1932
Preceding agency Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles
Employees 2,551 (as of 2009) [1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Commonwealth of Virginia, U.S.
Virginia State Police Divisions Map
Size 42,774 square miles (110,780 km2)
Population 8,001,024 (2010 census)
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Richmond, Virginia
Troopers 1,863 (as of 2009) [1]
Civilians 688 (as of 2009) [1]
Agency executives
  • Brian Joseph Moran, Secretary of Public Safety
  • Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Superintendent
Parent agency Virginia Secretary of Public Safety
Divisions 7
Airplanes 4
Helicopters 7
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Virginia State Police, officially the Virginia Department of State Police, is a U.S. state law enforcement agency, conceived in 1919 and established in 1932, that acts as the state police force for the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. The agency originated out of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles as an inspector and enforcer of highway laws. It is currently one of fourteen agencies within the Cabinet Secretariat of Public Safety, under the leadership of Secretary Brian Moran.


  • History 1
  • Training 2
  • Organizational structure 3
  • Uniform and equipment 4
  • Rank structure 5
  • Fallen officers 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


In 1919 the Virginia State Police was conceived with the passing of the Automobile acts which state that the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and his assistants were vested with the powers of a Sheriff for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of the law. The Secretary of the Commonwealth continued to be responsible for this regulation. The burden of enforcement remained with Sheriffs and Constables in counties and police officers in the cities and towns.

In 1919 the Motor Vehicle Act was passed, creating the first title laws for Virginia motor vehicle owners.

In 1932 inspectors became empowered to enforce criminal codes, as well as motor vehicle codes. In doing so legislators created a state enforcement group with the power to arrest anywhere in Virginia. A mobile enforcement agency was now ready for duty wherever civil strife or emergency conditions might exist that would warrant police personnel to ensure peace and security. It was at this time that inspectors began to be known as "Troopers."

On November 3, 1938, an executive order from Majors Bishop and Nicholas officially adopted the title of "State Trooper." The purpose of this was to identify specific members of the Division of Motor Vehicles performing the role of inspector and motorcycle deputy.

On March 14, 1942, the General Assembly abolished the existing Division of Motor Vehicles and created two separate agencies: The Division of Motor Vehicles and the Department of State Police. The act called for a position of superintendent for the State Police and a commissioner for the Division of Motor Vehicles. Major C. W. Woodson Jr. was officially appointed as superintendent for the State Police.


Training is divided into 4 phases; Phase 1: 2 1/2 weeks of training mainly focusing on firearms, defensive tactics and basic law. Phase 2: Probate phase, probates are assigned to an FTO (Field training officer) for a minimum of 4 weeks. During this phase probates are exposed to the daily activities and duties of a Virginia State Trooper. Phase 3: This training phase consists of 26 weeks. Phase 4: During this phase new troopers are assigned to a FTO for 6 to 8 weeks.

Organizational structure

The Department of State Police is primarily divided into three bureaus: Bureau of Field Operations (BFO), Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), and Bureau of Administrative and Support Services (BASS).

  • Department of State Police (commanded by the Colonel)
  • Bureaus (commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel)
  • Divisions (commanded by a Captain)
  • Areas (commanded by a First Sergeant)

Uniform and equipment

The standard Class A Trooper uniform consists of a light gray colored button-up shirt, with long sleeves in winter and short sleeves in summer. A black tie is worn with the long-sleeve shirt. Patches are sewn to each sleeve. Gray pants with a Dark Blue stripe down the sides are worn year round. Black Clarino shoes and Sam Browne belt, without cross strap, gun belt are worn with the uniform.

A black semi-gloss straw Campaign hat is worn year round. A modified winter fur cap can be worn in the colder months.

A dark blue dress blouse and standard black Clarino Sam Browne gun belt, without the cross strap, are worn for special occasions. Dark blue work jackets are utilized for colder months. Black Commando Sweaters, or "wooly pullys" with proper patches and rank can also be worn by Troopers in cold weather.

Sergeants and first sergeants wear silver, out lined in blue, chevrons showing their rank on both sleeves. Lieutenants and above wear their rank insignia on the shirt collar.

Issued Weapons

Troopers are issued the SIG Sauer P229 .357 SIG DAK pistol, the Remington Model 870 12-gauge shotgun, and a Colt M4 Carbine patrol rifle.

Previous Issued Weapons
Issued Vehicles

The department has used many different makes and models since its inception.

Patrol Cars

Prior to 1928, inspectors only used automobiles once they had seized a vehicle used to transport illegal whiskey and it had been released to the Division for enforcement purposes by the courts. Fords became the first issued patrol vehicles in 1928. In 1932 white Chevrolet roadsters and white motorcycles were purchased and became known as the "The Great White Fleet". Fords and Chevys were the main staple of the patrol force in the 1930s and early 1940s. In 1945 post-war acquisitions of police vehicles were rare and troopers made arrangements to purchase vehicles wherever they could. Buicks and Pontiacs supplemented the fleet until auto manufacturers resumed normal production.

In 1948 the Department adopted the distinctive blue and gray paint scheme for all vehicles. Later in 1952 reflective markings were adopted and used for all marked vehicles. Those same markings are still in use today.

During the 1940s, 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's the Department purchased Fords, Chevy's, Chryslers, and Plymouths for use as patrol cars. Ford's and Chevy's were used mainly used in the 90's and 2000's. Dodge Chargers were introduced into the fleet in 2006.

Red emergency lights were in use until 1985 and then were replaced with blue emergency lights. Bar lights were phased onto vehicles in 1988 replacing the single "bubble gum" light. "TROOPER" decals were added to the front fenders of patrol cars in 1998. Also in 1998 the Department adopted Ford silver replacing the gray in the traditional paint scheme. Only the hood, ceiling and trunk were painted blue. This was due to budget constraints and that Ford stop using that particular gray paint. "Slicktop" Chevrolet Impalas were put into use beginning in 2001. Seven "slicktop" 2002 Chevrolet 9C1 Camaros were put into service in high traffic areas in 2002.

In 2006 the Department purchased 30+ Hemi V8 Dodge Chargers and for the first time since 1948 adopted new graphics for the marked and slicktop Chargers. Current budget restraints prohibit the new markings from being implemented onto the standard fleet.

In 2008 the Virginia State Police's Dodge Charger was Law and Order Magazine's Police Vehicle Design Winner for State and Federal Agencies.

In 2013 the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan was added to the fleet of Virginia State Police vehicles since the Ford Crown Vic model ceased production.

The Virginia State Police are having a lunch break at Santini's right at Oakton, VA (in Fairfax County). One of them drives the Impala and the other drives the Crown Victoria.

Rank structure

Rank Insignia Description
Lieutenant Colonel[2]
First Sergeant[2]
Master Trooper[2]
Career Progression, based on length of service, 25+ years[2]
Senior Trooper[2]
Career Progression, based on length of service, 9+ years[2]
Trooper II[2]
Career Progression, automatic after 1 year probationary period[2]
Trooper I[2]
Probationary Trooper, 1st year in the field[2]

Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI)[2]

  • Lieutenant Colonel[2]
  • Major[2]
  • Captain[2]
  • Lieutenant[2]
  • First Sergeant[2]
  • Senior Special Agent, career progression[2]
  • Special Agent[2]

Fallen officers

Trooper / Inspector Date of Death Details
W. Neville Hatcher
August 19, 1928
Killed while attempting to arrest a murder suspect
Phillip C. Via
January 11, 1929
Killed due to motorcycle accident while providing an escort for President Calvin Coolidge
Curtis Lee Wood
March 11, 1929
Killed when he was struck by an intoxicated driver
Inspector Thomas Allen Belt
August 18, 1930
Killed in a motorcycle accident in Loudoun County
Charles Bazil Bullock
February 15, 1934
Succumbed to injuries received in a motorcycle accident
William Raymond Thompson
September 23, 1935
Killed while attempting to arrest three bank robbers
Charles William Puckett
March 28, 1938
Succumbed to pneumonia contracted while pursuing and arresting a murder suspect
Clarence Lemuel Maynard
September 9, 1939
Killed in an accident while responding to a call
Urshell Thomas Mayo
February 19, 1941
Succumbed to injuries sustained in an accident
William Stafford Tinsley
September 5, 1942
Killed in an automobile accident
William Hawthorne Andrews
October 3, 1946
Succumbed to injuries sustained in an automobile accident
Trooper Robert Elvin Caldwell
June 17, 1948
Killed in an automobile accident
Joseph Benjamin Thomas
June 20, 1950
Killed in an airplane accident
Robert Edward Porter
June 20, 1950
Killed in an airplane accident
Wallace Monroe Simpson
October 23, 1951
Shot and killed by an escaped mental patient
Robert Wright Smith
November 21, 1951
Killed when his patrol car was struck by a passenger train
Walter Sinton Parrish
October 4, 1953
Killed in an automobile accident
Robert Louis Loder Jr.
January 31, 1954
Killed in an automobile accident
Robert Fulton Giles
July 23, 1954
Shot and killed by a suspect during an arrest
Henry Murray Brooks Jr.
June 10, 1956
Struck and killed by an automobile while investigating an automobile accident
Charles Eugene (Gene) Morris
March 2, 1962
Shot and killed while assisting deputies make an arrest
Garland Matthew Miller
June 13, 1963
Killed in an automobile accident
Warren Yokely Harless
November 18, 1968
Shot and killed while assisting deputies with an arrest
Jackie Monroe Bussard
May 5, 1970
Killed in an automobile accident
Donald Edward Lovelace
October 18, 1970
Struck and killed by an automobile during a traffic stop
Rannie DeWitt Kennedy
November 5, 1973
Killed in an automobile accident during a vehicle pursuit
James Read Hughes
June 3, 1974
Struck and killed by an automobile during a traffic stop
Claude Everett Seymour
April 25, 1975
Killed in an automobile accident
Bernard Walter Wright
January 17, 1976
Killed in an automobile accident during a pursuit
Garland West Fisher Jr.
November 15, 1976
Shot and killed after being abducted during a traffic stop
Robert Tinsley Lohr
July 22, 1978
Struck and killed by a vehicle while assisting a motorist
Robin Lee Farmer
September 3, 1981
Killed in an automobile accident during a pursuit
Rodney Dean Grimes
October 9, 1983
Killed in an automobile accident
Johnny Rush Bowman
August 19, 1984
Stabbed to death when an unidentified male attacked him at his home
James Leroy Biggs
December 19, 1984
Shot and killed during a traffic stop
Leo Whitt
April 12, 1985
Shot and killed during a traffic stop
Ricky Marshall McCoy
January 3, 1986
Shot and killed during a traffic stop
Alexander McKie Cochran III
January 15, 1987
Shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance in his neighborhood
Harry Lee Henderson
March 17, 1987
Struck and killed by a truck during a traffic stop
Jacqueline Vernon
August 16, 1988
Struck and killed by a Metro Bus during a traffic stop
Jerry Lynn Hines
February 20, 1989
Shot and killed during a traffic stop
Jose M. Cavazos
February 24, 1993
Shot and killed during a traffic stop
Henry Noel Harmon
February 7, 1995
Shot and paralyzed on 1-10-60, & died 2-7-95, due to complications from the wound
Gregory Patton Fleenor
December 12, 1996
Killed in an automobile accident
Jessica Jean Cheney
January 17, 1998
Killed while directing traffic at the scene of an accident
Daniel Lee Williams
December 12, 1999
Died two days after being critically injured in a car accident
Charles Mark Cosslett
October 23, 2002
Killed in a motorcycle accident
Michael Todd Blanton
January 29, 2003
After stopping a DUI driver was dragged by vehicle & killed after it crashed
Kevin Carder Manion
February 18, 2006
Accidentally shot and killed by a rifle that discharged in a wrecked vehicle while being loaded
Robert A. Hill Sr.
November 24, 2006
Struck and killed by a vehicle during a traffic stop
Mark David Barrett
September 14, 2010
Drowned during Search and Recovery Team training dive exercise
Adam M Bowen
June 24, 2011
Killed in an automobile accident
Andrew David Fox
October 5, 2012
Struck and killed by vehicle while directing traffic at the Virginia State Fair
Junius A. Walker
March 7, 2013
Shot and killed while checking a disabled vehicle on I-85 near mile marker 45 in Dinwiddie County
Nathan-Michael W. Smith
September 21, 2015
Killed in an automobile accident

See also


  1. ^ a b c [3]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x [4]

External links

  • Official website
  • Chronological History of the Virginia State Police
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