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Wisconsin State Patrol turns 80

By Patrick Lynn

The Wisconsin State Patrol turns 80 years old on Sept. 1.

The agency was established in 1939 with 46 inspectors with duties to “enforce the state motor vehicle code and regulate motor carriers.”

Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Tony Burrell said the agency has undergone a lot of changes since its inception, “especially when it comes to the many tools and technologies we rely upon to carry out our comprehensive public safety mission.”

Today, WSP has 400 troopers who enforce traffic laws and assist stranded motorists, along with 112 inspectors who help ensure that commercial motor vehicles and CMV drivers are operating safely on roadways.

The agency also inspects school buses, ambulances, and other commercial vehicles; conducts traffic crash investigations; pilot aircraft and drones; work as K-9 officers; and assist local law enforcement agencies.

“But one thing hasn’t changed,” Burrell said, “the Patrol’s dedicated women and men who work around the clock, throughout the year to help keep people and commerce moving as safely as possible.”

A division within the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, WSP has seven regional posts and an academy in Fort McCoy where cadets are initially trained and officers receive ongoing instruction. The next State Patrol recruitment cycle is expected to begin this fall.

More information on State Patrol careers can be found on the WisDOT website.