Superintendent James Prochniak announces the North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP) has reached a historic milestone. “The men and women of the Highway Patrol have proudly served the citizens and visitors of North Dakota for 75 years,” stated Prochniak. “Through their sacrifice and commitment to excellence, our employees, past and present, have forged this department into the internationally accredited law enforcement agency that it is today.”
The North Dakota Highway Patrol was created by the 1935 Legislative Assembly when the State Highway Commissioner, with the consent of the Governor, was given the authority to appoint the first Highway Patrol Superintendent. In 1936 five men were hired to enforce the provisions of the laws of the state of North Dakota relating to the protection and use of the public highways in the state. These troopers were vested with all the powers and the performance of duties held and performed by peace officers in the state of North Dakota. The jurisdiction of these five officers extended throughout the state. Currently, the NDHP has 139 sworn positions.
The NDHP has experienced many changes during the past 75 years. Notable changes include a law passed in 1947 making it necessary for all new drivers to take a driver's examination. The responsibility to conduct these examinations fell on the shoulders of the Highway Patrol. In 1969, the NDHP was given the responsibility of regulating all Commercial Driver Training Schools in the state. In 1971, responsibilities were expanded to include the operation of the Law Enforcement Training Center located in Bismarck. In 1989, the NDHP became the first agency in North Dakota to attain national accreditation status from the Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Other agency highlights include developing an agency K-9 program, coordinating the implementation of an AMBER Alert plan for the state of North Dakota, expanding responsibilities to include Capitol Security functions and incorporating department aircraft capabilities into enforcement and search and rescue operations. A department timeline can be accessed by visiting our newly designed website at www.nd.gov/ndhp.
Past and present NDHP employees, families and friends will commemorate the occasion with a banquet being held in August.