The California Highway Petrol
There are many law enforcement agencies in the United States, and especially in California. Some of the largest agencies in Southern California are the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Both of these police forces are some of the largest in the country. They handle a full-range of police duties ranging from traffic citations to murder, rape, and robbery cases. There are also a number of smaller police agencies operating side by side with the LAPD and L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. Cities, such as Monterey Park, have their own police force, while smaller cities depend on the Sheriff’s Department for their law enforcement needs. Because of the unique nature of the state, California created the California Highway Patrol.
The CHP, as it is usually called, is a police agency that is entrusted with patrolling the vast number of freeway miles that exist in California. The state was built during a time of great mobility after the advent of the personal vehicle. Because of this, the state has more freeway miles than any other state in the United States with the exception of Texas. However, California has the most licensed drivers, and by far, the most registered vehicles. This made it necessary to create a police force dedicated to its highways.
CHP officers are endowed with the same powers other police officers have. However, they do not have a crime investigation team for any offense other than traffic-related crimes. Whenever the CHP first responds to a crime that is not traffic-related, its officers perform the same duties a regular officer does. It then turns investigations over to the LAPD, or Sheriff’s office depending on the location of the crime. The CHP has a long, and storied history. Many young Californians, both male and female, are attracted to the CHP, and enroll into its academy in Sacramento, the state’s capital.