A Brief History of the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP)
In 1908 the
Nevada State Police was created to provide a state level law enforcement
presence as a result of labor strikes in the mining communities. When Henry Ford
made ownership of the automobile accessible to the populous of America by mass
producing the Model T Ford, the problem of enforcing the laws of the road soon
followed. On June 23, 1923, the first Nevada State Highway Patrolman was hired
by the Nevada Highway Department under the supervision of the Inspector of the
Nevada State Police. This officer and the Inspector of the State Police would
travel throughout the State collecting automobile registration fees and
enforcing the laws of the highway. Nevada was one of the first western states to
have an organized highway patrol function.
By 1934, the highway
patrol force had grown to three officers still supervised by the Inspector of
the State Police. They were given silver patrol cars with gold stars on the
door; red lights and sirens, and told to patrol the roads. One officer was
assigned to Reno, one to Carson City and one to Las Vegas.
sub-unit of the Nevada State Police remained operational until the State Police
were reorganized in 1943. At that time, the Nevada State Highway Patrol was
absorbed into the State Police who continued highway law enforcement until 1949
when the Nevada Highway Patrol was organized.
The 1949 Nevada
Legislature created the Nevada Highway Patrol by consolidating the Nevada State
Police, Inspectors from the Nevada Public Service Commission and several
Inspectors from the Nevada Department of Taxation. On July 1, 1949, the Nevada
Highway Patrol Division was created within the Nevada Public Service Commission.
These officers were directed to act as field agents and inspectors in the
enforcement of the State laws as they pertained to Nevada highways. But the
history of law enforcement on Nevada highways goes back many years before the
Nevada Highway Patrol was created.
In 1957, the Legislature created
the Department of Motor Vehicles and transferred the Nevada Highway Patrol to
this new department as a division.
In 1985, the name of the
Department was changed to the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety
(DMV&PS) to reflect the many new law enforcement agencies that had been
In 2001, DMV&PS was split into separate departments and
the Nevada Highway Patrol is now a division of the Nevada Department of Public
Today the Nevada Highway Patrol serves the citizens and
visitors of our State with 356 commissioned officers and 177 civilians. The
duties of the Patrol range from enforcing the laws on the highways to operating
the State's criminal history repository. The headquarters office is located in
Carson City with regional offices in Las Vegas, Reno and Elko. The Nevada
Highway Patrol is dedicated to ensuring safe, economical, and enjoyable use of
the highways: protecting peaceful citizens against violence and disorder and
assisting law enforcement agencies throughout our State and the