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.
This 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 added.
In 2001, DMV&PS was split into separate departments and the Nevada Highway Patrol is now a division of the Nevada Department of Public Safety.
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 nation.