Rhode Island State Police

The Rhode Island State Police (RISP) is an agency of the US state of Rhode Island responsible for statewide law enforcement and regulation, especially in areas underserved by local police agencies and on the state's limited-access highways. Its headquarters is in North Scituate (a village of Scituate).

Rhode Island State Police
Uniform Patch
Uniform Patch
Hat badge
Hat badge
Motto"In the Service of the State"
Agency overview
FormedApril 2, 1925; 97 years ago (1925-04-02)
Employees305 (as of 2016)[1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionRhode Island, USA
RI - State Police Troop Map.png
Map of Rhode Island State Police's jurisdiction
Size1,545 square miles (4,000 km2)
Population1,057,832 (2007 est.)[2]
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersNorth Scituate, Rhode Island
Troopers228 (as of 2017)[3]
Civilian employees50 (as of 2016)[4]
Agency executives
  • Colonel Darnell S. Weaver, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police[5]
  • Major Dennis B. Fleming, Deputy Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police [6]
Parent agencyRhode Island Department of Public Safety


The RISP was founded in 1925 at the request of the state's General Assembly, and was modeled on the organisation structure of the Pennsylvania State Police. Its first headquarters was in the Benefit Street Marine Corps Armory in Providence, which stationed the first twenty-three troopers and the Superintendent. At this stage, the division relied heavily on Indian motorcycles to perform their wide-ranging patrol duties.

In 1936, the RISP acquired the so-called Coggeshall property in North Scituate. Consisting of approximately 145 acres of land and many outbuildings, the centerpiece of the property and new headquarters building was the Coggeshall Mansion, built in the late 19th century. The mansion and outbuildings are still in use by the RISP.

During this time, the division organized itself into three patrol districts comprising the northern, southern, and "island" parts of the state. As the twentieth century progressed, the RISP enlarged and modified itself, establishing new barracks and instituting new programs to further meet its statewide policing mandate.

Troopers did not apply to join the Rhode Island State Police but "enlisted" for three-year periods, after which they could apply for reenlistment. The reenlistment included a review of job performance and a full medical examination. If the member was found to be suitable for reenlistment, they were sworn in again by a member of the Division's Command Staff. This longstanding three-year enlistment continues to this day.

RISP at presentEdit

Currently, the RISP is composed of two districts, District "A" which covers the northern half of the state and District "B" which covers the southern half of the state. There are currently four patrol commands, referred to as barracks,[7] located in:

The RISP fields an additional patrol command at the TF Green Airport in Warwick. The Portsmouth Barracks would be the fifth, but is not currently in use.

Construction of the Rhode Island State Police Headquarters was completed in 2010 in North Scituate on the same property where the Administrative Services building once stood. The building serves as a Public Safety Complex and houses the RISP Patrol Bureau, Detective Bureau, Administrative Bureau, and many other specialized units. It also houses the E 9-1-1 Uniform Emergency Telephone System. The outer buildings and Coggeshall Mansion house administrative and logistical support units and are located on the same grounds as the headquarters building. Also on the grounds of the Public Safety Complex in North Scituate is the RISP Museum, which is open to the public.

The Division also maintains specialized units such as its Charitable Gaming Unit, SWAT team, Dive Team (SCUBA), Intelligence Unit, Detective Unit, Governor's Security Unit, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit, Training Academy staff, K9 Team, Computer Crimes Unit, Financial Crimes Unit, Narcotics Unit, and Criminal Identification Unit as well as many other specialized units.

The Rhode Island State Police Academy is located in the town of Foster. The site was originally a United States Army Nike Missile Base which was decommissioned and turned over to the state of Rhode Island. The state then turned the facility over to the state police as the location for their new training academy.

In December 2018 troopers began using the SIG Sauer P320 chambered in 9mm to replace the older P226 DAK pistols.

Less-lethal weapons issued to Troopers include OC Pepper Spray, Tasers, and the Expandable Straight Baton.

The Rhode Island State Police achieved its initial accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in 1994, and was reaccredited in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, and 2011. The Division achieved Flagship Status in 2005, 2008, and 2011 and received the Accreditation with Excellence Award in 2011, 2014, and 2017.


The 1950s-era uniform of the Rhode Island State Police is unique in the United States law enforcement community. The uniform has also won best dressed in the country in previous years and in 2005, the National Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors (NAUMD) presented the Rhode Island State Police with an 80th Anniversary Commemorative Uniform Award. The RISP is one of only five state police forces that do not wear a badge on their uniform shirts.[8] Instead, they wear a set of numbers stamped in brass, placed onto a piece of black fabric, with red piping on the edges, over the left breast on the uniform shirt. However, the RISP does issue a wallet badge for off-duty use/identification. The badge is gold colored for all ranks.

Unlike most other police agencies in the USA, which utilize black leather duty gear and footwear, the RISP wears leather duty gear and footwear (high boots or shoes, depending on the uniform season) that is a deep chestnut brown color, creating a very distinctive look. RISP high boots, shoes, and most of the leather duty gear is produced by the historic Dehner Boot Company of Omaha, Nebraska. The RISP also has the distinction of being one of the few, if not the only, agencies to have three seasonal uniform changes as opposed to the standard two season (summer and winter) uniform change that most agencies utilize. The three consist of the winter uniform (high boots, breeches, long sleeve shirt with Sam Browne strap), spring/fall uniform (shoes, regular uniform Pants, long-sleeve shirt with Sam Browne strap) and summer uniform (shoes, regular uniform pants, short-sleeve shirt without Sam Browne strap).

The primary colors on the State Police uniform are black and red. The epaulets worn on uniform shirts and dress blouses are black and piped in red. The stripe on the spring/fall and summer uniform pants is a wide black stripe while the striping on the winter/dress uniform breeches is a wide black stripe that is piped with a thinner red stripe. The spring/fall and summer uniform pants and shirts are a lighter charcoal gray while the winter and dress pants and shirts are a darker charcoal gray. A black tie is worn with the winter, spring/fall and dress uniforms and is tucked into the uniform shirt after the first button.

The uniform hat of the RISP is a gray straw campaign style hat for the summer and spring/fall uniforms while the winter and dress uniform hat is a tan felt campaign style hat. Both hats feature a brown leather band at the base of the hat and a gold colored hat badge mounted on a brown leather backing.

Specialized units (K-9, Tactical Unit, etc.) are authorized to wear BDU-style utility uniforms and black nylon web duty gear.

Rank structureEdit

Title Insignia
Lieutenant Colonel

Fallen officersEdit

Since the establishment of the Rhode Island State Police, seven officers have died in the line of duty.[9]

Rank Name Date of Death Cause of Death Age Location
Trooper John Weber 06-16-1925 Killed after a motorcycle crash while taking riding lessons 34 On Boston Post Road in Wakefield, Rhode Island
Trooper Arthur L. Staples, Jr. 12-18-1931 Shot and killed while transporting two 17 year old car thieves to jail; Trooper Staples didn't pat them down and was shot by their handgun in the car 24 On Tower Hill Road in North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Lieutenant Arnold L. Poole 05-30-1934 Shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man for causing a disturbance at a farm 37 Wickford, Rhode Island
Trooper Joseph G. Gallivan 06-22-1937 Killed in a crash during the rain while responding to a fire 26 On Nooseneck Hill Road at the Richmond/Hopkinton county line
Trooper Bradford G. Mott 05-07-1941 Killed after losing control of his 1940 Harley-Davidson motorcycle the day before on 05-06-1941 32 On Post Road in North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Trooper Daniel L. O'Brien 08-31-1954 Drowned while evacuating citizens from Hurricane Carol storm surges and rising waters 25 In East Manutuck, Rhode Island
Sergeant Walter J. Burgess 11-14-1959 Killed while riding as a passenger with Trooper Daniel J. Boyle in a head-on crash while transporting a heart attack victim to the hospital 25 On Cumberland Hill Road in Woonsocket, Rhode Island

In popular cultureEdit

The Rhode Island State Police won the "Best Dressed" award from the National Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors (NAUMD) in 1986. On September 30, 1986, six troopers went to New York City to model the uniform on the television show Late Night with David Letterman. [10]

The Rhode Island State Police features prominently in the 2000 comedy film Me, Myself & Irene, with Jim Carrey playing a state trooper affected with multiple personality disorder.

In the television series Brotherhood, the character Declan Giggs, portrayed by the actor Ethan Embry, is a Rhode Island State Police Detective.

The Netflix movie Rescued by Ruby details the real life story of a RISP K9, Ruby and her partner Daniel.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ USDOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics Census of Law Enforcement Agencies Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-07. Retrieved 2010-08-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) 2007 Population Estimates
  3. ^ http://wpri.com/2017/09/28/colonel-sets-sites-on-reopening-shuttered-portsmouth-barracks/
  4. ^ USDOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics Census of Law Enforcement Agencies Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Command Staff- Rhode Island -State Police".
  6. ^ "Command Staff- Rhode Island -State Police".
  7. ^ Rhode Island State Police Directory Archived 2009-04-18 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Kidd, R. Spencer (2012). Uniforms of the U.S. State Police & Highway Patrols. lulu.com. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-4717-7729-5. OCLC 929822564.
  9. ^ "Rhode Island State Police Memorial- Rhode Island -State Police".
  10. ^ "RISP Fashion Show - Late Night with David Letterman 1986-09-30". YouTube.

External linksEdit