Montana Department of Justice
Home / Montana Highway Patrol – MHP / Recruitment: Duties of a Patrol Trooper

Mission: To safeguard the lives and property of the people using the highway traffic system of Montana through education, service, enforcement and interagency cooperation.

Montana Highway Patrol troopers never know what might be in store when their shifts start. They may have to determine what caused a crash and console upset victims. They may apprehend a dangerous criminal, help someone change a flat tire or speak to a group of students about the importance of wearing seatbelts.

In the course of a typical day, troopers are called upon to do many things, all of which contribute to a safer society and help prevent loss of life, personal injury and property destruction. They may:

  • patrol Montana’s highways to enforce federal, state and local traffic laws
  • respond to and investigate crashes, crimes, natural disasters and potential safety hazards on and off Montana’s roads
  • apprehend criminals, including those who transport drugs
  • provide humanitarian aid to citizens
  • give presentations related to traffic and safety, and build positive relations within their community
  • appear in court to assist in prosecuting offenders
  • inspect school buses to ensure that they comply with state and federal laws relating to passenger safety
  • perform emergency transportation of blood, drugs or other medical supplies
  • transport prisoners
  • participate in training (such as CPR, driving and routine firearms training) to maintain skills and proficiency

Specialty Fields

Through additional professional training, Highway Patrol troopers have many opportunities to specialize in a number of fields and to advance, including:

Criminal Interdiction – MHP is committed to reduce the amount of criminal activity on all Montana highways and roads by: Apprehending fugitives, recovering stolen vehicles, confiscating illegal drugs and weapons, cooperating with all enforcement task forces, and sharing intelligence with partner law enforcement agencies at the national, state, and local levels.

Breath Testing to Detect Alcohol Instruction – Teach troopers how to detect and apprehend people who are driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs, including the use of portable breath-testing instruments and how to administer sobriety tests.

Crash Teams – Each of the eight districts within the Montana Highway Patrol has a Fatal Injury Reconstruction Support Team (FIRST) that responds to the scenes of all fatal crashes and some serious injury crashes. The Patrol is responsible for recording the evidence at crash scenes so that violators of the criminal and traffic codes can be prosecuted and victims can recover damages through civil cases.

The members of each district’s crash team are crash investigation specialists with proven expertise in:

  • collision damage interpretation
  • photography, interview and interrogation
  • mapping crash scenes with sophisticated measuring and mapping hardware and software

Executive Protection – Troopers assigned to the Executive Protection Detail provide personal protection to the Governor. Specially trained troopers conduct advance investigations and must be aware of potential security threats and intelligence updates. Detail members are available to the Governor at all times and work under a wide range of conditions. The detail is a member of the National Governors’ Security Association, which shares information with all state and federal protective details.

Field Training – Troopers who exhibit expertise in their duties may apply to become Field Training Officers (FTOs). FTOs are assigned a newly sworn trooper, whom they guide, train and evaluate throughout the eight-week field-training program.

Firearms Instruction – Instruct recruits at the Patrol’s Advanced Traffic Enforcement Course and conduct quarterly firearms testing to ensure that troopers are proficient in the handling and operation of their issued firearms. Firearms instructors also conduct annual written testing on the legal issues surrounding the use of deadly force.

Hazardous Material Instruction – Teach annual courses in detecting and containing chemical and other hazardous spills, and in maintaining public safety in these situations.

Montana Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) Instruction – Troopers may become instructors of several different courses offered as part of MLEA’s Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course. Topics include radar, traffic stops, defensive tactics, motor vehicle laws and other scenario-based training assignments.

Police Vehicle Driving Instruction – Instruct recruits at the Patrol’s Advanced Traffic Enforcement Course and conduct semi-annual trooper driving tests in the safe operation of Patrol vehicles at high speeds and under stressful conditions.

Safety Education – Troopers make presentations about seatbelts, DUI and other important driving safety issues to a variety of groups, including driver education classes.

Special Events Support Unit – The Special Events Support Unit consists of 20 specially trained troopers and six supervisors. At the request of other law enforcement agencies throughout Montana and the nation, the unit provides assistance in situations in which the safety or health of the public is at risk, including disasters, civil disturbances, riots and demonstrations. The unit does not assist in labor disputes.

Weapons Maintenance – Become a designated armorer for a district and maintain records of each trooper’s firearms to ensure compliance with Patrol policies.

Volunteer Specialties

Football – Troopers serve as honorary escorts at home and away football games for University of Montana head coach. Troopers are selected based on appearance, demeanor, job performance and communication ability. The program enhances public relations and provides training for the executive protection program, and troopers enjoy the unique experience of being a part of Griz football.

Honor Guard – Formed in 1994, the Montana Highway Patrol Honor Guard is a small group of highly motivated professionals skilled in drill and ceremony. Troopers apply to become members of the 16-trooper Honor Guard, which lends dignity to all types of official ceremonies including:

  • gun salutes at funerals and memorials
  • flag ceremonies and parades
  • out-of-state funerals of slain police officers

The Honor Guard’s distinctive uniforms are modeled after the first Montana Highway Patrol officers’ apparel. The circular patch on the right breast pocket is the original MHP patch, featuring a spoked wheel and a bison skull.

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Attorney General's Office & Legal Services Division

The Attorney General’s Office, headed by Attorney General Tim Fox, and the Legal Services Division function as the lawyers for the State of Montana. The attorneys in the Office have expertise in a wide range of legal topics and handle a broad range of legal cases involving the State of Montana and its people.

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Children’s Justice Bureau

The Children’s Justice Bureau is an agency-wide initiative at the Montana Department of Justice dedicated to IMPROVING how we respond to child victims, DEVELOPING state-of-the-art approaches by keeping up with the newest research and, most importantly, HELPING child victims recover and move on with their lives.

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Forensic Science Division & State Crime Lab

The mission of the Montana Forensic Science Division is to use operationally efficient and financially responsible practices as the laboratory provides accurate, objective, and timely forensic analyses to the criminal justice community in order to maximize value to the citizens of Montana.

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Missing Persons Clearinghouse

The Missing Children Act of 1985 established a Montana Missing Persons Clearinghouse within the Department of Justice. In March 2008, the department implemented a searchable online database that, for the first time, is updated in real time and includes any photos provided by law enforcement.

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Office of Victim Services

The goal of the Office of Victim Services is to provide tools and information to help crime victims recover from their experience and provide them with a range of services available. The criminal justice system can be confusing and intimidating for victims. To assist them as they go through the justice system, the Office of Victim Service is available to answer any questions they may have.

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Central Services Division

The Montana Department of Justice’s Central Services Division provides financial and human resources support for the department. We make sure that everything works for the people Working for Justice. If you’re interested in a rewarding career helping protect the rights and safety of all Montanans, we invite you to join our team of over 800 dedicated employees working across the state.

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Justice Information Technology Services Division

Our Justice Information Technology Services Division (JITSD) provides vital Information Technology (IT) infrastructure upon which Montanans and lojitsdcal and state law enforcement agencies rely for timely, accurate information. JITSD manages the IT systems, services, and interfaces to support nearly 800 DOJ employees, 325 statewide county motor vehicle system users, and over 3,000 Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) users across the state.

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Division of Criminal Investigation

The Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) at the Montana Department of Justice is involved in many aspects of Montana law enforcement and is integral to the Department dciof Justice’s mission of promoting public safety.

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Montana Highway Patrol

Montana is rich in natural beauty and history. From Glacier Park in the west to Makoshika Park in the east, the men and women of the Montana Highway Patrol are working hard to make your travels safe and enjoyable. The Highway Patrol’s core values are “Service, Integrity and Respect.” These values are reflected in our commitment to public safety through diligent and fair enforcement of our traffic codes.

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Montana Law Enforcement Academy

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy is the premier law enforcement and public safety educational and training institution for state, county, city and tribal officers throughout the state. The Academy offers entry-level programs referred to as Basic Programs and advanced training through an array of Professional Development Programs.

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Public Safety Officer Standards & Training

The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA. Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.

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Motor Vehicle Division

The mission of the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is to identify and promote efficient, cost-effective programs that benefit the interests, safety, and well-being of Montana citizens through licensing, registering, and regulating the motoring activities of the public. The MVD continuously strives for excellence in customer service. Streamlining the way we do business has allowed us to improve our efficiency and make our services more convenient for our customers.

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Natural Resource Damage Program

The Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) was created in 1990 to prepare the state’s lawsuit against the Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB). Decades of mining and mineral processing operations in and around Butte and Anaconda released substantial quantities of hazardous substances into the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown. These hazardous substances extensively degraded the area’s natural resources.

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Office of Consumer Protection

Enforce consumer laws designed to protect the consumer from unfair or deceptive business practices. Enforce statutes relating to telephone solicitation and telemarketing. Provide information to consumers about the Consumer Protection Act. Assist consumers by distributing consumer education materials including scam and consumer alerts. Investigate false, misleading, or deceptive trade practices.

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Gambling Control Division

Through the Gambling Control Division, the Department of Justice regulates all forms of gambling in Montana, except for the Montana Lottery and horse racing. The legislature has charged the division with maintaining a uniform regulatory climate that is fair and free of corrupt influences. The division is also responsible for collecting gambling revenue for state and local governments.

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Human Trafficking

The Montana Department of Justice has a continued commitment to victims of human trafficking. In partnership with federal authorities, our agency plays a key role in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking in Montana. This form of modern day slavery does happen here in Big Sky Country.

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Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Program

Montana’s deadliest drugs aren’t made in secret labs and they don’t always come from dealers on the corner. They’re in our own medicine cabinets. Each year, prescription drug abuse contributes to the deaths of more than 300 Montanans — making prescription drug abuse 15 times more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Our kids report the third-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country and more than half of them say prescription drugs are easier to get than street drugs.

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Safe in Your Space

When it comes to embracing new technology, kids have rapidly outpaced their parents and teachers. By their early school years, many children are already more comfortable on the Internet than their parents. But just because children are smart enough to know how to navigate the Internet, doesn’t mean they have the experience to make good decisions about some of the possibilities they may face online.

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Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

Created by the Montana Department of Justice in 1989, the Sexual or Violent Offender Registry is a valuable resource for Montanans to protect their families against sexual or violent offenders.

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Montana 24/7 Sobriety Program

Drinking and driving has been a chronic – and deadly — problem on Montana’s roadways for decades. In 2008, Montana was ranked as the deadliest state in the nation when it came to per capita DUI-related traffic fatalities.

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Work for Justice

Everyday at The Montana Department of Justice, our employees are dedicated to ensuring the well-being and rights of the people of our great state. We’re passionate about what we do because it’s more than a job or a career. It’s about who we are as people. If this sounds like you, your unique experiences, knowledge, and values may be just what the Montana Department of Justice is looking for and needs. In return we can offer a culture that promotes fairness and growth opportunities.

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