The Duties of a State Police Officer

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    • Performing interrogations are one responsibiliy of state police officers.Police image by Zeno from Fotolia.com

      State police officers, also know as highway patrol officers or state troopers, are law enforcement agents who provide police services on a statewide level. The professionals are the primary law enforcement agents in counties or communities without a local police force or sheriff's department. Some duties of state police officers include conducting interviews and interrogations, enforcing driving under the influence laws, and presenting testimony.

    Conducting Interviews and Interrogations

    • State police officers are responsible for conducting interviews and performing interrogations. Some of the people interviewed include the alleged perpetrators, potential witnesses, fellow law enforcement officers and the alleged victims. Since it is possible for defendants to claim police harassment, some state police officers record their interviews or interrogations with an electronic recording such as a tape recorder or videotape. This helps state police officers and the officer's department protect themselves against police harassment claims.

    Enforcing Driving Under the Influence and Traffic Laws

    • State police officers are involve in enhancing public safety through highway traffic enforcement and public education. These law enforcement specialists observe drivers who may have taken drugs or used alcohol. An officer who notices a speeding car can ask the driver to stop and leave the car. One way to test a driver's responses is walking in a straight line. If the driver walks slowly or keeps falling, an officer administers a roadside alcohol breath test. If the driver fails the sobriety test, state police officers can make an arrest and complete a warrant application to obtain blood and urine samples.

    Presenting Testimony

    • A police investigation can require testimony. State police officers are qualified to present testimony about criminal and civil court cases. One type of court case involves testimony in a traffic investigation such as motor vehicle theft, fatal traffic accident, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Before a court case, a defendant's attorney may take a sworn statement from a state police officer known as a deposition. During a police investigation, the district attorney and defendant's attorney can consider testimony based on how the officer answers questions and the officer's signed deposition. The officer is asked to describe a police interview with a suspect, the suspect's behavior and how crime scene evidence was collected.

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