Pennsylvania State Police History Continued...
In 1993, the Department purchased 4,500 new .40-caliber Beretta semiautomatic weapons. It had been more than a decade since the last purchase of new weapons.
On July 31, 1993, the Pennsylvania State Police became the largest accredited police agency in the world. In order to gain accredited status from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, the Department had to comply with 733 professional police standards.
In February 1994, the department purchased 15 trooper robots to bolster State Police educational programs for young children. The 4-foot tall robots, which are dressed as troopers, weigh 80 pounds. Their voice, heads, eyes, lips, arms, hands and motion are controlled by wireless remote control.
In December of 1994, Virginia Smith-Elliott became the first woman promoted to the rank of major. She served as the Department's Affirmative Action Officer.
In May of 1995, the Department contracted with KPMG-Peat Marwick LLP (KPMG) to evaluate the Department's business processes and to develop an information technology strategic plan. On June 30, 1996, KPMG delivered to State Police and the Executive Information Technology Steering Committee an information technology strategic plan which was accepted by the Department. In September of 1996, the Department issued a request for proposal for the implementation of the Enterprise Network computer system, which was the first priority listed in the information technology strategic plan. In July of 1997, a preliminary award was given to IBM Corp. for the implementation of the network. On Nov. 29, 1997, the Bureau of Technology Services was created from the former Information Systems Division of the Bureau of Records and Information Services to support the growing technology needs of the Department. On June 11, 1998, a formal contract was put in place between State Police and IBM for implementation of the Enterprise Network
In August of 1995, the Department formed a Ceremonial Unit to standardize the response and appearance of members at funerals and parades. The unit, which consists of a Color Guard, Casket Team and a Firing Detail, provides services at the funerals of active and retired members. In addition, the Color Guard responds to requests for appearances at parades and ceremonies.
In April of 1996, Commissioner Paul J. Evanko authorized the use of video cameras in patrol cars. The cameras were designed to provide additional documentation of patrol stops. The Department initially equipped 66 marked patrol cars with the video cameras.
On July 12, 1996, the Troop B, Pittsburgh Station was closed.
On May 12, 1997, the 100th Cadet Class graduated 129 new troopers from the Academy in Hershey.
In February 1997, the Department acquired the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) through the use of federal grant monies and the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. IBIS analyzes bullets and cartridge cases and can compare every firearm, bullet and cartridge case to each other and against the bullets and cartridge cases previously entered into the database. IBIS is able to compare "electronic exhibits" from any location using IBIS technology. On May 17, 1997, Area V was realigned by consolidating the interstate troop, Troop S, into adjacent county troop commands. In early 1997, a cadet qualifying examination was developed and approved by an expert panel as valid, job-related and non-discriminatory.
On Sept. 10 and 11, 1997, the cadet examination was administered and a joint motion was submitted to the court for dissolution of the consent decree.
On July 1, 1997, the Department ceased its participation in the Attorney General's regional Drug Strike Forces. Tactical Narcotic Teams were organized at the troop level to work with troop Vice Units for a more coordinated effort in intelligence gathering, surveillance, undercover operations and interdiction.
In October 1997, 15 specially equipped, all-wheel-drive Forensic Unit vans were distributed to the troops to be used by Identification Units when responding to crime and crash scenes. Each van was equipped with police lightbars, an elevated platform, roof-mounted spotlights, cell phone, storage compartments, and a folding ladder. The vans carry specialized investigative equipment, including cameras, metal detectors, forensic light sources, electrostatic dust print lifters, fingerprint processing equipment, and evidence vacuums.
On Jan. 1, 1998, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation assumed responsibility for the administrative supervision of Safety/Emissions Inspection Stations and motor vehicle dealers, thus relieving the Department of the responsibility of official inspection station regulatory functions.
On Feb. 12, 1998, the inspection of underground storage tanks, pumps and related devices was transferred from State Police to the Department of Labor and Industry.
In 1999 the Headquarters of Troop H was moved from Department Headquarters, where it had been located since 1978, to a separate facility near Hershey. A State Police Citizens’ Police Academy Program was implemented at the troop level as a 10-12 week course to educate the public about the activities and responsibilities of State Police.
State Police provided large security task forces for the National Governors’ Association's 92nd Annual Business Meeting in State College from July 8-11, 2000, and the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia from July 29-Aug. 4, 2000.
The State Police Incident Information Management System enters the initial design phase in 2000. IIMS was conceived to automate a number of manual processes to make the Department’s operations more efficient and provide increased trooper safety. Major components of the plan included the use of computers in patrol cars, consolidating and computerizing dispatching functions from 81 stations to five regional centers, and developing a records and evidence tracking management system.
A State Police task force assisted the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department with security during the Presidential Inauguration ceremonies on Jan. 19-20, 2001.
Act 100 of 2001 increased the State Police enlisted complement by the addition of 370 positions to 4,310, exclusive of the 235 members assigned to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. However, only 100 of the additional 370 authorized positions were funded initially. On March 7, 2001, the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System was activated. The Internet-based program enabled agencies to submit UCR or National Incident-Based Reporting System data on-line or by file upload.
The first Operation Clean Sweep, a waste hauler regulation enforcement effort, was conducted in May 2001 by the State Police, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and PennDOT.
A State Police Clandestine Laboratory Response Team was formed in 2001. The team, consisting of enlisted personnel and forensic scientists, respond to illegal methamphetamine production sites to contain and clean up the hazardous materials used to manufacture the drug.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, two hijacked jetliners hit the World Trade Center in New York and one struck the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C. A fourth hijacked plane (United Flight 93) crashed into a field near Shanksville in Somerset County. A total of 628 State Police members and civilian personnel provided crime scene security, assisted in recovery efforts, mapped the search area, provided aerial photographs and coordinated the efforts of responding agencies at the crash site of United Flight 93 from September 11-30. Immediately following the event, all members were placed on 12-hour shifts and increased statewide patrols were initiated.
As a result of the events of September 11, the Department and the Pennsylvania National Guard were ordered by the Governor to provide security at the commonwealth’s 28 airports and five nuclear power facilities. Security at the airports was provided from September 2001 to May 2002. Security at the nuclear facilities remained in effect for more than a year and a half.
On Oct. 5, 2001, the State Police was tasked with security of Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker’s inauguration as governor following the resignation of Gov. Tom Ridge to take a federal position.
Pennsylvania’s Amber Plan, a system that uses emergency alerts by radio and television stations to notify the public about non-family abductions of children, was implemented by the Department in February 2002.
On March 7, 2002, the State Police Forensic Laboratory system obtained national accreditation through the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board.
The first Operation STRIKE (Safe Trucks in the Keystone) Three was initiated in 2002 in cooperation with PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. It concentrated on commercial vehicle enforcement and inspection operations. The first Operation COBRA (Combined Operation on the Beltway to Reduce Accidents) was conducted in 2002 with State Police, PennDOT, municipal police departments, and federal motor carrier inspectors participating. The effort concentrated on the interstate beltway and major roads around the Harrisburg.
In 2002, the first Operation Nighthawk, a specialized two-day training and enforcement program aimed at reducing drinking and driving, was initiated by the State Police for patrol troopers and local police. It was conducted in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence Association.
The first Operation CRISP (Crash Reduction In Southwestern Pennsylvania) was conducted from June 2002 through May 2003 with increased patrol efforts to identify and arrest motorists driving under the influence in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Washington counties.
On July 1, 2002, the State Police began collecting pursuit data electronically through the Pennsylvania Police Pursuit Reporting System. Prior to this, data had been collected manually.
The Department was accredited by the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission on July 15, 2002, after complying with 108 program standards.
In August 2002, the first of five regional computer crime task forces was established in Area I. The task forces consist of federal, state, county and local law-enforcement officers who share resources and expertise to investigate computer-related crimes ranging from fraud to child pornography.
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