Wisconsin State Patrol (WI)

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In 1939, the Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) was created, including an enforcement division which was the beginning of the State Patrol. The MVD later spawned the Department of Transportation, but the State Patrol stayed a bureau of the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) until late 20th Century. At that time, the Bureau of State Patrol became it's own division within DOT - the Division of State Patrol, with the Superintendent answering directly to the DOT Secretary and the Governor.

Effective 2005, the Division of State Patrol no longer has 7 districts. The division, along with its parent agency, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, have been re-organized. The move realigned DOT, DSP and DMV boundaries to match each other by regions instead of districts. As it pertains to the State Patrol, each region now has one or two Posts, addressed by what city it's located in.

The current regions and State Patrol posts are:

Southwest Region

  • DeForest Post
  • Tomah Post

Southeast Region

  • Waukesha Post

Northeast Region

  • Fond du Lac Post

Northcentral Region

  • Wausau Post

Northwest Region

  • Eau Claire Post
  • Spooner Post

A printable .pdf map of the DSP regions/posts - WSP Region Map


The State Patrol handles day-to-day operations under the following:

Bureau of Field Operations

  • Provides traffic law enforcement services and promotes highway safety, accomplished by troopers and police communications operators located in State Patrol Posts statewide

Bureau of Public Security & Communications

  • Engineers, administers, operates and maintains sophisticated wireless communications and information systems. These systems include a digital microwave backbone, State Patrol and DNR voice communications systems and the Mobile Data Communications Network (MDCN) serving 160 law enforcement agencies across the state. Of historical note, the WSP installed the first statewide public safety microwave network starting about 1953.

Bureau of Transportation Safety

  • Provides a department-wide focus for safety program and safety policy analysis, carries out public outreach on safety issues, administers the statewide chemical testing program, oversees motor carrier safety and weight facilities (SWEFs), and inspects and regulates motor carriers, school buses and ambulances. This is the bureau that motor carrier Inspectors work out of.

Office of the Academy

  • Provides diverse training for State Patrol and DNR recruits, federal and local law enforcement officers, and state employees. The facility, located at Fort McCoy, is used by other agencies for training programs as well.

Wisconsin State Patrol Radio Network

The WSP Bureau of Communications is responsible for the installation and maintenance of equipment for about 100 base stations, about 600 vehicles and the various communications centers statewide. This equipment serves the State Patrol, DNR and various local and federal agencies as needed.

The statewide backbone consists of a digital microwave system that carries voice and data of various types across the state. It is a standalone network that is not dependent on outside service providers (telco, etc) to function. The voice and data networks previously used analog conventional VHF channels in the 150-160 MHz range. Operations have now moved to the WISCOM statewide TRS.

Each Post has a primary dispatch talkgroup that is used for day-to-day operations. The State Patrol also has tactical frequencies at some sites to allow specific incidents to be handled off the dispatch channel. All regions have several VLAW31 (WISPERN) and Point bases to cover their area. There are also several MARC repeaters operated by WSP in some areas of the state where there otherwise wouldn't be one.

2015-2016 New Installs

Each car has been out fitted with LTE mobile data cards. These cards are replacing the VHF mobile IP-Mobile Net system. The squads are also outfitted with X10DR Wireless microphones, these are a digital system that is connected to the mobile radio installed in the vehicle.

All vehicles also received new EF Johnson VM900 VHF/700/800 multi-band radios. These radios are either replacing or will be in addition to the Kenwood TK-5710 radios, depending on area of operations and needs. The EF Johnson radio will be primarily for trunking systems and the Kenwood if equipped will be used on county conventional systems.

Pre-WISCOM Setup

The Mobile Data system has been turned off and the mobile vehicular repeaters have been removed from service The State Patrol's Mobile Data Communications Network (MDCN) is an IP-based data system used by the State Patrol, DNR, DOJ and about 160 local/county agencies. Since the MDCN uses the State Patrol's robust digital microwave network to move data around, it is generally unaffected by public network service interruption (wireless, telco etc).

Each State Patrol cruiser assigned to field personnel comes equipped with a 110w P25-compliant Kenwood VHF radio, a VHF vehicular repeater for communications outside the unit, a VHF data radio for MDCN access and a laptop dock for the officer's Panasonic Toughbook computer. Each officer carries a VHF portable radio for use outside of the unit or for interoperable communications. Both VHF voice radios are programmed with the latest interoperable channel plan.

Some personnel are issued 800 MHz trunked mobile and/or portable radios for communications on some county trunked radio systems used in parts of the state.

Related Links

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