THP Mulling Name Change

The Tennessee Highway Patrol’s leadership says it wants to rename the agency the Tennessee State Patrol because its role has evolved beyond traffic enforcement in the years since it was established in 1929.

But Safety Department public records requested by The Associated Press show that in the 2009-2010 budget year, just 9 percent of the THP’s total budget was dedicated to areas unrelated to patrolling state highways, such as the governor’s protective detail, Capitol security and criminal investigations.

A Safety Department spokeswoman said those figures don’t give a full picture of the agency’s non-traffic enforcement activities, because the balance of the THP’s spending includes areas like administrators and dispatchers who have multiple responsibilities. But the department wouldn’t be able to give a more specific breakdown without conducting a detailed study.