The “Cowboy” PA State Troopers – True to Form Yet Again …

Written by Gregory Monte.

As I indicated in yesterday’s blog post, the Pennsylvania State Police step-up enforcement on the roads during each holiday season and then report the results of their efforts on the  “Pennsylvania Pressroom” page.  

Well, the results are now in for Thanksgiving.

Before I discuss those results, let me remind readers that this is the fourth installment in a series discussing the interesting fact that some Pennsylvania State Police (Troops A, F & G) issue way more speeding tickets than others (Troops D, P & R).  You can read the other posts to get some more background information on this situation:

The Results – Cowboys “Win” Again

Over the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the total number of speeding tickets issued by the A/F/G “Cowboy” Troopers was 4,542 compared with only 1,416 for the D/P/R “Reasonable” Troopers. 

Clearly, that is a whole lot more tickets – but are there factors which account for this huge discrepancy?

In previous posts, I eliminated three possible factors which could account for this difference.  You can click on the links to see my reasoning about why each factor doesn’t explain away the discrepancy.

Other Factors?

Realizing that I hadn’t eliminated every possible factor which might account for the differential, I challenged readers back in my September post to make suggestions…

“… while I haven’t done an in-depth study on this issue, the factors that I have looked at don’t account for the speeding ticket differential.  If any reader has a suggestion about what else I should focus on, I would gladly accept the challenge.”

One reader suggested that I look into the possibility that local police departments are also patrolling the D/P/R counties and issuing speeding tickets.  This would mean that I would need to include those locally-issued tickets in my totals in order to make a proper comparison.   

At first, this appeared to be a reasonable suggestion.  After all, if the State Police are the primary enforcers in A/F/G “Cowboy” counties (because they don’t have local police), their total would, logically, be much higher.

Turns out that this is probably not the case at all.  USACOPS lists all of the police departments in Pennsylvania broken down by county.  The total number of local departments in the A/F/G “Cowboy” counties is 146 while the number in the D/P/R “Reasonable” counties is 151.  The fact that there are basically the same number of local police departments in each set of counties suggests that local police issuance of speeding tickets doesn’t account for the higher totals in A/F/G.

Is it possible that the local police departments in the D/F/G counties are writing more tickets, thus making up for the fewer number issued by the “Reasonable” Troopers?  I suppose, but further research would need to be done to show this. 

In the meantime, if you are thinking of travelling in PA over the upcoming Christmas/New Year’s Holiday, I would suggest you watch your speed closely in the following A/F/G counties:

“Cambria, Indiana, Somerset, Westmorland, Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Tioga, Bedford, Blair, Centre, Fulton, Huntingdon, Mifflin/Juniata.”

Either that or get yourself a radar detector …

Check out my latest commentary on the “cowboy” troopers posted on December 12 – The “Cowboy” PA State Trooper Speeding Ticket Anomaly.


5 thoughts on “The “Cowboy” PA State Troopers – True to Form Yet Again …

  1. Perhaps you should compare the volume of traffic traveling roads in the counties. Also, do the counties with lower ticket counts have fewer local PDs. If there are fewer local PDs, the troopers may have to spend more time on calls for service and less time on traffic enforcement.

    Other factors to look at may be accident rates in the counties. Areas with more accident rates normally get more strict enforcement. Requests for enforcement may be another factor to look at.


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