The Department of Public Safety was established by the Omnibus State Reorganization Act of 1974, which reorganized Missouri state government into the modern structure of executive departments we know today. The act, Senate Bill 1, was signed into law on Feb. 14, 1974, and required agencies such as the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Liquor Control, State Fire Marshal, the Safety and Fire Prevention Bureau of the Department of Health and Public Welfare, the Missouri Boat Commission, and others to be transferred to the new Department of Public Safety by July 1, 1974.

Section 11 of the reorganization act states:

The department’s role will be to provide overall coordination in the state’s public safety and law enforcement program, to provide channels of coordination with local and federal agencies in regard to public safety, law enforcement and with all correctional and judicial agencies in regard to matters pertaining to its responsibilities as they may interrelate with the other agencies or offices of state, local or federal governments.

According to the 1975-76 Official Manual of the State of Missouri, the first DPS Director, Michael D. Garrett, and five other initial central office employees had responsibility for managing the department’s eight original “units.”

DPS logo Highway Patrol logo State Emergency Management logo Fire Safety logo Capitol Police logo Alcohol Tobacco logo Veterans Commission logo Gaming Commission logo

Today, DPS is led by Director Sandy Karsten, who is responsible for operational oversight of seven divisions – the Missouri State Highway Patrol, State Emergency Management Agency, Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, Missouri Capitol Police, Division of Fire Safety, the Missouri Veterans Commission and the Missouri Gaming Commission – and direction of DPS’s central management division, known as the Office of the Director, which now has 81 team members. In addition to overseeing DPS divisions, the Office of the Director directly administers programs that support local law enforcement and other first responders, emergency management, school safety, crime victims, and interoperable communications across the state through grants, training and information sharing.

Lewis and Clark Building

The Missouri Department of Public Safety Office of the Director is housed in the Lewis and Clark State Office Building, along the Missouri River, in Jefferson City.

Office of the Director Programs

Office of Homeland SecurityThe Missouri Office of Homeland Security administers and coordinates programs designed to build a more secure Missouri through counterterrorism training and funding; cybersecurity information sharing, education and exercises; law enforcement information sharing and active-threat training; threat and hazard identification and risk assessment; critical infrastructure protection; and statewide law enforcement mutual aid. The team operates with the core understanding that close collaboration and coordination with local, regional, state and federal partners is essential to fulfilling these wide-ranging homeland security missions.

GrantsDPS Grants administers grants to over 1,950 grant recipients receiving funding for everything from boosting rural deputy sheriffs’ pay and supporting regional drug interdiction task forces to terrorism prevention and building resilience against critical incidents among first responders. In 2023, the grants program managed grants sending over $216 million to enhance public safety in Missouri, more than 80% of which is directed to local agencies.

POSTThe Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Program has responsibility for licensing and ensuring compliance with peace officer continuing education requirements for Missouri’s 15,815 licensed law enforcement officers. POST’s four investigators conduct investigations for disciplining the licenses of peace officers as specified by Missouri statute. The POST Program also licenses law enforcement basic training centers, basic training instructors, approves law enforcement training curricula, and provides staff support for the POST Commission.

Office of Vitims of CrimesThe Office for Victims of Crime administers grant programs and services for Missouri crime victims and at-risk youth and their families, including the Missouri Crime Victims’ Compensation Program, Sexual Assault and Child Physical Abuse Forensic Examination programs, Missouri Victim Automated Notification System (MOVANS) and the Pretrial Witness Protection Services Fund. In 2023, MOVANS delivered over 675,000 automated case notifications to crime victims. In Fiscal Year 2023, OVC distributed over $3.5 million to support victims and their families; and over $3.5 in reimbursements to providers for sexual assault and child physical abuse forensic examinations. In Fiscal Year 2024, the OVC grant section awarded over $11.9 million to agencies providing services to victims.

MOSWINThe Missouri Interoperability Center manages the Missouri Statewide Interoperability Network (MOSWIN), which allows state, local and federal response partners to communicate with each other across the state. MOSWIN is a network of communications towers, base stations and communications software and has over 150 tower sites statewide with over 55,000 radios used by more than 1,500 agencies for internal communications or as an interoperability platform with local, state and federal agencies.

Today, the Missouri Department of Public Safety has more than 4,000 employees who continue to strive to protect the lives and property of all Missourians in cooperation with other public and private safety agencies across the state.

Governor Mike Parson has issued a proclamation commending the Department of Public Safety for 50 years of devoted public service. Read the proclamation.

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The Missouri Department of Public Safety.
Many Missions. One Team.