Union Pacific Police Department

The Union Pacific Police Department is the law enforcement agency of the Union Pacific Railroad. Its headquarters is in Omaha, Nebraska and its current Chief of Police is Robert Morrison. The railroad police force dates to the 1850s, when the number of U.S. Marshals was insufficient to police America's growing rail network. U.S. Marshals were replaced with a private police company, the North-Western Police Agency, later known as the Pinkerton Agency.[1] Officers were called Pinkertons, named after their originator, Allan Pinkerton, who founded the private police company in 1855 with Chicago attorney Edward Rucker. Today, the Union Pacific Police Department is one of the sixteen Class I railroad law enforcement agencies across the country.

Jurisdiction and duties

Union Pacific maintains a functioning police department staffed with officers given the title of Special Agent with jurisdiction over crimes against the railroad. Like most railroad police, its primary jurisdiction is unconventional, consisting of 54,116 miles (87,091 kilometers) of track in 23 western U.S. states. Railroad police are certified state law enforcement officers with investigative and arresting powers both on and off railroad property if authorized by the state they are operating within. They also have interstate authority pursuant to federal law; railroad police powers have been expanded to include railroads other than the officer's employing agency.[2] All of the states in Union Pacific's 23 state system authorize full police authority, except for Minnesota and Wyoming, which do not grant authority to railroad police at all.

Special Agents typically investigate major incidents such as derailments, sabotage, grade crossing accidents and hazardous material accidents and minor issues such as trespassing on the railroad right of way, vandalism/graffiti, and theft of company property or customer product. In accordance with their duties, Special Agents have the ability to access the FBI's NCIC database to run suspects and vehicles for wants and warrants, as well as criminal history checks.

Special Agents often coordinate and liaise with local, state, and federal law enforcement on issues concerning the railroad and are dispatched nationally through the Response Management Communications Center (RMCC) in Omaha, Nebraska. The Union Pacific Police Department and the title "Special Agent" were models for the FBI when it was created in 1907.


The Union Pacific Police use a variety of different weapons and vehicles. There are set regulations for the department with respect to weapons. The UP Police are issued the Glock 22, .40SW. They use a number of different vehicles due to their jurisdiction.




  1. "Union Pacific Special Agents". Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  2. "[USC04] 49 USC 28101: Rail police officers". uscode.house.gov. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
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