DMV: Who We Are

Commercial Vehicle Safety Division - Who We Are

A History of Connecticut's Motor Vehicle Inspectors

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In 1917, the Connecticut General Assembly established the Department of Motor Vehicles. The first Commissioner, Robbins B. Stoeckel of Norfolk, was appointed by then Governor Marcus H. Holcomb.  Commissioner Stoeckel appointed 15 Motor Vehicle Inspectors to patrol Connecticut’s eight counties and begin enforcing the state’s new motor vehicle laws. The first Inspectors were paid a salary of $977.00 per year, and over time, other ranks were created including Motor Vehicle Sergeant, Motor Vehicle Lieutenant and Division Chief.  

Today, Motor Vehicle Inspectors are P.O.S.T. certified police officers with statewide arrest powers derived from CGS 14-8. In addition to the academy training that all police officers receive, Motor Vehicle Inspectors receive hundreds of hours of specialized training and are federally certified in the following inspection areas:

  • Motor carriers,
  • Hazardous materials,
  • Cargo tanks, and
  • Motor coach/school bus inspections.
They also perform the following duties on a regular basis:
  • Radiation detection;
  • Laser, DUI and traffic enforcement;
  • CMV drug interdiction;
  • Fatal accident inspection and investigation;
  • Auto theft and chop shop investigations;
  • Homeland Security duties;
  • Judicial outreach; and
  • Public speaking.                                  

Inspectors patrol state and local highways in their police cruisers where they utilize the latest technologies to perform the Department’s primary function of protecting life and property. Inspectors are assigned to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Division and work in the following units: Auto Theft Unit, Dealer Enforcement Unit, Investigation Unit, School Transportation Unit, Truck Squads, and Training Unit.  The Commercial Vehicle Safety Division also works numerous assignments each year educating the public, state legislators, motor carriers and industry associations about motor vehicle safety issues.  Inspectors also hold police academy certifications as law enforcement instructors and field training officers. The arrest log lists some of the Inspectors' monthly activity in the various units.      

{DMV Inspectors}

Important dates in the history of Motor Vehicle Inspectors are listed below:

1917 – The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles is created by legislative act.  Commissioner Stoeckel appoints Deputy Motor Vehicle Inspectors.

1919 – The State Legislature authorizes an increase to 30 uniformed Motor Vehicle Inspectors equipped with motorcycles.  A primary function is to weigh and inspect trucks on the New York and Massachusetts state lines.  The Inspectors work under the direction of a Lieutenant and a Chief Inspector.

1920 – Inspector Ralph C. Young is killed in the discharge of his duties in Windham County following a car crash.

1921 – The State Legislature requires all new locations for gas stations be inspected and approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

1929 – The Inspection Section is formed including a Special Investigation unit.

1933 – The Dealers and Repairers section is established and later becomes a Division headed by Chief Edwin Pratt.

1934 – Motor Vehicle Inspectors inspect 500 school buses before school opens the first week of September.  All school buses are inspected annually.

1935 – Inspection Lanes are opened by DMV for semi-annual vehicle inspections.

1936 – As a direct result of the semi-annual inspections, a stolen 1935 Oldsmobile is recovered by Inspectors. 

1939 – The Commissioner publishes the first list of school bus driver safety rules.

1945 – The Department obtains the first dual-controlled car.  Inspectors use this car to help train disabled veterans returning from World War II.

1950 – The Department of Motor Vehicles Investigation Unit recovers 30 stolen cars.

1967 - The State Legislature mandates eight inspection districts be created for the continuing inspection of school buses.

1986 – The Department of Motor Vehicles is named the lead state agency to administer the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP).

1992 – Lt. Gov. Rell accepts the ‘Partners in Excellence Award’ on behalf of CT Motor Vehicle Inspectors.  The award is given by the Federal DOT for excellence in the MCSAP program.

1995 – The Union Weigh Station on I-84 is officially opened and staffed by Motor Vehicle Inspectors. Their cruisers are fitted with laptop computers and printers.

1998 – The State Legislature mandates minimum staffing and hours of operation for the Greenwich, Danbury and Union Weigh Stations by the Departments of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety.

1999 – Inspectors trade in their aging .357 revolvers for new Glock .40 caliber pistols.

2002 – New high-band portable radios are issued to Inspectors.

2005 – A deadly dump-truck crash kills four at the bottom of Avon Mtn. Inspectors are called in to assist Avon PD with the investigation and vehicle inspections. The truck’s owner is subsequently arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

2009 – Inspectors seize $36,000 in cash from a tractor-trailer driver who began his trip in Mexico.  Some of the money is used to equip DMV's police cruisers.

2011 – The State Legislature gives the Department of Motor Vehicles sole authority to staff and coordinate hours of operation at the state’s six weigh stations.

2013 – The Connecticut DMV is the first law enforcement agency in the state to have the NexGen CAD-RMS system and E-Ticket installed in all their police cruisers.

2017 - Inspectors celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles.


Content Last Modified on 8/30/2018 2:32:30 PM