Louisiana Voice has discovered some reasons the Louisiana Sheriffs support Colonel Mike Edmonson as LSP commander. LouisianaVoice found cases of hiring and promotion of sheriffs’ relatives. LSP began hiring investigators after years during which LSP offered no Trooper academies to supplement the ranks because of budgetary cuts. Many were retired Troopers and most were highly qualified to do the same job as the Troopers they worked alongside.
We made identical public records requests of LSP and Louisiana Civil Service for a list of investigators and their salaries. LSP chose to play games because we asked only for “investigators” and did not specify “criminal investigators.” We received prompt records from Civil Service but we are still waiting for a response from LSP. Somehow, we’re beginning to get the feeling we’re being stonewalled by LSP.
Tommy Ambrose, Son in law of former Allen Parish Sheriff Hal Turner (Former LSA President)
Tommy Ambrose was hired as an investigator with LSP on July 29, 2013, at a salary of $40,518, about $5,000 more than a starting Trooper or the same salary as a Trooper with up to six years of experience. He resigned five months later, on Jan. 11, 2014. He was sent to the local regional law enforcement academy in Lake Charles because he was not a peace officer standard and training (POST) certified officer. According to sources, there is no other known instance of an investigator being hired who was not certified to be a police officer. According to other sources, there were applicants competing for the position with law enforcement certification and decades of experience. Public records showed Ambrose was being investigated but resigned before the investigation was complete. LSP denied our public records request for the investigation file. During his short tenure with LSP, sources say the best description was a history of inadequate performance, policy violations, and suspected criminal activity quickly overlooked after making a call to Colonel Edmonson’s cell phone. The situation got so bad Edmonson could not even justify it any longer and he resigned.
Tony Mancuso III, son of Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso (Former LSA President)
Mancuso was hired by LSP as an investigator (Not a Trooper) at an exorbitant salary. Tony Mancuso III was hired on June 23, 2014, at a salary of $61,100. He got his first raise three months later to $63,564.80. He was given another raise and a promotion 8 months later in 2015 to $68,016. We compared that salary with other LSP Troopers and LSP Investigators.
- Mancuso was hired at a salary $22,587.76 higher than a new Trooper who completed the State Police Academy. Mancuso did not attend the state police academy. We cannot confirm if Mancuso was even qualified to apply to be a State Trooper.
- Within three months at LSP, Mancuso was making more than a Trooper with over 20 years of experience and a Sergeant with 18 years of experience. A Trooper had to meet the qualifications, go through the state police academy, and serve 20 years to get the same salary as Mancuso walked in the door with.
- After the Troopers received two massive pay increases, his salary went up as well. He currently makes $20,000 more than a starting Trooper. He currently makes as much as Trooper with 11 years of service although he has less than two years as an investigator with LSP.
- Mancuso is paid $11,107.20 more than an Theodore Trunick, an investigator of the same rank in the same office even though Trunick has more experience at LSP and had extensive law enforcement experience prior to joining LSP. Mancuso was hired at $61,100. Trunick was hired at $43,076, nearly $18,000 less than Mancuso.
- Mancuso is paid more than a long line of retired LSP Troopers, Lieutenants, Captains, and other law enforcement officers with decades of experience.
- Mancuso was hired over another applicant, Mike Hebert. Hebert, a graduate of the FBI National Academy and who had more than 30 years of law enforcement experience than Mancuso, applied for the same position. Hebert was eventually hired and remains at a salary of $61,100 which is $6,916 less than Mancuso.
- Mancuso is the fifth-highest paid LSP Criminal Investigator in the state. Let’s take a look at the top four.
- Shelly Hopkins: $74,422: Retired LSP explosives expert with an estimated 40 years of experience.
- Daryle Graham: $73,902, supervisor/ criminal investigator level 4 with 37 years of experience.
- Cayce Grimes: $70,740, former police chief, FBI National Academy, decades of Experience
- Hampton Guillory: $68,681, decades of experience
We tried to find someone comparable to Mancuso but we found no other investigator with so little experience. Most of the investigators are retired from law enforcement agencies with decades of experience but all of whom make less than Mancuso. Mancuso is in his late twenties with an unknown history of law enforcement experience or education.
Brad Guidroz, Son of St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz
Mike Hebert competed for a promotion shortly before he retired. On the surface, he would have seemed the logical choice. He was passed over for Brad Guidroz. At the time of Guidroz’s promotion, he reportedly had six years’ experience with LSP. Hebert had a distinguished career with LSP to go along with his 30 years’ experience and FBI Academy credentials. Some speculated his being passed over in favor of Guidroz this was the reason for Hebert’s retirement. Hebert retired, expecting an immediate rehire position with LSP but those plans were thwarted with the hiring of Mancuso. Hebert was eventually rehired after two months—at a lower salary than Mancuso.
Most of these hires came about during a four-year stretch when LSP salaries were frozen which meant troopers with say, 20 years’ experience, were being paid at the rate of 16-year veterans.
If it walks like a duck
When you put all this together it is difficult to come to any conclusion other than Edmonson has used his authority to hire and promote in exchange for the political endorsement of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association. We are not ignorant to the fact this type of stuff happens all the time and know there are more stories of political favors. We just never thought it would be so out in the open. This is another example of Edmonson putting his own interests ahead of the needs of the people of the state of Louisiana. Giving away positions for political favors can result in less qualified people protecting the citizens and their fellow officers.