If there is one thing we’ve learned in the six-year existence of LouisianaVoice, it’s that if there is a political rumor floating around out there, there is generally at least a grain of truth to it.
That’s why there was no great surprise at the faint rumblings that the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association might be making a quiet push for the appointment of Lt. Col. Charles Dupuy to succeed Mike Edmonson as Superintendent of State Police.
Never mind that in Wednesday’s meeting during which Edmonson told his staff he was stepping down, he is said to have accused Dupuy of undermining him in the aftermath of that ill-fated trip to San Diego that ultimately proved to be Edmonson’s undoing.
(Incidentally, that schmaltzy six-paragraph formal statement issued by Edmonson on Wednesday as he announced his retirement was written not by Edmonson, but by Ronnie Jones, Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. Apparently, Edmonson was more comfortable with a ghost writer than in formulating his own, heartfelt statement.)
But back to the appointment of a successor to Edmonson.
Gov. John Bel Edwards will make the appointment and if he’s adept at political hindsight, he will proceed very carefully with making this decision. He has already been publicly embarrassed by bending to the will of the sheriffs in reappointing Edmonson. He should be extremely careful about heeding the advice of the sheriffs a second time.
If Edwards chooses to listen to the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association (LSA) again without giving thorough and careful consideration to the qualifications of a number of capable, better qualified candidates, he will have proven himself as much of a political hack as anyone who has ever occupied the governor’s office.
There are several things the governor should consider before rushing in to anoint Dupuy as the next superintendent:
- Dupuy is Edmonson’s second in command and as such, is very much a part of the overall problems of low morale now plaguing LSP—brought on by the proliferation of the good-ole-boy fraternity of upper management.
- It was the state vehicle assigned to Dupuy—a Ford Expedition, that was driven by four troopers to that San Diego conference. That necessarily means Dupuy had to have approved the use of the vehicle for that purpose.
- One of the occupants of that vehicle, Maj. Derrell Williams submitted expense reports that contained Dupuy’s signature of approval.
Dupuy was already a captain when Edmonson was appointed superintendent by Bobby Jindal in 2008. He was promoted to major on Jan. 28, 2010, two years after Edmonson’s appointment. Less than a year later, on Jan. 10, 2011, Dupuy was moved up to Deputy Superintendent for Operations Planning and Training.
Edmonson kept Dupuy on the career fast track, promoting him again on April 9, 2012, to Assistant Superintendent and Chief of Staff. Over that timeframe, Dupuy’s salary went from $80,000 to $161,300, an increase of 101.6 percent even as state civil service employees have been denied 3 percent cost of living increases.
Nor has that largesse been limited to Dupuy. His wife, Kelly Dupuy, was a sergeant making $59,800 when Edmonson was appointed top cop. Her acceleration through the ranks has been equally impressive. She was promoted to lieutenant on Oct. 27, 2009, just three months before her husband was promoted to major. She made captain on Oct. 25, 2014, and today makes $117,000 per year. That computes to a 95.6 percent pay increase since 2009.
Moreover, the current positions held by Kelly Dupuy and Edmonson’s brother, Maj. Paul Edmonson, did not exist before their respective promotions; their positions were created especially for them to be promoted into in the same manner in which a lieutenant colonel’s position was created last August at the specific request of Mike Edmonson on behalf of Jason Starnes.
If all that is not reason enough to give pause to Edwards in his decision on a successor to Edmonson, consider that Dupuy was Edmonson’s hatchet man when Edmonson literally tried to destroy the career of one of his troopers over a largely manufactured incident in 2010—all because the trooper had been involved in a previous confrontation with Dupuy. https://louisianavoice.com/2014/08/21/a-word-of-caution-to-state-troopers-dont-anger-the-powers-that-be-if-you-dont-want-legal-problems-like-case-from-2010/
So now the apparent frontrunner for Edmonson’s job is Charles Dupuy. He is being supported by the sheriffs and the sheriffs have the ear of the governor. From our vantage point, it would seem that Dupuy is positioned perfectly to move into Edmonson’s chair and to wreak havoc on those he thinks may have been our sources.
And while it’s a point of some smug satisfaction to know that the people he suspects are not our sources (he’s not even close), it concerns us that he would use his newfound power and his vindictiveness to go after innocent people who have done nothing more grievous than to try to do their jobs in an honest, straightforward manner.
And nothing will have changed. The for sale sign will still be a fixture at LSP headquarters.
So, Gov. Edwards, be very careful. You have already made two serious mistakes in listening to the LSA and by acceding to its wishes in reappointing Edmonson and Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections Jimmy LeBlanc. The situation there is every bit as much a ticking time bomb as LSP. You can ill-afford another Angola scandal and you certainly do not need to appoint someone at LSP who is just going to be a continuation of the current problems.
Without cleaning house at LSP and without making a wise appointment of a new reputable colonel with no political baggage, you will only be setting yourself up for more political problems that you don’t need and which will doubtless be exploited by those who want to see you fail.