A 26-year Louisiana State Police (LSP) veteran from North Louisiana has been named by Gov. John Bel Edwards as the interim Superintendent of State Police to succeed Col. Mike Edmonson as State Police Superintendent, the governor’s office announced on Tuesday.
But the inside word received by LouisianaVoice is that the interim part of Maj. Kevin Reeves’ new title may be short-lived as Edwards is expected to name him the permanent superintendent in time for confirmation by the State Senate in June. State law requires the Louisiana State Police superintendent to be a trooper from within the agency’s ranks.
Reeves, a native of Baton Rouge, is a 1990 graduate of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston and currently resides in Jonesboro.
He began his career at the LSP in 1990 when he was assigned to motorcycle patrols with Troop A in Baton Rouge. His career took him to Troop F in Monroe in 1993, where he served as a squad leader for the mobile field force and as a case agent and undercover agent on narcotics investigations and operations for the Bureau of Investigations.
In 2008, he became the Troop Commander of Troop F before assuming the role of Command Inspector of Patrol Operations and Commander of Statewide Mobile Field Force Team in 2013. Major Reeves is married to Kristi Hall Reeves and they have three children – Kaleb, Kyle and Klayton. He currently makes $150,000 per year.
Reeves is scheduled to meet with Edwards on Thursday to discuss the transition in LSP administration.
His most pressing objective will be to shore up morale among the state’s 1,500 rank and file State Troopers who, despite generous pay raises, have continued to express dismay in the way in which the Baton Rouge headquarters, under its current leadership, had taken on the appearance of a frat house instead of a professional organization.
LouisianaVoice has learned that one of Edmonson’s inner circle, Lt. Col. Charles Dupuy, though bitter at not being named Edmonson’s successor, will nevertheless be retained as Reeves’ Chief of Staff.
“That’s bad,” said one retired state trooper.
It was not immediately known if Reeves had the backing of the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association and if so, if the retention of Dupuy was a trade-off for that support. The sheriffs were said to have been lobbying hard for Dupuy.
A veteran State Trooper described Reeves as “common sense, ethical, respected, respectable, and just as good as or better than any other choice as a permanent replacement for Edmonson. He makes good, solid decisions in the face of complicated issues when everyone else cannot. Essentially, he is polar opposite of Mike Edmonson.”
Reeves, for his part, said, “I would like to establish an atmosphere where we’re inclusive of our personnel and we encourage them to come forth with their concerns,” he said. “I am going to try to reach out to all of our employees and take that message to them.”
He said he welcomes inquiries that are ongoing by the FBI and auditors from the Division of Administration as investigations into State Police travel records and campaign contributions by the Louisiana State Troopers Association (LSTA) continue. “We need to be transparent,” he said.
LouisianaVoice also received reports, confirmed by the Legislative Auditor’s office that representatives from the that office have been in place at LSP for more than a week to carry out an audit requested by State Rep. Blake Miguez (R-Erath). An unconfirmed report also said that the FBI appeared Tuesday at the State Police Office of Management and Finance, currently overseen by Lt. Col. Jason Starnes who was promoted and placed in that position just last August.
State Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera reached out to LouisianaVoice in an effort at full disclosure Tuesday to say that the wife of Mike Edmonson’s brother, State Police Maj. Paul Edmonson, is an auditor in his office but will take no part on the audit. “She brought it up in a meeting in our office,” Purpera said. “Our office, of course, has fire walls to separate any of our people from sensitive situations such as this.”
Edmonson, meanwhile, will host a farewell breakfast in the LSP cafeteria Friday from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. as he concludes 36 years with LSP, the last nine as superintendent.