‘Good ole boy’ mentality hamstrings LSP search

by Walter Pierce

A little-known law requires the governor to appoint a state police commander from within the ranks who graduated from the state police academy.

With Col. Mike Edmonson announcing his retirement amid a probe into possible abuse of overtime and travel rules by Louisiana State Police troopers, it has fallen to Gov. John Bel Edwards to appoint his replacement as superintendent of LSP. But Edwards is required by an obscure state law to cast a very narrow net in his search — a law that bars not only candidates from outside the ranks of Louisiana State Police but, even more narrow, candidates who didn’t graduate from the State Police training academy, according to a story published this week by The Advocate.

The law, according to the daily’s Jim Mustian, requires that the Louisiana State Police superintendent be selected “from the ranks of sworn, commissioned State Police officers who have graduated from the State Police training academy.”

The law goes back to the early ’80s tenure of Gov. Dave Treen and was meant, according to Mustian’s report, to prevent governors from appointing unqualified candidates — lawyers, business people, political benefactors — from running the state’s top law-enforcement agency.

But, as the paper reports, that law’s merits are being called into question. Read more here.