Former state police head responds to audit as FBI investigation looms
BATON ROUGE - The former head of Louisiana State Police is responding to allegations of wrongdoing as he becomes the focus of an FBI investigation.
According to the Advocate, retired Colonel Mike Edmonson is facing a federal investigation due to personal use of state resources that he could have used as "perks" of the job.
Late last year, the state legislative auditor's office released its report on topics that include the use of the state police fleet, personnel, and resources including the state police helicopter; free dry cleaning at the governor's mansion; and improper travel.
On Wednesday, Edmonson's response to the audit was made public. In the document, Edmonson's attorney says the former superintendent stayed in the lodgings at the state police compound due to circumstances which developed over the course of the year requiring him to be available at all times. The response specifically cited events like the great flood of 2016, the Lafayette theater shooting, the Alton Sterling protests, and the deadly police ambush on Airline Highway as reasons for his lengthy stay in the state-funded housing, which he first moved into during Bobby Jindal's tenure as governor.
Furthermore, Edmonson denied any prior knowledge of the overtime pay claimed by troopers during a controversial side trip to Vegas. The former LSP head defended himself from allegations that he was aware of troopers' escapades on the side trip, which cost thousands of dollars in taxpayer money. He also noted that he ordered an internal investigation of the trip after he was made aware of it.
Edmonson mostly avoided other accusations within the audit, saying that the document's early leaking prevented him from having a meaningful dialogue with the auditor's office and discussing the allegations. However, the office responded to that claim by noting that the copy of the audit leaked to the Advocate weeks before its official release was actually a copy that was given to Edmonson.
An apparent probe of Edmonson's time as LSP superintendent by federal authorities is ongoing. No one has been charged or indicted with a crime at this time.