Governor alludes to strict disciplinary action after 'side trip' investigation
BATON ROUGE – Governor John Bel Edwards promised Wednesday a stern change once an investigation into a “side trip” some Louisiana State Police Troopers made to Las Vegas on their way to San Diego.
Edwards' remarks came a day after he ordered the probe into the agency following a series of reports by WBRZ and other media outlets in New Orleans.
"It's not what we want to have to contend with right now, we have a lot of other things going on," Edwards said Wednesday. "We [take it] very seriously, and the decision we make will be appropriate once the investigation is complete," the governor continued.
Reports highlighted a trip to a law enforcement conference in San Diego included a lengthy road trip that had stops at the Grand Canyon and a Las Vegas resort and casino. The drive cost the state agency thousands of dollars in overtime.
Earlier this week, State Police said it would force the troopers to return any extra money that was spent on the trip.
"The governor has directed the Division of Administration's auditor to conduct a full investigation into travel by the state police," Edwards' Press Secretary Shauna Sanford said in a prepared statement previously. "The investigation will include this trip, as well as trips dating back to the previous administration and is independent of the internal investigation taking place at state police."
The troopers were identified as Lt. Rodney Hyatt, Master Trooper Thurman Miller, Trooper Alexandr Nezgodinsky and Major Derrell Williams.
“All employees of the Department of Public Safety, including myself, are responsible and accountable for their actions. The public can rest assured that I am making necessary changes and providing clear direction to those under my command,” Col. Mike Edmonson, the State Police superintendent, said in a statement provided to WBRZ.