Col. Edmonson releases updated statement in response to investig - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Col. Edmonson releases updated statement in response to investigation into travel expenses

Col. Mike Edmonson (Source: WAFB) Col. Mike Edmonson (Source: WAFB)
(WAFB) -

Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson has issued an updated statement in regards to the alleged trip to Las Vegas his troopers took last year.

The statement can be read below:

The preliminary inquiry has been completed regarding the four officers who traveled to San Diego via Las Vegas in conjunction with their attendance at an international police conference. I am told that there is sufficient cause and evidence to refer the matter to Internal Affairs for a full and thorough investigation. The case will be assigned to an Internal Affairs investigator and continue to be supervised by Major Flinchum. I have informed the governor’s office of the preliminary findings and my intentions to pursue the administrative investigation. It will commence immediately.

This investigation will be conducted just as every other internal investigation is conducted. All persons involved or having knowledge of the activities will be interviewed and all available records will be examined. At the conclusion of that investigation, we will determine what violations have occurred and decide on appropriate administrative response should sanctions be warranted.

We have already made internal changes which will prevent any recurrence of an incident such as this and will continue to make changes if we find other lapses or inconsistencies in policy. We welcome the assistance of the Division of Administration in their review of State Police travel and I have instructed all my administrative personnel to cooperate fully.

This investigation although important must not be a distraction from the critical work ahead of us. The men and women of the Louisiana State Police face great challenges daily to ensure the safety of Louisiana's highways and communities. Look no further than this weekend as approximately 200 Troopers deploy to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The business of State Police goes on and the public can be assured that troopers will continue to provide professional service throughout the state.

In response to Governor John Bel Edwards calling for an investigation into LSP's travel expenses, Col. Edmonson issued an initial statement earlier this week.

The trip in question was part of a conference where Col. Edmonson was being honored that troopers traveled to, where they reportedly took a 350-mile detour to a resort in Las Vegas. Col. Edmonson says he'll get those troopers to pay the taxpayers back for that and for any other times where the troopers may have lied on their time sheets during the trip. The colonel also says he's reassigned one trooper while others investigate the situation.

The original statement from Edmonson can be read below:

After learning last week of the fact that agency representatives traveling to a conference in San Diego claimed overtime and traveled through Las Vegas, I immediately began a review of the circumstances surrounding the trip. In response, I’ve directed the following steps be taken by the department:

1. Major Cathy Flinchum, Patrol Region 1 - Command Inspector and former Internal Affairs – Command Inspector, is conducting an administrative investigation to determine any violations of departmental policy and procedures.

2. Major Derrell Williams has been reassigned from Internal Affairs to Patrol pending the completion of the administrative investigation.

3. Management and Finance is taking steps to recoup the monies paid in overtime and reclassify any earned time as compensatory time. 

4. All hotel fees and per diem claimed in Las Vegas will be repaid to the department.

5. Changing policy to reflect that paid overtime compensation may not be claimed for travel or conference training except for extraordinary circumstances approved through the Office of the Superintendent.

6. Reiterated that all departmental out-of-state travel applications including departmental vehicle use or rental car authorization must be approved through the Office of the Superintendent.

I am not naïve to the fact that the management of this department clearly rest on my shoulders. 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. I believe that this incident does not overshadow the incredible work by the men and women of the Louisiana State Police who dedicate themselves to making our highways and communities safer each and every day.

RELATED: Governor calls for full investigation into State Police travel

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