(WAFB/AP) - Governor John Bel Edwards has chosen a 26-year Louisiana State Police veteran from north Louisiana to lead the agency as interim superintendent.
Maj. Kevin Reeves, who commands a state police quick reaction force, will start the interim job Saturday, March 25. He's taking over from Col. Mike Edmonson, who retired after coming under increasing criticism for his leadership of the agency.
Reeves said Wednesday his primary goal will be to instill confidence in state police employees, troopers and the public. Edwards says Reeves comes into the job with "a wealth of knowledge and the respect from his colleagues across the state."
"With more than 26 years of service in the Louisiana State Police, Major Reeves assumes this responsibility with a wealth of knowledge and the respect from his colleagues across the state. The state police are called on to assist law enforcement in every corner of Louisiana and play a critical role in times of disaster. I have tremendous confidence in Kevin's ability to lead this agency. Donna and I are grateful that Major Reeves and his wife, Kristi, have accepted this responsibility, and I know the men and women of the Louisiana State Police will join me in welcoming him to this new role," said Edwards.
"I am humbled by the confidence Governor Edwards has placed in me to lead this agency that I've been a part of since my early days as a trooper in Baton Rouge," said Major Reeves. "It is truly an honor to serve the state that I love alongside the men and women of the Louisiana State Police. It is the sacrifice of these individuals that help keep our communities safe and help respond when disaster strikes. My mission in assuming this role will be to strengthen our partnerships with federal, parish and local law enforcement, while ensuring the public has confidence in our ability to respond when necessary. Kristi and I are grateful for the opportunity Governor Edwards has given us, and I will do my best to make the people of Louisiana, as well as my fellow troopers, proud in this new role," said Reeves.
In a phone interview with Maj. Reeves, he said he is "honored just to be considered."
"Colonel Edmonson has done an incredible job with state police. He's made incredible strides for the agency and with our relationships with our partners. He's going to be, he has huge shoes to fill, but we are going to give it our best and fortunately, he laid a good path for us to follow," said Reeves.
Reeves is a native of Baton Rouge and received his degree from Louisiana Tech University. He began his career with LSP in 1990 as a motorcycle patrol trooper with Troop A in Baton Rouge. He then moved to Monroe in 1993 and served with Troop F as a squad leader for the mobile field force and as a case agent and undercover agent on narcotics investigations for the Bureau of Investigations.
Then in 2008, Reeves became 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. Reeves and his wife, Kristi, have three children: Kaleb, Kyle, and Klayton.
"I'm certainly aware of the issues that have come to light in recent weeks, however, I hope that light should never cast a shadow on the incredible work done each and every day by our troopers, officers, and civilians within the Department of Public Safety," said Reeves.
Edwards intends to have a permanent superintendent chosen by June, to present for Senate confirmation before the upcoming legislative session ends. Reeves says he'd be interested in seeking the position permanently, and a spokesperson with the governor's office says Reeves could in fact be considered for the permanent position.