(WAFB) - Two Louisiana State Police troopers who took an expensive excursion to a conference in San Diego on taxpayers' dime have been demoted in rank following an internal affairs investigation that exposed one trooper's sexually explicit emails, among other infractions.
LSP's internal affairs division demoted troopers Derrell Williams and Rodney Hyatt. They were the two highest ranking officers of the four troopers investigated for the lavish vacation they took back in October of 2016 to what was supposed to be a work-related conference.
During the trip, the troopers racked up at least $19,000 in questionable expenses by taking detours to Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam and to the Grand Canyon in Arizona and by claiming unsubstantiated overtime hours. Hyatt also brought his wife on the trip with him.
The actions of the troopers were first brought to light in a series of reports by reporter Lee Zurik, reporting for WAFB and other Raycom Media television stations. After news of the trip broke, Governor John Edwards vowed to investigate the troopers' actions.
Williams was demoted from captain to lieutenant. Hyatt was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant. Their drops in rank also come with corresponding pay decreases. The other two officers involved were troopers Thurman Miller and Alexandr Nezgodinsky. They were of lower rank. Miller received a letter of reprimand and Nezgodinsky was counseled.
Aside from unauthorized expenses, the investigation also revealed Williams was sexting via email during the times in which he was supposed to be working, according to the internal affairs disciplinary report.
Williams apparently sent a photo of a bed to an unidentified "friend" and in the caption wrote, "Has your name all over it. Look at the bar at the top of the head board. What do you think that is for?"
That same "friend" sent Williams an email with the subject line, "No panties Sunday" and an attached image of a woman sitting in a chair wearing a skirt with no panties and "showing her genitalia," the report reads.
In another email, he sent the same woman a photo of himself seated in the desert "with a cactus protruding between [his] legs." His friend responded by writing, "Just be glad that you didn't get thorns in your balls."
His friend's mention of the thorns prompted Williams to say, "LOL. I know. That was stupid."
In writing the disciplinary report, LSP Col. Kevin Reeves tells Williams his conduct violated LSP's code of conduct and ethics.
"You were the highest ranking member of the traveling group and the detailed Major over Internal Affairs — the section of our department charged with making certain that our employees are following the rules," Reeves writes. "This failure of leadership caused the public to question the integrity of this department, and that of each and every one of its employees."