Ive been around Jackson Parish a long time and really like the area, Colonel Kevin Reeves, newly appointed Superitendent of Louisiana State Police told the Piney Woods Journal. My wife was Church Secretary at the First Baptist Church in Jonesboro for quite sometime.
She was from Jackson Parish, but was working as a Resperatory Therapist in New Roads when we met. I grew up in Baton Rouge and graduated from Tara High School. I cant remember a time that I did not want to be a Louisiana State Police Trooper.
Our state troopers are a dedicated and well trained group, Colonel Reeves pointed out. Our officers are the first line of defense against the criminal element. It takes someone of integrity and fotitude to be an effective state trooper.
Although, we are the first line of defense, that is not really our job. Our real job is to help people. Our state police officers are usually the first on the scene of a vehicle wreck, whether it is a minor accident, or one with injuries, or fatalties. It is very intense to be at the scene of a wreck trying to handle life altering and even life and death situations.
Kevin Reeves was a regional commander in the state police working out of Monroe when he was tapped by Governor Edwards to be the interim Superintendent of State Police.
Governor Edwards has been quoted of saying I wanted to find someone that had a long career and stellar with the State Police because the person that was going to be the Superintendent was inheriting a real mess with far reaching implications. In our search for a new Superintendent, Kevin Reeves name kept coming up from many sources. It didnt take long during the interview for me to realize what a quality guy Kevin was.
Im still getting over the shock of being where I am, Colonel Reeves emphasized to the Journal. I had no plans to apply for the job; however the Governors staff contacted me and asked me would I please send in an application which I did.
I figured that would be the end of it, but they contacted me again and asked me if I would come down for an interview with the Governor. I didnt really know the Governor, other than a couple of handshakes. I felt at that point it was my duty to come down and at least interview with the Governor after I was asked.
It seemed to me that the Governor and I had a very good interview,Rouge would not be a real homecoming for Colonel Reeves related. I still didnt think I was really in the running for the job. Comming back to Baton me because I was perfectly content and really happy at our place in the Weston Community. I did let the Governor know that I was very happy in Jackson Parish and moving to Baton Rouge was not in my plans.
I had stopped in Winnfield to fill up with gas a few days after the interview with the Governor when I got a call from him asking me if I would take the job on a Interim basis, Colonel Reeves stated. I really thought that I would not be in the running for the permanent postion of Superintendent. We didnt get into the situation with our State Police over night and certainly will not get out of very soon, One of the big items facing State Police is that in 2018, 270 officers are reaching the age where they can retire. Im in that group. We want to retain as many troopers as we can and that is why Im traveling around the state trying to see all the State Police personnel. If we lose very many officers to retirement we will lose so much vital resources.
We only graduated 84 new troopers last spring, so losing many troopers to retire will be tough to manage," Colonel Reeves elaborated. "The spring graduating class was a real treat for me as Superintendent because my son was one of the new graduates."
According to the Legislative Auditors report in
investigating the past Superintendent actions, the
problems in State Police Headquarters does run deep.
Ive always believed that if you always do the right thing, you can never be wrong. On my watch, professionalism, integrity and interaction with the public is a priority for me. Ive already made the change whereby a Disciplinary Review Committee will make the final decision on disciplinary matters; not just the Superintendent of State Police.
I want a thorough review of how the LACE (Local area Compensated Enforcement) program works, Colonel Reeves pointed out. The LACE which is intertwined the with Parish District Attorney has been a hot button of late because of the large amounts of overtime logged by some troopers working the program.
LACE may prove out to be a good program and have its place in law enforcement, but we dont know at this point so it is suspended until we can throughly review the program. Once I accepted this job, everything falls on my shoulders. I do feel terrible for the officers in the field, and the new cadets. The problem is that by accepting a little bit of what you shouldnt can expand rapidly.
I plan to ask the State Legislature for $11 million to install the latest CAD computer program that will allow us to better communicate with other law enforcement agencies not only in Lousiana, but around the nation. I also want all the troopers to have body cameras which is expensive, but necessary in my opinion.
I dont have all the answers but I do see several things that need to be corrected immediately, and other things that need to be implemented, Colonel Reeves commented.
The Journal was in a conversation with a Jackson Parish resident, Danny Sullivan, recently. I was talking about the new State Police Superintendent when Sullivanasked, Oh, are you talking about Kevin. Known him a long time. Super guy as well as his whole family.
The job of Superintendent of State Police in Louisiana is rather far reaching in its duties. All forms of public safety are included in the job description as well as enforcing and overseeing all gaming activities in the state. In addition, with the job title of Superintendent of State Police, Colonel Reeves will be on several different state level commissions.