BATON ROUGE - State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson announced Wednesday that he is retiring as head of State Police.
Gov. John Bel Edwards and Edmonson released a joint statement about the retirement, which is effective March 24.
"Throughout many natural and man-made disasters, Col. Edmonson has been a steady hand and strong leader for the people of Louisiana," Edwards said. "I, and many of the people of Louisiana, have sought Col. Edmonson's counsel on numerous occassions, and he has provided leadership and support when we've needed it most. Since taking office, I have relied on the men and women of the Louisiana State Police more than I would have liked, but I am proud to say that they have some of the most skilled and dedicated individuals serving in their ranks. Much of their success is due to Col. Edmonson’s innovative thinking and concern for our state."
The announcement comes after multiple news outlets revealed wasteful spending on a taxpayer-funded trip troopers took to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Lawmakers have also questioned travel spending by State Police, particularly a trip to California while Bobby Jindal was governor.
Edmonson has worked for State Police for 37 years. Jindal appointed him as superintendent in 2008, and Gov. John Bel Edwards kept Edmonson on as head of State Police when he took office in 2016.
He has served longer than any other police superintendent in state history.
"While I have been responsible for overseeing an agency of more than 2600 employees since 2008, it was the Louisiana State Police that gave me my first opportunity in public service more than 36 years ago," Edmonson said. "I am most proud of my tenure as Superintendent. I am an imperfect person; however, when I made decisions that later gave me pause, I strived to learn from that experience and move forward. My goal was unwavering—to always do what I thought was in the best interests of my employees and the state. My nine years as Superintendent have been humbling and gratifying. I am confident that my contributions have made a measurable and positive difference. I truly believe that Louisiana has been safe with me."
Nola.com reports that Edmonson had not planned to step down as of Saturday night. The governor's office said Saturday that Edmonson was not being asked to resign.
"I have spent the better part of the last few days meeting with Governor Edwards and his staff," Edmonson said Wednesday. "I have also been talking with my family and friends from around the state, many of them legislators, sheriffs, chiefs of police and business owners. The discussion has always led to the same question—what is best for my family, the Louisiana State Police and all the employees who are part of Public Safety Services? After meeting again with the Governor today, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the state that I retire from my position as Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Superintendent of State Police. The Governor has never asked that I step down. As our discussions continued today, I have come to believe that my moving aside will permit the governor and the state to move forward."
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand offered praise for the longtime police superintendent. Watch video of Normand's comments above.
"Mike’s been a good friend to the sheriffs across the state for a long, long time," Normand said. "He’s obviously someone that the sheriffs, and myself included, respected. He was a team player, a collaborator, one who has helped my organization in working together on different things. It’s rare that he ever said no to a request when needing help."