- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 20, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri State Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Bret Johnson is retiring.

Johnson on Tuesday announced plans to retire Feb. 1 after three decades with the patrol. Outgoing Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon nominated him in February 2015, and he took office in May that year.

His departure will come shortly after Nixon’s predecessor assumes office Jan. 9. Republican Gov.-elect Eric Greitens will be responsible for appointing the patrol’s next overseer.

Nixon praised his previous work in responding to the deadly 2011 tornado that struck Joplin. And outgoing Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster touted Johnson’s work as field operations commander during the unrest in Ferguson after the 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown.

As superintendent, Johnson created a recruitment division aimed at encouraging youths to join the patrol.

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