BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana State Police on Wednesday suspended a highway traffic enforcement program coordinated with local parishes amid questions about whether troopers were billing for hours they didn’t work.
The Advocate reports that Col. Kevin Reeves, state police superintendent, has ordered a full review of the program and has started a criminal investigation. Three troopers were placed on administrative leave after Reeves reviewed surveillance footage from WVUE-TV in New Orleans .
The TV station’s undercover footage, part of an investigative series, appears to show the three troopers “claiming hours for time they weren’t working,” said Maj. Doug Cain, a state police spokesman. Reeves ordered an internal affairs inquiry to begin after the criminal investigation is completed, Cain said.
“We’re going to step back and look at the entire program, its policies and procedures, in an effort to ensure the oversight is effective,” Cain said.
The traffic program is called Local Agency Compensated Enforcement, known as LACE. Local district attorneys contract with the state police and reimburse the agency for hours and mileage claimed by troopers working extra-duty shifts and writing speeding tickets in jurisdictions around the state. The local jurisdictions keep the ticket money.
The latest investigation comes after another recent misconduct scandal involving the state police. Two troopers were demoted after they were determined to have improperly billed thousands of dollars for overtime and expenses for a road trip they took to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon while driving to a law enforcement conference in San Diego. The trip prompted the early retirement of Reeves’ predecessor, Mike Edmonson.
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