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State troopers under fire after extravagant road trip

27th February 2017   ·   0 Comments

Four state troopers are getting more than they bargained for after making stops at the Grand Canyon and in Las Vegas during a work-related trip from Baton Rouge to San Diego. The unapproved stops and alleged abuse of the Louisiana State Police overtime pay system has already led to media scrutiny, an internal probe, another call for a full investigation by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and at least one demotion. The state troopers are also being asked to reimburse the Louisiana State Police for the pricey road trip.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has ordered a “full investigation” into travel by state police after WWL News and New Orleans Advocate investigative reports revealed questionable spending by the four troopers during a trip out west for the conference last fall.

Edwards’ call for a thorough probe came a day after the Louisiana State Police said it will require the four law enforcement officers to reimburse the state for the taxpayer-funded detours to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

“The governor has directed the Division of Administration’s auditor to conduct a full investigation into travel by the state police,” Shauna Sanford, Edwards’ press secretary, said in a prepared statement. “The investigation will include this trip, as well as trips dating back to the previous administration and is independent of the internal investigation taking place at state police.”

The governor’s office said it would have “additional comments” after the investigation is done.

Three troopers, identified as Lt. Rodney Hyatt, Master Trooper Thurman Miller, Trooper Alexandr Nezgodinsky and Major Derrell Williams, took the side trip in a state-owned SUV, stopping at the Grand Canyon and in Las Vegas on their way to California, WWL reported.

Time sheets for three of the troopers, Lt. Rodney Hyatt, Master Trooper Thurman Miller and Trooper Alexandr Nezgodinsky reveal they claimed to drive three times longer than it should have taken them to travel different legs of their trip.

Edmonson said the State Police’s review of the trip should be complete in a few days.

This article originally published in the February 27, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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