More Taxpayer Funded Vacations for LA State Police

Records: State Police troopers charged taxpayers for overtime, vacation homes to attend ’14 conference in Orlando

BY JIM MUSTIAN | jmustian@theadvocate.com

Newly released records show 2016 was not the first time troopers treated the annual conference as a state-subsidized vacation, raising fresh questions about the prolific travel within the agency under Col. Mike Edmonson, the longtime superintendent who retired after the Las Vegas trip was exposed.

The records show at least seven of the same troopers who spent the week in San Diego last year also attended the 2014 IACP conference in Orlando, a repeat guest list that critics said underscores the cliquish culture Edmonson cultivated during his nine-year tenure as superintendent.

Perhaps more alarmingly, two of those troopers charged taxpayers for 25 hours of overtime apiece while attending the Orlando conference, the documents show, a practice forbidden by the State Police in the wake of the Las Vegas scandal.

The records, released in response to a public-records request filed in early March, are coming to light amid an extensive audit of State Police travel being conducted by the state legislative auditor.

Among the troopers traveling to both the 2014 and 2016 conferences was Edmonson’s brother, Maj. Paul Edmonson, who oversees the agency’s Special Investigations Division. Another repeat attendee, John W. Alario, is not even a state trooper; he is executive director of the state’s Liquefied Petroleum Gas Commission.

Alario is also the son of John A. Alario Jr., president of the state Senate and perhaps the state’s most powerful lawmaker.

Most of the troopers who traveled to Orlando stayed in hotels like the Hilton that cost taxpayers more than $200 a night, accommodations that Cain said were in keeping with the conference rate. But three troopers — including Lt. Rodney Hyatt, one of the four officers under investigation for the 2016 Las Vegas side trip — spent the week in luxury vacation homes, State Police records show.

But Hyatt and Besson, who drove to Florida in a state vehicle, also charged taxpayers for 25 hours of overtime apiece during the Orlando conference. Hyatt sent an email in the middle of the conference alerting officials in Louisiana that he and Besson would be “adjusting our hours” for the preceding three days.

Hyatt declined to comment on the overtime, saying agency policy prohibited him from discussing the trip. Besson could not be reached for comment.

The Orlando records also include a receipt for a seven-night stay for nine adults and one child at “Reunion Vacation Homes,” a reservation paid for by Capt. Kelly Dupuy, the wife of Charlie Dupuy, Edmonson’s longtime chief of staff.

The total cost of the Orlando trip to the state could not be determined because the State Police records released to The Advocate did not include airfare for the troopers who flew to the conference. The incomplete records show the agency spent at least $15,000 on the conference without counting the overtime.

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One Response to “More Taxpayer Funded Vacations for LA State Police”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    The House Transportation Committee today will hear H.B. 597 by Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall, that eliminates vehicle inspections. It would instead levy a $5.25 annual fee in addition to the motor vehicle license tax. State Police, which gets part of vehicle inspections fees, would get $4 from the new fee. The Office of Motor Vehicles would retain the remaining $1.25.

    This may explain where soem of the VACATION funds are coming from

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