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Col. Kevin Reeves, Head Of Louisiana State Police, Abruptly Announces Retirement

Sue Lincoln
Col. Kevin Reeves, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police

The superintendent of the Louisiana State Police will retire at the end of the month, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday.

Col. Kevin Reeves is ending his 30-year career with the Louisiana State Police and his three-year tenure as its head as the agency faces intense scrutiny for the injury and death of unarmed suspects.

Edwards said Reeves had his full confidence up until his retirement, and neither Edwards nor anyone from his administration urged Reeves to retire.

Edwards added that Reeves first told him of his plan to retire last fall.

“It wasn’t a surprise, nor was it anything that I asked for,” Edwards said. “I guess 30 years is enough. That’s a determination he made at least a year ago and he kept that timeline.”

Reeves’ replacement has not yet been named and Edwards has not said when he will announce that appointment.

“I am deeply grateful to Col. Reeves for his decades of dedicated service as the consummate law enforcement professional committed to serving and protecting the people of Louisiana,” Edwards said in a written statement Tuesday afternoon.

Reeves is leaving behind an agency mired in controversy.

Federal authorities are currently investigating the death of Ronald Greene, a 49-year-old Black man who died in LSP custody in 2019.

State police officials initially claimed that Greene died from injuries he sustained in a car crash, but a slow trickle of information obtained by the Associated Press and released by attorneys representing Greene’s family showed that several troopers brutally beat and choked Greene before his death.

Post mortem photos of Greene released by his family show heavy swelling and deep bruising on Greene’s face along with deep gouges on his scalp and forehead.

A leaked body-camera audio recording captured one of the troopers implicated in Greene’s death describing the beating he and other troopers administered to Greene.

Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth was heard saying, “I beat the ever-living f--- out of him,” and “all of the sudden he just went limp.”

Hollingsworth died in a single-vehicle car crash in Monroe, La., just hours after learning he would be fired for his role in Greene’s death.

Earlier this month a Baton Rouge grand jury indicted a trooper in a 2018 shooting that left an unarmed teenager partially paralyzed. Trooper Kasha Domingue was charged with battery for “intentionally inflicting serious bodily injury” for shooting 19-year-old Clifton Dilley in the back. Dilley was fleeing after from the passenger seat of a car Domingue had pulled over for allegedly making an illegal U-turn.

And earlier this month, Trooper Kaleb Reeves, Reeves’ son, rear-ended another vehicle while on duty, killing a child and teen in the backseat.

In recent weeks, protesters have demanded the resignation of Reeves.

Reeves began his career with the Louisiana State Police in 1990 as a trooper on motorcycle patrols. He later served as a squad leader, case agent and undercover narcotics officer before rising to command Troop F in Monroe in 2008. He was named Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police in 2017.

“It has truly been an honor to serve as the Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Public Safety,” Reeves said in a joint statement with Edwards. “As humbling as this opportunity has been, my greatest professional accomplishment remains the title of Trooper, a title I have the honor of sharing with the over 1,100 men and women who wear our badge.”

Paul Braun was WRKF's Capitol Access reporter, from 2019 through 2023.