Given his agency’s reputation for favoritism, it shouldn’t have been a surprise to learn that the head of the State Police, Col. Lamar Davis, dodged a speeding ticket last month on Interstate 10.
But there it is, right on tape, as a trooper stops a speeder on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, gets out of his car and discovers that the offender is the big boss, driving an unmarked vehicle. “Well, I’ll be,” the trooper exclaims before turning off his body camera.
The incident is an embarrassment for an agency that has suffered through jaw-dropping scandals under Gov. John Bel Edwards. The State Police are headed toward federal supervision after covering up the beating of Ronald Greene, who died in 2019 after a chase involving Monroe-area troopers. If the experience of the New Orleans Police Department offers any lessons, State Police could spend a decade under the thumb of the U.S. Justice Department, with taxpayers footing the bill for millions of dollars worth of attorneys and monitors.
Whether Davis is the man to clean up the mess is an open question.
In the incident on the basin bridge, agency spokesman Capt. Nick Manale said Davis “was stopped for a traffic violation on June 28th while traveling west on Interstate 10.”
Manale said the trooper “utilized his discretion and did not issue a citation.”
The trooper was not named, and it is sound practice to give patrol officers discretion over whether to issue citations.
But in this case, Davis could have demonstrated that there will be no favoritism under his watch. His officers, and the public, would have been more impressed if he had told his trooper to keep his camera on and write the speeding ticket.