NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The governor has asked for a full investigation into Louisiana State Police travel after FOX 8 uncovered the superintendent may have signed off on a trip to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas on the taxpayer's dime.
Now, there are strong words from state lawmakers after that Lee Zurik investigation.
"I would assume there will be some significant investigations both in this travel and future travel as well. I believe the legislative auditor will eventually get involved. It's breathtaking that under the current circumstances that they would, that troopers would do that," said Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie.
That FOX 8 investigation uncovered that you - the taxpayer - foot the bill for a nearly $70,000 trip to San Diego. Louisiana State Police sent 17 people to a four-day conference in October 2016 all while the state was dealing with a budget crisis.
What's more? Four state police employees were sent there in a State Police vehicle, and on the way took a 350-mile detour, making stops at a resort town in Grand Canyon National Park and staying another night in Sin City. While one stretch of that drive only took four hours, three of the state troopers billed taxpayers for a 12-hour work day. The cost of that road trip was $19,000. If they had booked plane tickets and a rental car it would have only cost you $5,000.
State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said he learned last week that his employees had traveled through Las Vegas, but our investigation revealed a document that shows Edmonson may have signed off on at least one expense report for that trip in December.
"You know, it's just that right now our state finances are more strapped than I think most people realize, just it's so bad and it hurts this process so much when news like this comes out you know? Because it just shows the public that we can't be trusted with their assets, so I think it's very important that we look as deep into it as we can," said Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner.
Since our investigation, the governor has asked the Division of Administration's auditor to conduct a full investigation into State Police travel for not only that trip but also for trips dating back to the Jindal administration.