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Louisiana State Troopers under investigation for possible payroll fraud

The goal of the statewide highway enforcement program known as LACE (Local Agency Compensated Enforcement) was three-pronged: it helped Calcasieu Parish and other jurisdictions enforce traffic laws, while also generating revenue and enabling state troopers to earn overtime pay.

The program was recently suspended by the Louisiana State Police after a New Orleans TV station aired a report that three troopers were claiming pay for hours that they did not work. So far, no criminal charges have been filed but State Police superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves put the three officers on administrative leave and ordered a criminal investigation into possible payroll fraud.

Reeves took the actions after reviewing WVUE-TV surveillance footage of the three troopers. The videos reportedly show the men at their homes during times they claimed to be working.

A State Police spokesperson described Reeves as "certainly concerned." He has also ordered an internal affairs investigation into the matter.

Funding for LACE is from local district attorneys who contract with the State Police to have troopers work extra hours enforcing traffic laws around the state. The local governments would get not only the benefit of law enforcement, but also the proceeds (fines, fees, court costs, etc.) from the tickets the troopers wrote.

According to the WVUE-TV report, the troopers bent the program's rules by writing a full shift's worth of citations in a few hours and then lopping time off of their work day though still reporting a full shift of work.

The station's reporter claims that one of the three troopers under investigation earned "more than any other law enforcer in the state."

No one knows yet how these questions will be resolved. Anyone under investigation for possible white collar crimes can have their rights protected throughout the process by an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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