Right people, right tools for the job

It’s been a banner week for the Louisiana State Police.

First came the news that Lt. Col. Ralph Mitchell Jr. was named deputy superintendent, Crisis Response/Special Operations.

A Houma resident, Mitchell has earned a reputation nationally for his knowledge and expertise in traffic reconstruction and traffic issues. A 25-year veteran of the Louisiana State Police and former captain at Troop C, Mitchell is hailed by agency commander Col. Michael Edmonson as “the right person for the right job.”

In the new post, Mitchell is responsible for overall public safety and the service operations of the State Police Emergency Operations Center. In addition, he will oversee the agency’s Transportation and Environmental Safety and Special Weapons and Tactics Sections.

Mitchell is a longtime credit to his craft. He sits on the Louisiana Operation Lifesaver Board of Directors as the state police representative and chairs the national program’s development council. He’s served as a guest lecturer on grade crossing issues and co-authored a chapter titled “Highway/Rail Grade Crossing Collision Investigation” in Northwestern University’s latest accident investigation manual.

The recipient of numerous awards and accolades, Mitchell represents one of the hundreds of men and women who wear the state police uniform.

He is the example of the caliber of public servants the agency hopes to attract. With $13 million for hiring and equipment upgrades in the proposed state budget, one would hope the agency will continue to strengthen in numbers and technology capabilities.

Troop C continues to show it can get the job done. Just last week came the news that troopers had stopped $126,000 worth of narcotics from hitting Thibodaux’s streets.

Troopers and local authorities executed search warrants at two Johnson Ridge area homes and suspected heroin and a small amount of marijuana were found inside. Upon further investigation, it turns out the 10 ounces of heroin was, in fact, a rare form of cocaine known as “black” or “chocolate cocaine.” It’s the first time the drug has been seen at the State Police Crime Laboratory, according to one analyst.

Certainly, the need for support of our law enforcement authorities cannot be questioned. Given the right people and the right tools, we know the job will get done.