Louisiana State Police Command Inspector Mark Morrison (front right) explains to the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) on November 8, 2018 that “first and foremost” pilots hired for LSP’s Air Support Unit “must be troopers.” Air Support Command Pilot Steven Lee (front left) looks on, while Morrison’s wife, Faye Morrison (LSP Legal Counsel) listens in (second row far left), as does Retired LSP Lieutenant Leon “Bucky” Millet (second row far right).
Addendum (4/30/21 @ 12:23 p.m.): Early this morning, we got official confirmation that YET ANOTHER Alexandria Trooper was hired for the most recent pilot opening as confirmed by LSPC Executive Director Jason Hannaman:
From: Jason Hannaman <Jason.Hannaman@LA.GOV>
Sent: Friday, April 30, 2021 11:45 AM
To: Robert Burns <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: Erin Williams
State Police Trooper Joseph Dessens was promoted to State Police Pilot on 2/9/2021.
Dessens was hired as a trooper as part of the 2006 Class of Cadets. From the preceding link:
- Joseph Dessens
- John Dauzat
- William Martin
- Alison McCampbell
- James Rougeou
- Joseph Simms
When we first exposed the extensive problems entailing disgraced former Louisiana State Police (LSP) Air Support pilot Michael Satcher, who faces felony criminal domestic abuse charges in Rapides Parish, we soon found ourselves inundated with material originating from multiple sources expressing thanks that a media outlet was, “finally delving into the corruption at LSP Air Support.”
We learned one thing really fast from these sources. The pilot positions at LSP are highly coveted. Not only do they pay more than standard trooper salaries, but they carry an added level of prestige which is magnified by the fact that they fly dignitaries like the Governor of Louisiana on a routine basis.
Though our sources literally plopped a multitude of complaints and allegations about LSP Air Support’s management in our laps, they all shared one point in common for which they had universal fury. Specifically, they all represented to us that LSP Air Support was actively in negotiations to hire a pilot from outside of LSP. They then contended that such a hiring constituted a direct violation of LSP hiring policy entailing those positions.
That prompted us (with the assistance of LSP retired Lt. Leon “Bucky” Millet) to search for video of a meeting of the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) featuring Mark Morrison. He is a Command Inspector at LSP as well as the husband of LSP Legal Counsel Faye Morrison.
Thanks to Millet, the video was quickly found. Mark Morrison was questioned by LSPC Member Brian Crawford entailing whether LSP Air Support hires from within LSP ranks or goes outside to fill a position. Here is Morrison’s verbatim response:
First and foremost, is that you’re a trooper. You know. At heart, we’re all troopers, and the bond that links us together is the fact that we’re all troopers, and we all started at Troop A. So, it will come from an active duty trooper within State Police who meets the qualifications that are listed in here.
Crawford even followed up his question to ask that, upon that position being filled, would that then create an opening for another trooper to apply and obtain entry into the vacated position of the pilot being promoted (i.e. keep the hiring within the LSP family and free up a space for a trooper to enter Air Support and obtain a much-coveted pilot position). Morrison responded, “Yes, sir. That is my understanding.”
Let’s take (literally) just one minute to watch a video clip of that exchange, shall we?
11/8/18 LSPC Meeting: Mark Morrison responds to LSPC Member Brian Crawford’s inquiry of whether the requested pilot position will be filled from within LSP ranks or whether someone from outside the agency will fill the position.
We were repeatedly guided entailing what documentation to seek from LSP Legal Counsel Faye Morrison in order to substantiate the hiring of a non-trooper, whom they openly identified as “Carl Bruce Stamey.” They further indicated that he is “good friends with Steven Lee.” They then added that essentially nobody is hired at LSP Air Support unless they are either “in tight” with Lee, live in or around the Alexandria area, where Lee resides (recall Satcher is from Alexandria), or ideally from Lee’s perspective, both.
These sources have openly questioned how a state agency such as LSP, which is headquartered in Baton Rouge, can essentially have a Division (Air Support) that is remotely headquartered in Alexandria, as they contend Air Support is. These sources have offered reasons why Lee has such a strong preference for friends or Alexandria-area residents to be hired over other troopers. We won’t comment on those reasons, but we believe our subscribers can deploy common sense to know why that’s the case if these troopers’ accusations are accurate.
At any rate, every time we modified our public records request to Faye Morrison over the course of about five months (and we made 3-4 such requests) to substantiate the planned hiring of Stamey, we ran into brick walls. Morrison repeatedly indicated to us that LSP did not consider the requested documentation public record.
On December 28, 2020, we asked for a printout of the posting of the position. We did so because we’d met with a source who told us he’d viewed it and contended that he, “knew the fix was in for Stamey to get the job because they included some obscure condition that the candidate had to have knowledge of vegetation.” Stamey, a long-time DEQ employee, would be the only applicant with such knowledge. Let us reproduce Morrison’s response to our request, even as it pertained to the mere job posting:
Mr. Burns: please be advised that in response to items 3 and 4 of the request below, the documentation responsive to those requests is still in use and not yet public. As such, those requests are denied at this time. fdm
We would note that Morrison issued that response on January 27, 2021, which was a full 30 days after our request, only to then tell us that we would not be obtaining the records (item 4 Morrison references was nothing more than the job posting) for the reason she stated above.
We’re obviously not going to reveal one of our several sources entailing LSP Air Support’s operations; however, we will reproduce his reaction to Morrison’s response above:
If you can get all of those reports back to you. If they did there some real good stuff in there that I can not talk about. I highly doubt they will release that kind of information.
How’s that for a blunt assessment of LSP’s recent trumpeting of transparency?
Given the above, we decided that, at some point, LSP would either hire Stamey or they would not. Accordingly, we waited an extended period and, on Monday, April 5, 2021, we made the following simple public records request:
Any documentation evidencing Mr. Bruce Stamey now being employed by Louisiana State Police.
Finally, we could no longer be given the run around by LSP (which has recently demonstrated that the agency seems to have obtained a patent on blocking the receipt of blatantly-obvious public records) and the gig, as they say, was finally up! LSP had little choice but to provide us with this document. As is obvious from the document, Lee requested that Stamey be hired on as an Aircraft Chief Fleet Pilot at a salary of $97,700 a year effective February 6, 2021 (a mere 10 days after Morrison denied our public records requests). Stamey has held the position since that date, or for 82 days as of the date of this feature being published.
Now, we believe that a respectable LSPC would issue a command that Lee and Morrison appear before the Commission and answer the question of why Morrison’s statements above have proven to be demonstratively false. We also believe that a respectable LSPC would also make the following inquiries of Lee and Morrison:
- How many pilots have received fixed-wing, multi-engine certifications paid for by taxpayers?
- How does LSP justify that expense given that LSP has never owned such aircraft?
- Does obtaining such certification enable one to obtain a more lucrative private-industry pilot position more readily?
- How many such pilots have resigned from LSP soon after obtaining the certifications and for what reasons (we know of three and the reasons thereof and would love to see if Morrison/Lee would be truthful to the Commission)?
- Has any pilot employed by LSP Air Support ever paid out of his own pocket to obtain fixed-wing, multi-engine certification? If so, who? Did he take annual leave to obtain the certification?
- Were other pilots’ tuition for fixed-wing, multi-engine certifications paid for by taxpayers or the pilots themselves? Were they required to take annual leave for school?
- Can you account for the discrepancy, if one in fact exists, between responses to items 5 and 6 above?
- Does LSP plan to (or has it already) obtain(ed) the transfer of a fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft constructed in or around the year 1976 from DEQ to LSP, making that aircraft the first such aircraft in LSP’s possession?
- Will Mr. Stamey provide fixed-wing, multi-engine certification training in house?
- Was that the primary reason he was hired?
- Was the pilot position posting custom-tailored to fit Mr. Stamey?
- Is the LSP Air Support Unit being utilized as a means for pilots to obtain credentials enabling them to depart for greener pastures in the private sector with advanced knowledge that their tenures at LSP Air Support are likely to be short-lived once such positions can be obtained?
- Why is there such a preference given to Alexandria-area applicants for pilot positions and why have so many historically been chosen from that area?
- Was a trooper newly-hired in the Air Support Unit told, “We have no idea how you pulled this off, but that’s not the way it works around here. We determine who is hired, and you certainly weren’t someone we recommended for hire!”?
- Was the trooper referenced in the previous question denied access to the facility on his first day on the job and obtained such access only by having a guard open the gate for him?
- Did the trooper referenced in the prior two questions sign in the log book at the facility as “pilot” only to have the word “pilot” stricken out by one or more of his superiors at LSP’s Air Support Unit?
- Did the trooper referenced in the prior three questions become so frustrated with the work environment at LSP’s Air Support Unit and the hostility he endured at that Unit that he requested a transfer soon after being hired at Air Support and was in fact soon thereafter transferred to LSP’s Gaming Enforcement Division?
Those are just a few questions that “inquiring minds” (especially the minds of many LSP Troopers with pilot aspirations) would like to obtain answers to and which they’d love to see the LSPC pose of Morrison and Lee.
Again, we believe that’s what a respectable LSPC would do. We’ll see if this LSPC does what we believe would be respectable. If so, we’ll certainly film such an event and ensure those who would love to see such questions posed by the LSPC receive the video by way of a Sound Off Louisiana feature!
So, how about it, LSPC? We anxiously await publication of the next agenda!
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