BATON ROUGE — Kevin Reeves never dreamed he would lead the Louisiana State Police, but he always dreamed of becoming a policeman.
"It was something he wanted since he was 5 years old," Reeves' father Billy Reeves said.
"It's the only thing I ever wanted to be in life," Reeves said.
Twenty-seven years after joining the State Police, Reeves was appointed superintendent of the agency Tuesday by Gov. John Bel Edwards after three months as the interim leader.
"Even in that short time he has absolutely proven himself to be a strong, capable leader," Edwards said. "I'm impressed with his knowledge and leadership. You're not going to find anybody who doesn't have the utmost respect for Col. Reeves."
"I'm certainly honored by the trust and confidence the governor has placed in me," Reeves said in an interview with USA Today Network.
"I look forward to working with he and the Legislature and the citizens of our state to move forward in a positive direction," he said. "We want to move State Police forward with a sense of transparency."
Reeves takes over following a scandal involving questionable travel by some troopers at the taxpayers' expense that led to the retirement of longtime Col. Mike Edmonson.
The new colonel said he welcomes the scrutiny and said results of an internal investigation into the matter "will come sooner than later."
He said the investigation is complete and initial "discipline letters" have been sent to troopers, but Reeves said that information won't become public until the troopers get a full hearing, perhaps as long as a month.
"We look forward to taking any findings and applying them to make State Police a better agency moving forward," he said.
Edwards named Reeves as the interim in March, but his appointment created an ethics dilemma because existing law prevented Reeves' son, a State Police cadet, from serving in the agency with his father as the boss.
But this spring the Legislature passed a bill, which Edwards signed into law, carving out a narrow exception to Louisiana's nepotism law that allowed Reeves' son to continue to serve.
Reeves offered to reject the appointment once he was made award of the issue.
"The bottom line is I'm a father first," Reeves said. "My son having a career was more important than me being named superintendent."
Kaleb was with his dad during Tuesday's announcement, both wearing their familiar blue uniforms.
"I'm very proud of him," said Kaleb, who is stationed at Troop F in Monroe.
Reeves, a Baton Rouge native who settled in Jackson Parish, began his career in 1990 at Troop A in Baton Rouge as a motorcycle officer. He transferred in 1993 to Troop F in Monroe, where he worked in the patrol divisions as a resident trooper in Jackson Parish.
He was promoted to sergeant in 1998 and worked as a shift supervisor.
Reeves was promoted to lieutenant in 2003 and was eventually named Troop F Commander in 2008 before taking over as Region III commander in 2013.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1
© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved