Troop F History
In 1932, the Louisiana Highway Patrol was established. On July 28, 1936, Act 94 consolidated the State Highway Patrol and Bureau of Criminal investigation to establish the Louisiana State Police. The first Troop F headquarters was located on US 80 near the intersection of US 165. The first captain for Troop F was Reginald W. Ensminger. Captain Ensminger began his law enforcement career with the Louisiana Highway Commission in 1923. At this time, troopers personally owned and maintained the vehicles which were used on patrol. The men received fifty-five dollars per month for the upkeep of the vehicles.
In 1943, the monthly salary for a trooper at this time was $125.00. The total number of automobiles at Troop F was twelve and two motorcycles. Troop F employed eighteen men at this time. On February 1, 1945, Jackson and Lincoln Parishes were transferred from Troop G to Troop F. These parishes were closer to the Troop F headquarters in Monroe, making radio communications available to the troopers patrolling these parishes.
Captain Ensminger was Troop F commander until 1951, when Captain Roy Byrd became commander. Captain Byrd was troop commander until 1954. In October of 1954, Captain M.E. Kidd became troop commander. Captain Kidd held the position as commander for the next seventeen years. On March 7, 1956 Trooper Johnny Mitchell was attempting to stop a speeder near the Arkansas line. After a pursuit into Arkansas, shots were exchanged between the violator and Trooper Mitchell. Trooper Mitchell was struck and later lost a kidney. Trooper Mitchell was able to return fire and wounded the gunman. Trooper Mitchell went on to become police chief of West Monroe, a position from which he is retired.
In 1960, Troop F moved its headquarters from US 80 to Selman Field. At this time the new troop was the most modern in the state. It was heated by the latest method, butane. Troop O was created in 1968 and based in the city hall at Delhi, Louisiana. Troop O was very short lived, lasting a mere 13 months. The original idea of creating Troop O was to provide more effective coverage for Franklin, Richland, Tensas, Madison, East and West Carroll Parishes.
A monumental step toward true professionalism was achieved on January 19, 1970, with the hiring of Abraham Bowie. Bowie was the first African American trooper in the State of Louisiana. Trooper Bowie was 32-years-old and had just completed a ten year tour of duty with the Marine Corps. Trooper Bowie became the first African American to retire from the Louisiana State Police. In 1970, Trooper Wendell Lewis stopped a suspected stolen vehicle on US 80, just west of Delhi. Upon approaching the vehicle, both Trooper Lewis and a deputy were shot. Trooper Lewis was shot in the back and legs, and left for dead in a wooded area. Trooper Lewis was able to crawl to the highway and flag down a passing motorist. Trooper Lewis recovered from his wounds and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He served as the Executive Officer at Troop F. In 1971, Captain John B. Thompson took command of Troop F, serving until August of 1975. Captain Thompson left the state police to become the police chief of Ruston, Louisiana. In 1975, Captain Aubrey Porter was promoted to the commander position at Troop F.
During the next three years, several modern modes of law enforcement came into being. Troop F began the use aircraft to visually enforce speed laws. When Captain Porter left Troop F in 1978, Captain Kenneth Wagner became the new commander. Captain Wagner joined the ranks of LSP in 1960. Troop F flooded due to heavy rains. While attempting to evacuate Troop F due to flooding, a state police helicopter crashed during takeoff. The first female trooper for Troop F was assigned. Trooper Barbara Brossette became the only female trooper in the northern part of the state.
In the spring of 1980, Captain Richard E. Patrick became commander of Troop F. Captain Patrick was instrumental in acquiring the present location of Troop F. On February 5, 1983 Trooper Michael Kees stopped a violator who he suspected was DWI. During the traffic stop, the vehicle fled into the night. After 25 miles of pursuit though Lincoln Parish roads, TFC. Kees was led into a deadly curve at a high rate of speed. TFC. Kees was killed instantly when his unit left the roadway. In April of 1983, Troop F moved to the present location on LA 594. The new troop was dedicated in the memory of TFC. Michael Kees. In 1984, Captain Patrick left as commander of Troop F to assume a position at headquarters in Baton Rouge. Captain J.V. Byrd became commander in 1984. On March 14, 1986, TFC Bobby Smith was critically wounded by a fleeing DWI suspect in Franklin Parish. TFC Smith sustained two shotgun blasts during the confrontation. TFC Smith received wounds to his face and hands that resulted in the loss of his sight. Trooper Smith went on to overcome the tragedy and became one of the nation's premier motivational speakers.
On December 1, 2006, Lt. Don French was promoted to Captain at Troop F. Captain French began his service to the state in 1974. Captain French served many years as a narcotics investigator and shift supervisor prior to his appointment to captain. Captain French went on to retire from the state police in 2008, after 35 years of service to the citizens of Louisiana. On November 20, 2008 Lt Kevin Reeves, a native of Baton Rouge, was promoted to the rank of captain at Troop F. Upon taking control of Troop F, Captain Reeves brought back motor units to Troop F and implemented a tough proactive stance on DWI enforcement.
Commanders Who Served Troop F:
- Rex Ensminger (1936-1952)
- Roy Byrd (1952-1954)
- Milton Kidd (1954-1971)
- John Thompson (1971-1975)
- Aubrey Porter (1975-1978)
- Kenny Wagner (1978-1980)
- Richard Patrick (1980-1984)
- J.V. Byrd (1984-1993)
- Don McDonald (1993-2006)
- Don French (2006-2008)
- Kevin Reeves (2008-2013)
- Tommy Lewis (2013-Present)