High-Ranking DEA Official to Take Helm at Kansas Highway Patrol 

DEA official Erik Smith

By Steve Neavling

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has tapped a high-ranking DEA official to lead the state’s highway patrol. 

Erik Smith, chief of the DEA’s Inspection Division since 2021, will replace retiring Supt. Herman Jones, who is facing federal lawsuits over the agency’s policing and claims that he sexually harassed female employees, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports

Smith will take over on July 7. 

A native of Ellsworth, Kansas, Smith received a criminal justice degree from Friends University in Wichita and served nine years with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office in Wichita. 

“I appreciate Colonel Jones’ tenure at KHP and his over 45 years of service to our state,” Kelly said in a statement. “I also welcome Erik Smith back to Kansas. I am confident he will draw upon his experience in law enforcement in Sedgwick County, in Kansas City, and at the national level to strengthen the Kansas Highway Patrol and keep Kansans safe.”

The Kansas Senate must confirm Smith’s appointment next year. 

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