TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas Highway Patrol Superintendent Herman Jones sat down Monday morning with KSNT News to discuss allegations of sexual misconduct and complaints of dismissing troopers for the wrong reasons.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s office announced that two high-ranking Kansas Highway Patrol troopers were dismissed from their jobs Thursday. The dismissals of Major Scott Harrington and Major Josh Kellerman were part of building a culture and structure within the agency that will help troopers best serve the people of Kansas, according to Jones and the governor.
The colonel gave few details beyond the governor’s message when asked about why the two troopers were let go.
“Those are personnel matters, and basically there was a need for change in administration, and that was the actions that we took,” Jones said. “I wish them very much the best in their endeavors from here on out.”
The changes come in the midst of multiple sexual harassment complaints against Jones himself as well as accusations of misusing a state plane and gender discrimination. Two investigations into the complaints cleared Jones of any wrongdoing, according to the governor’s office.
Jones said the harassment complaints stemmed from a misunderstanding.
“[It was] misinterpretation of actions and things that go with that, and I get that,” Jones said. “I realize that there are some people that read things wrong, or misinterpret some actions from that. I will take responsibility for things that I do. I think some people aren’t as friendly as maybe what I would be, and I recognize that and understand that. A lot of it is just making sure we have clear communication on both sides.”
The Kansas State Troopers Association announced the terminations of the two troopers are connected to the investigation into Jones, and that they were an effort to silence complaints inside of the KHP.
“These two majors supported several female employees who filed complaints regarding unwelcome contact from Colonel Jones and a hostile work environment he and others have created at KHP headquarters. This makes it abundantly clear that these terminations are designed to silence these majors and all future complaints.”Kansas State Troopers Association
Jones responded to the KSTA’s statement, saying they have their own opinion.
“The Troopers Association does not speak for the governor’s office, they do not speak for me,” Jones said.
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