The state Inspector General’s Office and the Louisiana State Police are investigating complaints lodged against the State Fire Marshal’s Office, State Police Capt. Doug Cain said Wednesday.
The news of the investigations comes one day after State Fire Marshal Butch Browning’s last day on the job. The State Police sent out a news release Tuesday afternoon announcing Browning’s retirement, effective Tuesday.
Cain said Browning retired to take a private sector job. Before becoming State Fire Marshal, Browning was the Gonzales Fire Department’s chief.
Cain said a trooper from his agency was assigned to work with the State Inspector General’s Office on its investigation.
Inspector General Stephen Street said Wednesday that his agency is investigating “a series of complaints” lodged against the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Street said the investigation has been under way “for some time” but he said he couldn’t make any other comments because it’s a pending matter.
Cain said anytime someone lodges a complaint against a Department of Public Safety agency, the State Police routinely launches an internal review of the matter. The State Police has not completed its internal investigation, Cain said.
When asked for details about the complaints, Cain said he could not comment.
Cain said the complaints in question came in weeks ago but that Browning was mulling his private sector job offer for months.
When asked if Browning had ever been disciplined by the State Police while State Fire Marshal, Cain said, “No. Not that I’m aware of.”
“Butch did some great things as State Fire Marshal. He has 27 years of fire service and he said he did what was in the best interest for his family,” Cain said.