D’Iberville native Albert Santa Cruz is retiring at the state’s Public Safety commissioner effective Jan. 31, after a 43-year career in law enforcement.
Santa Cruz, who said he’ll be 77 in March, was appointed commissioner in 2011 by then-Gov. Haley Barbour and reappointed by Gov. Phil Bryant.
“The time has come for me to depart from public service,” he said in a press release Wednesday announcing his retirement. “It has been my honor and privilege to serve the dedicated employees of the Department of Public Safety, the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the citizens of this great state.”
Among other responsibilities, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety oversees the highway safety patrol, most-wanted list and sex-offender registry, and provides information on road conditions, according to the agency’s website.
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During Santa Cruz’s five years as commissioner, the agency made the most aggressive driver-license modernization in its history; opened the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory; introduced a merit promotion system; and, according to the Clarion-Ledger newspaper, successfully lobbied lawmakers in 2014 for a “trooper school” to add about 60 new troopers to the department’s depleted ranks.