The Missouri State Senate unanimously approved Lt. Col. Sandy Karsten as Missouri State Highway Patrol superintendent

Sandy Karsten Missouris new superintendent

The Missouri Senate last week unanimously approved Lt. Col. Sandy Karsten as Missouri State Highway Patrol superintendent, making her the first woman to hold the position since the patrol’s inception 81 years ago.  Karsten, who was nominated by Gov. Eric Greitens, was sitting in the gallery as the vote took place, surrounded by her “brothers and sisters” from the patrol.  She received praise from both sides of the aisle  “She is in this position because everything she has worked for and her ability, and nothing to do with the fact that she is a man or a woman,” said Sen. Gina Walsh, the Democratic minority leader.  “She is the most qualified individual for this position, and I’m honored she will be leading our Highway Patrol shortly.”  In an interview with the Globe after the vote, Karsten, eyes welled with unshed tears, said she was overwhelmed with pride and honor.  Karsten started as a state trooper and worked up to the second-ranking position.  Ever since Col. Bret Johnson retired Feb. 1, Karsten has been the acting superintendent.  “I bring a different approach to the office,” Karsten said.  “I bring the perspective of being a mother, wife and sister.With the state’s budget crisis, Karsten said she will take a deeper look at the patrol’s more than 1,000 officers to make sure they are positioned in the right spot to produce the most effective results.  “It’s time to go to work,” Karsten said.  Maj. Kemp Shoun was one of the “brothers” in attendance and joked he had known Karsten “since she was a mere child.”  They were in the same academy class in 1985, and he worked for her as a captain in human resources.  “If you worked around her, you saw this coming years ago,” Shoun said, adding that Karsten’s “talent has always been evident.”  Shoun described Karsten as a “high interaction person” who leads by example and wants the goals and standards she sets to be followed.  “It would have been easy for her to ask someone else to figure out the hard parts,” Shoun said.  “But she would always be part of the problem-solving.  She would get down into the weeds with you and learn what’s involved.”  Shoun said Karsten’s ascendance was “history-making“.  There is no more glass ceiling here,” he said.