State Politics

Idaho State Police director retiring July 2; his successor is already named

Idaho State Police Director Col. Ralph Powell will retire July 2.
Idaho State Police Director Col. Ralph Powell will retire July 2. Provided by Idaho State Police

After 34 years with Idaho State Police, the last three as its director, Col. Ralph Powell will retire on July 2, Gov. Butch Otter announced Wednesday.

Otter is appointing the agency’s second-in-command, Deputy Director Lt. Col. Kedrick “Ked” Wills, to be the new director.

“Col. Powell’s career has been distinguished by success at every level of service and command and throughout ISP’s six operating districts,” Otter said in a news release. “In Ked Wills, the Idaho State Police is getting another energetic and engaged director whose leadership and commitment to the success of the agency’s public safety mission is second to none.”

Powell, 59, joined Idaho State Police in 1983 as a trooper. By 2012, he had risen to the position of deputy director. Otter appointed him director with the rank of colonel in March 2013 when Col. Jerry Russell retired.

He and his wife, Julie, have five daughters and 10 grandchildren.

“It has been my privilege to serve with all those that represent the Idaho State Police, in every capacity,” said Powell in the news release. “They are true warriors of justice and represent the highest ideals of the law enforcement community.” Powell said.

Wills, 44, started his law enforcement career as a patrol officer with the Glenns Ferry and Nampa police departments. He joined Idaho State Police in 1996 as a trooper based in Burley. He rose through ranks and by 2010 was a major. Powell promoted Wills to lieutenant colonel and deputy director upon assuming command in 2013.

The son of retired ISP specialist and former state Rep. Rich Wills of Glenns Ferry, Wills has an associate degree from the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in human resources development and training from Idaho State University. He also is a graduate of the Naval Post Graduate Homeland Security Executive Leaders Program and the FBI National Academy.

Wills and his wife, Johanna, have three daughters and a son.

“It is an honor to be asked by Gov. Otter to follow Col. Powell’s footsteps and lead the dedicated and professional men and women of one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the nation,” Wills said. “I will do my best to continue to uphold the high standards that have been set by those giants who went before us and whose shoulders all of us at ISP are standing on today.”

Cynthia Sewell: 208-377-6428, @CynthiaSewell