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Public Safety director Drew Juden to step down after Parson seeks 'different approach'

Gov. Mike Parson's office announced Friday morning Department of Public Safety director Charles "Drew" Juden would depart the agency, effective Aug. 31. (File)

Missouri Governor Mike Parson will have a major cabinet position to fill at the end of August.

Parson's office announced Friday morning Department of Public Safety director Charles "Drew" Juden would depart the agency, effective Aug. 31. Missouri State Highway Patrol superintendent Col. Sandra Karsten will serve as acting director of the department, while continuing her current role with the patrol.

“Drew is a well accomplished public servant. We appreciate his time and service to the State of Missouri and wish him well in the future,” Parson stated in a release. “Colonel Karsten has a long track record of being a top-notch professional and an exemplary public servant. We are confident in her leadership during this transition.”

The reason for Juden's departure wasn't clear, but a spokeswoman for Parson indicated he was asked to leave, saying Parson was seeking "a different approach."

The release stated Parson would begin his work on appointing a new public safety director in the near future.

“Governor Parson asked if I would be willing to assist during the Department’s transition, and I am more than happy to help. Ensuring the public’s safety has been a top priority in my 33-year career in law enforcement, and it always will be,” Karsten stated in the release.

Juden was appointed as the director of the Department of Public Safety in January 2017 by former Gov. Eric Greitens. Juden, a former president of the Missouri Police Chiefs Association, had been serving as the police chief of Sikeston.

Editor's Note: The story has been updated with a line from Parson's spokeswoman.

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