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Juden out as public safety director; Parson names Karsten as interim leader

Charles "Drew" Juden was one of former Gov. Eric Greitens' earliest picks for his Cabinet. Juden will step down as DPS director on Aug. 31.
File photo | Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio
Charles "Drew" Juden was one of former Gov. Eric Greitens' earliest picks for his Cabinet. Juden will step down as Department of Public Safety director on Aug. 31.

Gov. Mike Parson is replacing one of the Missouri Cabinet members he inherited from former Gov. Eric Greitens.

Charles “Drew” Juden has served as public safety director since January 2017. He was among three Cabinet picks Greitens announced before his inauguration.

Col. Sandra Karsten, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, will serve as interim director while a search for a successor is conducted. She will continue to head the Highway Patrol as well.

“Col. Karsten has a track record of being a top-notch professional and an exemplary public servant,” Parson said. “We are confident in her leadership during this transition.”

Juden will leave his post at the end of the month.

Col. Sandra Karsten
Credit Missouri State Highway Patrol
Col. Sandra Karsten

Parson didn't comment on why he's making the change, but wished Juden well in a written statement.

“Drew is a well accomplished public servant,” he said. “We appreciate his time and service to the State of Missouri.”

In addition to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Department of Public Safety oversees several other divisions:

  • Missouri National Guard
  • State Emergency Management Agency
  • State Fire Marshal’s office
  • Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control
  • Missouri Capitol Police
  • Missouri Veterans Commission
  • Missouri Gaming Commission

Three days after taking office in June, Parson told reporters he had no intention of replacing any of Greitens’ chosen agency heads.
“Gov. Greitens brought together a good team to the state of Missouri,” he said. “All I want to do is be a resource for them.”

Parson’s press secretary, Kelli Jones, said Friday that the governor has the right to look “in a different direction” for an agency director.

Juden formerly served as chief for both the police and fire departments in Sikeston, Missouri.

Follow Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.