Highway Patrol head to step down in May

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JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon announced Wednesday that Col. Ron Replogle, the superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, will step down in May. 

Replogle has spent more than 30 years with the agency and Nixon appointed him as superintendent in February 2010. Nixon praised Replogle for his leadership. 

"He has always given me his honest counsel, and he's also been a friend," Nixon said.

Replogle said he made the move to spend time with his family. 

"I have a 10 month old grandson," Replogle said. "He's going to some grandpa attention, I'm looking forward to that." 

Nixon said the move had nothing to do with the highway patrol's involvement in the law enforcement response or a Wednesday night committee hearing regarding Ferguson. 

Nixon announced that he would appoint Maj. Bret Johnson to the position of superintendent in March, pending Senate confirmation. Johnson is a 28 year veteran of the agency and is currently the commander of the patrol's Bureau of Field Operations, a division that includes more than three-quarters of the patrol's troopers.