CONTACT: Office of the Governor
Pete Smith (601) 359-3150 or (601) 720-8733
Courtney Olivier (601) 359-3150

Wednesday, March 1, 2006


(Jackson, Mississippi) – Governor Haley Barbour today announced the appointment of Lt. Col. Michael Berthay, a 28-year law enforcement professional, as chief of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol.

Berthay, of Saltillo, has served since 2004 as director of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, a division of the Department of Public Safety. The bureau is responsible for investigative support of the MHP Uniform Division, providing assistance to local, state and federal agencies as well as managing the Criminal Information Center Complex.

“Col. Berthay is an experienced, professional law enforcement officer who comes to this position with the outstanding credentials required for one chosen to head the Highway Patrol,” Governor Barbour said. “During his long and distinguished career at the Highway Patrol, he has seen all aspects of law enforcement up close and personal, and I know his contributions to public safety in Mississippi will be substantial.”

Berthay was appointed to the Mississippi Highway Patrol in 1982, serving in Troop D in the Greenwood District. His subsequent roles included service on the Interdiction Team and as a sniper on the SWAT Team. In a succession of promotions, he also received other assignments in investigative and management positions in law enforcement, including a special assignment with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

He has been a full-time law enforcement officer since 1978, working first with the Saltillo Police Department and the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department. He also worked as an agent with the Alcoholic Beverage Control division and as a patrol officer with the Greenville Police Department.

Berthay holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Mississippi, where he majored in criminal justice law enforcement, and an associate degree in law enforcement from Itawamba Community College. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms New Agent Academy and the U.S. Treasury Academy for Criminal Investigation.

Berthay and his wife, Rita, are the parents of two children, Clint and Ryan, who are both college students.

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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741

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