Gov. Jay Nixon announced this afternoon that John M. Britt, director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, will be stepping down from his position. Director Britt informed the Governor of his intention to step down in early September.
DPS Deputy Director Andrea Spillars will serve as acting director until a permanent replacement is named.
"For more than three decades, John Britt has devoted himself to serving and protecting the people of our state and our nation," Gov. Nixon said. "As director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, John has distinguished himself by leading the state's response to numerous natural disasters, where seamless coordination between agencies and jurisdictions has saved lives. John's decades in law enforcement have helped him build strong and productive relationships across Missouri. We are a better, safer and stronger state because of his service. I thank John for his leadership, and Georganne and I wish him and Peggy all the best as they begin a new chapter in their lives."
Gov. Nixon named Director Britt to his position on Jan. 8, 2009. A 27-year veteran of the U.S. Secret Service, Director Britt helped lead the state's response to numerous natural disasters, including significant flooding in southwest and northwest Missouri; a historic blizzard that required the closure of Interstate 70; and the devastating Joplin tornado.
Director Britt also oversaw the merger of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Missouri State Water Patrol, a unification that kept the same number of officers on the state's roads and waterways, while reducing administrative overhead.
"Each and every day, I am impressed and inspired by the commitment, dedication and excellence of the men and women who wear the uniform to keep the people of Missouri safe," Director Britt said. "It's been an honor to work closely with law enforcement and public safety professionals across the state in this position, and I know I'm leaving the department in good hands. I thank the outstanding professionals at the Department of Public Safety who have been a key part of my team over the past two-and-a-half years, and I thank Gov. Nixon for the opportunity to serve the law enforcement community in our state."
For 27 years, Director Britt served in a variety of positions with the U.S. Secret Service. From 1999 to 2002, he was Special Agent in Charge of the Service's St. Louis division. During his tenure with the Service, Director Britt assisted with the protection of numerous national and international leaders, including the President and Vice President, and he coordinated security for the visit of Pope John Paul II to the United States in 1999. In addition, Director Britt served with the Service's bank fraud squad, the protective intelligence squad, the criminal response squad and other units around the country and overseas.
In 2002, Director Britt became senior director for global security at the Anheuser-Busch Companies in St. Louis, with responsibility for the safety of all corporate facilities, assets and 38,000 employees. Director Britt personally directed and coordinated security for senior company executives, and he oversaw the security operations for significant corporate activities, including national sales conventions, shareholders meetings and the company's participation in major events, such as the Super Bowl and Olympics. He retired from Anheuser-Busch in 2008.
Prior to joining the Secret Service, Director Britt was a police officer in University City, Mo., for two years. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Association of Retired Agents of the U.S. Secret Service, the Missouri Police Chiefs Association and the Missouri Association of State Troopers Emergency Relief Society. Director Britt serves on the board of the U.S. Department of State's Overseas Security Advisory Council and is a past member of the St. Louis Area Police Chief's Association.
Andrea Spillars, who has served as the department's deputy director and general counsel since 2009, will assume the position as acting director. As deputy director, Ms. Spillars has focused much of her work on disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts.
Acting Director Spillars has almost 20 years of experience working with local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies across the state of Missouri. Prior to her appointment as Deputy Director & General Counsel, she spent the last 12 years as Unit Chief and the Director of the Public Safety Division within the Missouri Attorney General's Office. In that role, she was ultimately responsible for representing all state law enforcement agencies, assisting local prosecutors in criminal trials, and enforcing the sexually violent predator commitment law. She is a graduate of Central Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.