Gov. Butch Otter announced Wednesday that Colonel Ralph Powell is retiring after 34 years with the Idaho State Police. And the governor has promoted Lt. Col. Kedrick “Ked” Wills to serve as Powell’s successor.

“Colonel Powell’s career has been distinguished by success at every level of service and command and throughout ISP’s six operating districts. He is a consummate law enforcement professional who has set a high standard for his colleagues and the men and women under his command,” Otter said in a statement.

Powell began his ISP career in 1983 as a state trooper. He has moved up in the ranks over the years and Otter appointed him ISP director in March 2013 after Colonel Jerry Russell retired.

“It has been my privilege to serve with all those that represent the Idaho State Police, in every capacity. They are true warriors of justice and represent the highest ideals of the law enforcement community,” Powell said.

Wills became an Idaho State Police trooper in 1996. He was elevated to lieutenant colonel and ISP deputy director upon assuming command in 2013.

Powell says he attributes his long career to genuinely loving his job and having fun from day one on the job.

"Now imagine 34 years later I'm still able to say, though I'm not jumping in a charger and heading down the highway at 140 miles per hour which is fun, but I still come to work and because of the people I work with I still have fun every day," said Powell.

“It is an honor to be asked by Gov. Otter to follow Colonel Powell’s footsteps and lead the dedicated and professional men and women of one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the nation,” Wills said. “I will do my best to continue to uphold the high standards that have been set by those giants who went before us and whose shoulders all of us at ISP are standing on today.”

Powell’s retirement is effective July 2. Wills will be promoted to colonel when he assumes his new post.