Ex-Secret Service agent to lead Missouri Department of Public Safety

JEFFERSON CITY | Incoming Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday picked a former U.S. Secret Service agent and retired Anheuser-Busch security director to lead the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

John M. Britt, 59, of Chesterfield, spent 27 years with the U.S. Secret Service and directed security for the St. Louis-based brewery from 2002 to 2008. Britt led the St. Louis division for the Secret Service from 1999 to 2002 and helped with security for visits by Pope John Paul II to St. Louis in 1999 and to Detroit in 1987.

At Anheuser-Busch, Britt's job entailed handling security for shareholder meetings, national sales conventions and the company's participation in events such as the Super Bowl and Olympics.

In a written statement to announce the selection, Nixon cited Britt's law enforcement experience and corporate experience.

"Together, John and I will ensure that the department is doing everything it can to keep Missouri families safe from crime, terrorism and natural disaster and to support our law enforcement community," said Nixon, who takes office Monday.

The Public Safety Department has oversight responsibilities for several state emergency and law enforcement agencies, including the Highway Patrol, Water Patrol, Capitol Police, National Guard, Division of Fire Safety and the State Emergency Management Agency. The department also includes the Veterans Commission and the Missouri Gaming Commission.

Before joining the Secret Service, Britt spent two years as a police officer in University City, just outside St. Louis. He has a bachelor's degree in criminology from Sam Houston State University.