Charles Ward strode into Decide Shannon Clark’s courtroom in Enterprise accompanied by the courtroom liaison officer—after which stopped in his tracks as he realized that the room was stuffed with Espresso County courtroom officers ready for his arrival.
“Effectively, you bought me,” the longtime regulation officer mentioned flashing his trademark grin and shaking his head. “I’m overwhelmed.”
Ward is the Alabama Legislation Enforcement Company Division of Public Security Director who retired April 30 after some three a long time of public service. The Ozark native was thanked for that service at a shock retirement occasion held within the Espresso County Courthouse in Enterprise April 20.
“The concept for this began after I acquired a message from a member of our group who expressed their appreciation to your lifetime of service,” mentioned Clark, the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Decide who helped manage the shock. “A few of the attention-grabbing tales this individual advised me had been that they’ll recall while you used to ship newspapers, labored on the grocery retailer, managed a skating rink and even drove a college bus—all of which you had been doing when you had been in highschool,” she mentioned.
“The aim of life is to not be comfortable. It’s to be helpful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some distinction that you’ve got lived and lived properly,” Clark mentioned, quoting essayist and thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Col. Ward, you’ve got completed all this and extra. We wished to inform you how a lot we admire you and thanks to your service.”
Ward was appointed ALEA’s Division of Public Security Appearing Director in November 2016 after which Director in Might 2017. He has served as a member of ALEA/DPS since 1985, with nearly 30 years working his approach up the ranks in Freeway Patrol. Ward additionally spent a while in Protecting Companies and the Workplace of Inspection.
In Might 2015, Ward was promoted to Freeway Patrol Main. He was acknowledged for main the Dothan Put up in DUI arrests in 1986; was named 1987 Trooper of the Yr by the Dothan Optimist Membership; and was named the 2005 Alabama Legislation Enforcement Officer of the Yr by the Alabama Legal professional Normal. Gov. Kay Ivey appointed Ward in Jan. 11, 2019, to the Alabama Peace Officers Requirements and Coaching Fee.
But it surely all started in Ozark, mentioned longtime good friend and Enterprise lawyer Paul Younger. “His Dale County pals name him ‘Charles’ and his Espresso County pals name him ‘Charlie’ however to me he’s ‘colonel,’” Younger mentioned. “And he’s earned that rank from the underside up. He went from dispatcher within the Ozark Police Division to fireman earlier than going to the state trooper academy in 1985.
Ward’s first state trooper project was to Espresso County in 1985. He then transferred to Dale County. Throughout his 36 years with ALEA Ward has served in a number of capacities to incorporate particular operations, visitors murder and the SWAT Workforce. He served as the private escort for a number of Troy College soccer coaches for the previous 20 plus years.
“If you have a look at that badge he has on, most individuals have a look at it as a illustration of authority however the Colonel has not ever checked out it that approach,” Younger mentioned. “To him it’s a name to service—service with honor, energy, integrity and braveness.
“These are all character traits that he possesses and has demonstrated over the course of his life,” Younger mentioned. “He’s accomplished every thing from coordinating troopers throughout hurricanes to saving a fellow officer’s life.
“If you have a look at the sidearm he’s carrying, some individuals take into consideration that as one thing that may take a life; the Colonel appears at it as one thing to avoid wasting a life. If you have a look at the shoulder patch that he wears, it has the Alabama coat of arms on it. Some individuals would have a look at it as simply an adornment on a uniform however to the Colonel it’s a reminder of why he placed on that uniform, that gun belt, daily.
“On that patch is the motto, ‘We dare defend our rights,’” Younger added. “That’s one thing that the colonel has been doing all of his grownup life.”
Younger mentioned that he and Ward “sometimes butted heads within the courtroom,” however have remained true pals. “When he was appointed ALEA DPS Director anyone requested me what I considered a black man being accountable for the state’s largest regulation enforcement company and advised him, ‘I don’t see a black man, I see a person. I see somebody whose integrity and honesty are past query. All I can say to you now Colonel, is God velocity, I really like you and we’re happy with you.”
“Charles Ward has been the identical individual since I met him again within the early Nineteen Eighties,” mentioned Presiding Twelfth Circuit Decide Jeff Kelley. “He’s all the time been an individual that you may rely on, an individual with honesty and integrity. I simply want you the perfect of luck.”
“Col, Ward and I met after I was on the district lawyer’s workplace and I’ll always remember the primary time I met him,” mentioned Espresso County District Decide Josh Wilson. “He was a serious then and I knew if the Main was coming to courtroom it have to be fairly critical.
“Your fame has all the time preceded you, you’re a larger-than-life determine in my life as a result of as a moist behind the ears assistant district lawyer, you all the time took me below your wings,” Wilson mentioned. “I’ve all the time appreciated you for that.”
“Espresso County was the place I began as a younger trooper,” Ward mentioned, thanking the group for his or her tributes. “Decide (Gary) McAliley was the district choose, (retired Circuit Decide) Tom Head was the brand new assistant district lawyer.
“The best courtroom system within the state is correct right here in Espresso County. The one motive I left Espresso County is that I had a chance to return dwelling to Dale County,” Ward mentioned. “And I all the time mentioned if I ever have to go away Dale County, ship me again to Espresso County.
“I wish to inform you I used to be a ticket writing idiot after I got here to city,” Ward mentioned shaking his head and laughing on the reminiscence. “Everybody has mentioned some mighty nice issues in right here however I hope on the finish of the day the legacy that I depart is that I’ve been a servant, that I’ve helped individuals all throughout this nice state.
“I’m completely about public security. I’m about being a servant. I all the time have believed that. That’s why I obtained into regulation enforcement, to serve the group,” Ward mentioned. “I all the time believed in serving to individuals though we had been out imposing legal guidelines. I discovered that early on.
“Paul (Younger) talked about us butting heads. I used to get irritated after I didn’t fairly win some instances however what it taught me was that’s the judicial system, that’s why we’ve obtained it,” Ward mentioned. “It made me a greater individual after I misplaced some trials as a result of it made me higher put together for courtroom and all of it actually taught me easy methods to deal with individuals.
“By no means forgetting the place I got here from,” is what Ward credit for his profitable profession. “I inform folks that I’m not leaving. The nice Lord simply laid it on my coronary heart that I can’t keep endlessly,” he mentioned. “I’ll transfer into somewhat little bit of retired life, spend time with household after which I’ll do regardless of the good Lord leads me to do after that time.”