Dale County native to retire as ALEA's DPS Director

ALEA’s DPS Director Col. Charles Ward was the keynote speaker at the Daleville Department of Public Safety’s fourth annual Junior Police Academy Graduation July 17, 2020 and is shown in this Southeast Sunfile photo at the 2020 Wiregrass Law Enforcement Seminar in Ozark.

A Dale County native will retire after 36 years in law enforcement service.

Charles Ward will retire as the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Director of Public Safety April 30.

“Col. Ward has selflessly served the citizens of this state for many years and has proudly led DPS with precision and integrity,” said ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor about the man who has served with the agency since 1985. “I am extremely grateful for all he has done for this agency and I am confident his replacement is another outstanding leader that will continue to move ALEA in the right direction.”

The public safety bureau is comprised of three divisions: Motor Carrier Safety, Marine Patrol and Highway Patrol, the last of which makes up the bulk of Ward’s career.

An Ozark native, Ward was appointed as the ALEA DPS Acting Director in November 2016 and became the agency director in May 2017 after working his way through the ranks.

Ward worked as a dispatcher with the Ozark Police Department and graduated from the Alabama State Trooper Academy in 1985. He also became a certified emergency medical technician.

Ward served for 10 years in Highway Patrol in Coffee and Dale counties and at the Dothan Post. During his time there, he was recognized for leading the Dothan Post in DUI arrests in 1986 and was named the Dothan Optimist Club’s Trooper of the Year for 1987.

Taylor said that Ward’s successor, James “Jimmy” Helms, will assume the position as ALEA DPS Director May 1. Helms began his career with the Montgomery Police Department 30 years ago. He has served most recently as the Director of Training at the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center in Selma.

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