In an email to West Jefferson mayor Ray Martin Tuesday, police chief Terry Ward announced he will be retiring.

“After a little over 33 years of service for the Village of West Jefferson police department, I would like to announce my intention to retire as soon as practical,” Ward wrote in the email. “It has been a privilege to be able to work with and establish relationships with our community and those businesses that rely on first responders.”

The announcement came after Ward was put on paid administrative leave by Martin following a complaint made against Ward on Nov. 27.

“There was a complaint, we did an investigation and he decided after 33 years, he was done,” Martin said. “Any notes I’ve taken, I’ve taken to the law director.” The law director is Mike Murray of Culp, Parsons and Murray and also acts as the village solicitor.

Martin also said that, upon Ward’s announcement, any complaints against him were dropped.

Ward became police chief in 2012 and a year into his service, he made news for creating a Facebook page for the village police department which council members then ordered him to take down. They had said it was in violation of village web policies. After more than two years, and after Martin was elected mayor, the site went back up.

In Ward’s place, the acting police chief is Lt. Gary McNeal.

By Michael Williamson

Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.