Ward has interim tag removed from police chief title in Martindale￼
By Kyle Mooty
Tommy Ward, Jr., the Interim Chief of Police for Martindale for last seven months, was officially named the town’s Chief of Police during a special called meeting of the City Council on Saturday, April 2.
Ward, who has a full-time job with the State of Texas, was approved by a 4-1 vote of the council with Councilmember Sonja Gonzales Villalobos, according to Martindale Mayor Katherine Glaze, voting against Ward because of his other employment with no plans to leave soon.
Ward is the Deputy Associate Commissioner of Investigations for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Service. He leads special investigations, childcare investigations, and the human trafficking/child exploitation divisions of the department.
Glaze noted Ward has a plan to add two additional police officers who will work weekdays on 10-hour shifts. Ward, Glaze said, would be available although she noted he lives in New Braunfels and works full-time with the State.
“The only thing anybody could say is, hey, (Ward is) doing this part time,” Glaze said of the decision to selected Ward. “He really isn’t doing this part time. He has been serving us full-time. His last paycheck was 72 hours. He has really been doing a good job for the City of Martindale. I don’t think anybody can really complain about the job he has done. He works evenings; not every evening, but he’s here on the weekends, so we will have pretty good coverage.”
There has been an abundance of notable needs for local law enforcement during the city’s police absence. With Juergens hospitalized with COVID-19, two teenagers were shot and killed in town in May 2021. Shortly after Juergens’ departure, a man was shot and killed in a nearby neighborhood in October 2021. And on April 4, a bicyclist was killed when he darted out in front of a vehicle on SH 80.
Caldwell County Sheriff Mike Lane is glad Martindale has made a move regarding its lack of law enforcement.
“It has been quite some time that Martindale has had a police presence,” Lane said. “I am hoping Martindale gets a full-time chief and additional officers so it can have 24-hour service. As always, we’ll help in a supportive role as needed.”
State Police and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s office were called to Martindale regarding the bicycle accident. There was no law enforcement from Martindale on scene.
“It’s hard sometimes,” Glaze said. “Who really services us is the Constable, Michael Bell. The constables have had someone over every time we’ve needed someone. The constables’ office has been wonderful.”
Martindale narrowed its original list of 60 police chief candidates to about 10 individuals where four people – Mayor Glaze, City Administrator Jared Anable, Citizen Robert Marino, and then-Interim Chief Ward – interviewed them.
According to Glaze, near the end of the interview process, Ward announced that he would like to toss his hat into the ring for a chance to be the official police chief.
“(Ward has) been doing it for a long time,” Glaze said. “With all three finalists, we couldn’t go wrong. The tipping point was Tommy Ward has a home here (New Braunfels).
“I feel like we’re picking up. We’re going to start running a real police department again.”
Glaze said she understood Ward’s reasons for remaining at his position, “a prestigious job that was created just for him,” she said. “They promoted him from within and really upped his salary. The reason he would not like to leave that job right now is because of Social Security. He has been working for (Martindale) on and off for about three years. He worked under Harry Juergens for two and a half years.”
Ward spent eight years with the U.S. Army Military Police Corps, serving around the world. After an Honorable Discharge from servicehe graduated from the Becar County Sheriff’s Academy in San Antonio, where he obtained his Texas Peace Officer License. He served 24 years at the Comal County Sheriff’s Office, earning captain’s status in the criminal investigations division. While at Comal County, Ward focused on Crimes Against Persons, including homicides and Crimes against Children. He also oversaw crime solving/prevention programs, including multi-agency narcotics and gang unit, a multi-agency auto theft unit, school resource officers, and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.).
He is also a graduate of the Texas Leadership and Command College, the FBI National Academy, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police Leadership Academy.
Ward attended Texas A&M, Sam Houston State, and the University of Virginia.
Ward is president/co-founder of Comal Cops for Kids Foundation Inc, a charitable foundation designed to benefit abused, endangered, or underprivileged children. He has been an active board member of several children’s advocacy centers, sexual assault response teams, and other disciplinary teams across Texas. He also sits on local and regional fatality review boards and is a strong advocate for the protection of children.
Glaze said Ward was currently in the interviewing process with potential officers.
“We should have them within a couple of weeks,” Glaze said. “He had been interviewing even before he got hired. The problem was is no one wanted to come on as a police officer not knowing who their boss was going to be.”
Martindale is also looking to replace its City Clerk, Sylvia Gomez, who retired on March 21.
“We’ve got lot of changes going on right now,” Glaze said. “I foresee quite a bit of growth. We’re trying to get ahead of it. We’ve also hired a Building Official and Code Enforcement — Lee Rust. He used to work for the Appraisal District. He’s also on Luling City Council. I’m so impressed with him. He has hit the ground running.”