New Public Safety Director takes office

: Gov. Bob Riley appointed Col. F.A. “Bubba” Bingham as Director of Public Safety on Friday.
: Gov. Bob Riley appointed Col. F.A. “Bubba” Bingham as Director of Public Safety on Friday.

MONTGOMERY – Col. F.A. "Bubba" Bingham, a 37-year law enforcement veteran, was sworn into office on Friday as the new Director of Public Safety for the state of Alabama by Governor Bob Riley.

Bingham replaces Col. J. Christopher Murphy, who began working Friday as the City of Montgomery's public safety director.

Bingham has extensive experience in public safety and law enforcement.  He's served as Assistant Director of Public Safety for more than three years and previously served as chief of the Driver License Division, chief of the Protective Services Division, and assistant chief of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.  For more than 30 years, Bingham has also served in the Alabama National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve, including active duty service in the War on Terrorism.

"I know Col. Bingham is committed to continuing the outstanding progress we've made in public safety.  He's going to do an excellent job for the people of Alabama," said Governor Riley before administering the oath of office to Bingham.

Governor Riley used the occasion to also praise accomplishments in public safety that have taken place during the past eight years, from improvements in highway safety to a new $24.5 million law enforcement training center to reduced waiting times for driver licenses.

"When we came into office eight years ago, we said we would find highly qualified and eminently successful leaders to run these agencies.  Innovators who weren't going to simply come in, sit in an office and maintain the status quo.  We were going to find leaders who were going to change things for the better," said Governor Riley.

Those changes at Public Safety involved using crash data to design effective countermeasures to reduce fatalities, safety enforcement campaigns such as "Take Back Our Highways" and Task Force Zero, a multi-jurisdictional effort to effectively combat impaired drivers, and leadership training for each rank of sworn officer and for supervisory employees.  This training helped to instill professionalism, effectiveness and the highest standards of law enforcement service.

The results in improving highway safety have been astounding. Fatalities in crashes worked by state troopers have dropped from a high of 828 in 2006 to 393 as of Sept. 29. 2010 makes the fourth consecutive year fatalities have been reduced.

"Of all the things we've been able to accomplish, one of the most incredible is the dramatic change when it comes to highway safety.  Because of these changes, Alabama's highways are the safest they've been in a generation and lives have been saved," Governor Riley said.  "People are alive today because of what has been accomplished."

The Governor also noted that Public Safety focused on re-establishing customer service as a priority and expanded online services. Both helped to reduce waiting times for driver licenses and increase customer satisfaction.

After taking the oath of office, Bingham signed an ethics pledge that Governor Riley requires of his Cabinet. The Governor has required Cabinet members to sign an ethics pledge since he came into office in 2003.

INFORMATION SOURCE: Governor Riley's Press Office