Elmore County Sheriff's Office remembers captain after unexpected death

Published: Mar. 29, 2017 at 3:33 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2017 at 5:48 PM CDT
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(Source: WSFA 12 News) Capt. Ward
(Source: WSFA 12 News) Capt. Ward
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

ELMORE CO., AL (WSFA) - The black wreath. The flag at half-staff. And a quiet undercover patrol car. The life of a veteran lawman has come to an end. Lt. Troy Evans says it doesn't seem real.

"I think we were all fairly shocked," Evans admitted.

Capt. Terry Ward spent 40 years in law enforcement, starting in 1977. He worked for the Montgomery Police Department, became Millbrook's police chief, then joined the Elmore County Sheriff's Office 17 years ago.

"He just had that demeanor about him that is was hard to argue with him out on a call," remembered Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin.

Ward had a genetic heart defect and underwent surgery last Friday before going home for rest. Unfortunately, Tuesday morning he took a turn for the worse.

"His wife immediately called an ambulance and it went down from there," Franklin said.

Ward was the head of the patrol division but at one time during his career here, Lt. Evans was his boss.

"I mean, you knew this guy had more experience than I did. I just had a rank," Evans recalled.

Even with his heart surgery, friends and colleagues had every reason to believe Ward would bounce back because he had done it before. He just turned 60 in November.

The sheriff and his team didn't just lose a valuable member of the force but 40 years of knowledge that can't be replaced, 40 years from a man many say earned his final salute of a job well done.

Ward's funeral is set for Friday. Visitation begins at 4 p.m. at Gassett Funeral Home in Wetumpka with funeral service following at 6 p.m. in the funeral home's chapel.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.