Alan Ward

Alan Ward is sworn in as Carmel police chief on Friday, June 3. 

After 23 years serving on the police force in Merced, Alan Ward has been sworn in as police chief in Carmel. 

He was hired after a nationwide search following the retirement of the former chief, Paul Tomasi, who came up internally from within Carmel PD. "I have found him thoughtful, intelligent, approachable,” City Administrator Chip Rerig said at a swearing-in ceremony on Friday, June 3. 

Ward was a sergeant in Merced, a city of roughly 84,000, for 12 years before moving up the ranks to lieutenant then captain. "I am very, very excited about the opportunity," Ward said. "I get a twinge of excitement every time someone refers to it as 'The Village.'"

The swearing-in did feature a few comical jabs at Carmel policing—which includes calls for things like neighbor controversies over pet pigs—but an acknowledgment that the police also regularly respond to crimes like burglaries, DUIs and domestic violence. 

Ward arrives in a tense moment nationally amid a spate of mass shootings, and locally after two armed police standoffs in the past week, one of which ended with the fatal shooting of a man in Sand City on June 1 after a traffic stop. The police chief in that small neighboring city was one of the officers who fired.

Ward sees the violence in a larger societal context. "The nation in general, post-Covid, has created anxiety and conflict," he says. "I think this is a product of that." 

Interim Chief Brian Uhler will stay on to help the Carmel Police Chief with special projects. 

Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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