By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Much has been made over the promotion of State Trooper Wendell Ray Lewis to Chief of Protective Services. This has also become a part of the rumor mill machine surrounding the First Couple’s pending divorce.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Secretary Spencer Collier says, the promotion followed proper protocol, but the press has not taken the time to investigate the facts. Collier said when ALEA was created under Act 2013-67, they were tasked with uniting the 12 State Law Enforcement agencies into one entity: “We were given 18 months to stand ALEA up,” said Collier. “The law created a Secretary, and three appointed positions: Director of Public Safety, Director of F.B.I., and Chief of Protective Services, which would oversee Dignitary Protection, and Capital Police.”
The second unit was the Protective Services unit, where the Capital Police, and Dignitary Protection were brought together. Wendell Ray Lewis was made Chief over that unit: “That appointment was made by me, in consultation with the Governor,” said Collier. The appointment was made under the Alabama State Personnel Board Alabama State Personnel Department Administrative Code 670-X-7-.06.
Lewis received his promotion under the Reallocations section, which reads in part, “…if the incumbent has been performing the duties that are the basis for reallocation for five years or more in a completely satisfactory manner at the time the position is reallocated to a higher class, he will be given status in the new class if his name appears on the competitive or promotional eligible list, as of the date of its establishment….”
“Ray had been in position as the Governor’s detail leader for five years. Between that, and his time as Protective Services with the University of Alabama, he met the requirements under the code of Alabama,” said Collier.
Lewis has since retired, but a storm of speculation has reemerged as part of the rumors surrounding the announcement of the First Lady filing for divorce from Gov. Bentley.