PELL CITY – Chief Greg Turley said Wednesday he is officially retiring from the Police Department at the end of December.

“He has done an excellent job,” said City Council President James McGowan, who has served on the council for years while Turley served as police chief. “He is the type of person you would want for that position. Serving in that kind of position can change some people, but Greg never changed. He has always been the same.”

McGowan said he spoke with Turley on Tuesday night about his decision to retire and to take care of his mother, who has numerous health issues.

“I wish him well, and we are keeping him in our prayers,” McGowan said.

Turley said his father died nine years ago, so he is the only person his ailing mother has to help her.

“She had a pretty bad fall,” Turley said.

He said his mother broke her hip and underwent surgery last week. Turley said his mother has other health problems, and she wanted him to be with her.

“It’s tough,” he said.

Turley said he has 23 years invested in the state retirement system, but he has mixed emotions about leaving the department. However, family comes first.

“I’m very proud of our department and where we are,” Turley said. “We are on the right track. The department is in great hands.”

Former Mayor Guin Robinson recommended the council appoint Turley as the city’s police chief, and the council approved that recommendation in 2002.

Turley followed Mike Hale, who is now the Jefferson County sheriff, as the city’s chief of police.

“I had some very good mentors, including Mike Hale,” Turley said. “He was a great mentor and friend.”

Turley has served as the Pell City chief for 14 years and has served more than 19 years with the department. He also served as the Ohatchee chief of police for one year before returning to the Pell City Police Department.

As the Pell City chief, Turley has served on several state boards. He was appointed twice by the governor to the Alabama Polygraph Licensing Board.

He was also appointed by the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police to the Department of Forensic Sciences Chemical Testing, Training and Equipment Trust Fund Advisory Board.

Locally, Turley served as the president for the St. Clair County Chiefs Association for many years.

Turley, who is a licensed helicopter pilot and instructor, was also appointed by the St. Clair County Commission to the St. Clair County Airport Authority Board.

While in command of the Police Department and at his direction, the department added a Marine Division to patrol Pell City along the coastlines of Logan Martin Lake. He was also instrumental in starting a joint helicopter search and rescue unit that serves not only Pell City but the entire St. Clair County.

“In the 14 years Greg Turley has served as chief of the Pell City Police Department, he has shown professionalism and dedication in the leadership of his department and to the citizens of Pell City,” St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor said. “During his tenure, Greg has been an innovative chief, improving and expanding the resources of the Pell City Police Department in their services to the community through the addition of such programs like the Pell City/St Clair Air Support Unit, PCPD Mobile Command Center, Marine Patrol, Bike Patrol, Citizens Police Academy and the Explorer Program.”

Minor said Turley has shown great compassion and strength during his time as chief, particularly as he led his department and community through the devastating tornadoes of 2011 and the tragic loss of two Pell City officers.

“Greg has been in law enforcement over 20 years and has earned the respect of many,” Minor said. “I wish him all the best in the future and thank him for his service to the city of Pell City.”

Pell City Manager Brian Muenger said Turley will assist with the transition as he prepares for his retirement. Muenger said Turley plans to continue working with the department until Dec. 31, when he officially retires.

“He’s a true professional,” Muenger said.

Turley said it is impossible for him to care for his mother and fill the demanding position of police chief.

“This is a very difficult decision that I have prayed over since having a candid discussion with her surgeon last Monday night,” Turley said.

He said it is hard for someone like him to fill the void of not working in law enforcement and serving with the Pell City Police Department.

“We have progressed through hundreds of milestones that (have) set the standard for others to follow and (have) kept our community as one of the safest during times of record-breaking growth,” Turley said in his notification letter to the city of his decision to retire. “I am also very proud of the tireless efforts of the men and women of the Pell City Police Department that established the highest levels of productivity, efficiency, wellness and integrity in the agency’s history.

“Our progressive community policing culture, intelligence-led policing strategies, embracing of technology and training, and (innovative) problem-solving strategies have established the Pell City Police Department as a true ‘Department of Excellence’ that will continue to keep our community one of the safest.”

While with the Pell City Police Department, Turley has served as a DARE Officer, sergeant, detective sergeant, captain and the eventual chief for the department.

Muenger said he is uncertain as to what direction the council will take in hiring the new chief. The City Council appoints the police chief.

“I know the council will want to review all their options in making this very important decision,” Muenger said. “Obviously, we have some big shoes to fill.”