J. Christopher Murphy Public Safety Director
J. Christopher Murphy was sworn in as Montgomery’s director of Public Safety by Mayor Todd Strange on Oct. 1, 2010. Mayor Strange established the position to unite into one cohesive agency Fire/Rescue, Police, Emergency Communications, and the City/County Emergency Management Agency. Director Murphy’s goal for the unified department is to provide professional public service in an efficient and effective manner. He believes DPS is a vital and primary governmental service that not only responds to the urgent needs of citizens, but also works in partnership with the community to ensure public safety. The department employs more than 1,200 staff members and administers a combined budget of approximately $82 million.
Director Murphy began his law enforcement career in 1978 with the Auburn Police Department, and in 1979, he graduated from the Montgomery Police Academy. In 1981, he took a position as a special agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. In 1985, Director Murphy joined the U.S. Secret Service, serving as a special agent in the St. Louis and Philadelphia field offices. He also served as an instructor in the Office of Training and on the Vice Presidential Protection Detail, where he became a detail leader for Second Lady Tipper Gore. Director Murphy accepted progressive management positions in Montgomery, Houston and Birmingham. In 2002, he was promoted to special agent in charge of the Birmingham district office, with responsibility for both Alabama and Mississippi. In his 21-year career with the service, Director Murphy worked protection for seated presidents and vice presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. He protected former presidents, presidential candidates, and a host of foreign heads-of-state, traveling extensively throughout the United States and in more than 20 foreign countries. Upon retirement from the Secret Service, Director Murphy served on Gov. Bob Riley’s Cabinet as director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety. In that position he led a department of almost 1,500 employees with a budget of $180 million. Integrity, ethics, and the highest of professional standards were hallmarks of his administration. Improved driver license services, bold initiatives in ABI, reduced fatalities and crashes, and construction of a new training academy were signature accomplishments under Chris Murphy’s leadership. Director Murphy earned an undergraduate degree in criminal justice at Auburn University and a master’s degree in the administration of criminal justice at Troy University. He has completed numerous management and leadership schools, including the FBI’s National Executive Institute, the Johns Hopkins Gettysburg Staff Ride, and Scotland Yard’s National Negotiator’s Course. Director Murphy and his wife, Nancy, are the parents of three sons.