DeWine pays tribute to former public safety director, inspector general

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 8, 2024

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued the following statement following the death of former Ohio Department of Public Safety Director and longest-serving Ohio Inspector General Thomas P. Charles.

Charles died Jan. 23 at age 81.

“Fran and I are saddened to learn of the death of Tom Charles,”DeWine said. “Tom was a dedicated public servant. He spent more than 31 years in the Ohio State Highway Patrol, serving in numerous leadership capacities up to his service as Lieutenant Colonel. Following his retirement from the Patrol in 1994, he went on to become Ohio’s longest-serving inspector general from 1998-2011. He also served as director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety from 2011-2013 and worked as an advisor to JobsOhio to oversee and ensure ethics compliance in the state’s privatized economic development agency. Simply put, Tom’s commitment to public safety and integrity in government service was unmatched. Fran and I extend our deepest sympathies to Tom’s wife, Brigette, and to his family and friends.”

Email newsletter signup

Thomas was appointed to the position of inspector general by Republican Gov. George Voinovich, then reappointed by Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat. He was appointed to the public safety position by Republican Gov. John Kasich, and retired in 2013.

Charles was well-known for being an investigator in the 2005 Coingate scandal of the state’s Republican Party, which culminated in Gov. Bob Taft pleading no contest to four misdemeanor violations of state ethics laws.