Ellis County has a new Department of Public Safety sergeant over Highway Patrol.

Michael Windham was previously stationed in Sanger, north of Denton, where he most recently served as a corporal before promoting to sergeant. He replaces Chris Jones, who promoted to lieutenant and transferred within the agency.

Windham has been with DPS since February 1996 and previously served as an officer with the Sanger Police Department. He received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from North Central Texas College in Gainesville.

 “This is what I wanted to do when I went to college,” he said. “It was my intention to be a state trooper.”

He’s said he’s found the work rewarding.

“I have really enjoyed being a part of protecting the community and trying to reduce traffic crashes,” Windham said, noting he also was involved in drug interdiction at his prior duty station.

In Ellis County, he will oversee 13 troopers in the Highway Patrol Division, which is housed with the agency’s other divisions in new offices at 1720 E. U.S. Highway 287 Business in Waxahachie.

He said he’s looking forward to working in Ellis County.

“I’ve been told it’s one of the most active areas in the district,” he said. “Everybody’s told me, ‘Good luck. You’re going to be busy.’ ”

He notes that Ellis County presents a unique challenge in that its patrol area includes two interstates (35E and 45) and a major U.S. highway (287).

“There’s a high volume of traffic coming through,” he said, noting a primary focus for the Highway Patrol is to decrease the number of traffic accidents.

Beyond that, troopers are trained to keep an eye out for any indicators of criminal activity that might be present during their contacts with the public.

“On every traffic stop they make, they should look at the big picture beyond the initial traffic stop,” Windham said, noting, as an example, how a trooper’s observations and questions can lead to the recovery of illegal drugs.

His wife, Jennifer, is a schoolteacher. The couple has two sons, ages 8 and 5.

E-mail JoAnn at joann@wninews.com