By Mark Westphal
On Jan. 31, President Erika Beck appointed Michael D. Morris, who was working as Acting Police Chief in the absence of Former Chief John Reid, as CI’s permanent Police Chief. For the past several months, Chief Reid has been working at California State University, Chico as their Police Chief and has since accepted a permanent position there.
Chief Morris started working as a police officer right out of high school in 1992 for the city of Lemoore, California before beginning his career in University Law Enforcement in 2000 at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) as a Sergeant. While he was working at CSUB with a wife and two children, Chief Morris began taking classes there in order to further his education. He says that going to class alongside students while he was still a Sergeant helped him understand students better.
“I think what I got from that more than anything else was I learned how to better serve students,” Chief Morris said. “I learned better what students actually want and need from a university, and so as a staff member I’ve taken and carried that forward throughout my career when it comes to actually trying to effectively serve the needs of students.”
Growing up, Chief Morris was surrounded by the medical profession; his mother, father and one sibling are all nurses. He describes himself as “the black sheep of the family,” and attributes his decision to have a career in law enforcement to games of cops and robbers he played as a child and always wanting to be the good guy.
In July 2006, Chief Reid, who had just been appointed as CI’s Police Chief, needed to hire a Lieutenant. Chief Morris applied for the job and was selected, and began work on the first of December that same year. Now, a little over 11 years later, Chief Morris was officially sworn-in as CI’s Police Chief on March 16.
When asked to describe his experience at CI so far he simply said, “It’s been amazing,” and praised CI as the best law enforcement agency, and University, that he has ever worked for. “There’s something incredibly unique and special about Channel Islands, and I think everyone who comes here or becomes a part of this community can feel that.”
For students who have an interest in law enforcement, Chief Morris’s advice is to stay out of trouble, think about the future, don’t have a criminal history and to start hanging out with the police. He recommends getting an on-campus job with the police department, not only to make some money, but to also get hands-on experience with the police department and have some real responsibility. He also says that when these student employees graduate, they might try to bring them on as a full-time employee in their department as a dispatcher or public safety officer. Eventually, they might even sponsor them to attend the police academy while still being an employee.