Morris Police Chief submits resignation after 30 years in Morris
MORRIS – After 12 years as Morris' chief of police, Jim Beauregard is stepping down.
On Tuesday, the Morris City Council accepted Beauregard's resignation effective July 31, 2013.
“It's probably as much as surprise to myself as it is to you,” said Beauregard, who told the council he had been offered an opportunity to consult part-time on traffic safety issues for the state of Minnesota.
Beauregard has been a member of the Morris Police Department since 1983 and served as police chief since 2001.
In a speech to the council, Beauregard thanked Mayor Sheldon Giese and the city council – past and present – for their support. He also spoke briefly about his goals when he was appointed chief and the state of the police department.
When Beauregard was appointed chief in 2001, he took over a department of young officers with several vacancies. At the time, Beauregard said it was an opportunity for the community the build the kind of police force it wants to have.
One goal to create a collaborative department that would go into the community to work on crime prevention efforts with young people, businesses and others.
A crime free multi-housing project has helped lower the number of issues between landlords and tenants and work with businesses has helped reduce the number of burglaries and thefts, Beauregard said.
“We have the lowest burglary rate in all of western Minnesota for the size of our community,” said Beauregard. “It goes to show that when you work with people and you have a comprehensive patrol in the evening hours, you can make some real progress there.”
Beauregard said he is most proud of the fact that the city's juvenile crime rate is at 7 percent, the lowest it has been in 40 years.
Over the last 12 years, Beauregard has also worked to professionalize the police department. Today, Morris has one of the most highly-educated departments in the area, both personally and within their fields.
The Morris Police Department has one of the top investigators in the state and one of the best forensic investigators on staff, Beauregard noted.
All five members of the city council praised Beauregard's work and thanked him for his service to the city.
“I had the opportunity to work with Jim for about 15 years and he always did a good job and helped us with any calls we had,” said Council member Bill Storck. “I hope you have a lot of success in your future.”
“I think we have an awesome police department that is approachable by the public; it really means a lot that people feels comfortable – the officers are out and involved with the community,” said Council member Jeff Miller.
City Attorney Aaron Jordan said Beauregard's attention to detail has been “remarkable,” which trickles down to the rest of the department.
“If it wasn't for the great report writing I get and the investigative packets that are sound, we wouldn't get the convictions without that work,” said Jordan.
The search for a new police chief will begin with the Civil Service Commission, a three-member board organized to facilitate dialogue between the city and residents on issues concerning the police department. The three members of the Civil Service Commission are Peg Rinkenberger, John Amundson and Dale Peterson.
In a memo to the council, Hill said he will assist the Civil Service Commission to provide a ranked list of candidates for the position after the position is advertised.
“Once the ranked listing is completed, I will make an appointment,” wrote Hill. “Then the appointment will go to the city council for ratification.”
In the mean time, the city may need to appoint an interim police chief. Hill said the department has several qualified candidates in the department. The council will likely need to make that decision sometime in July.