Police chief serves final day in Westerville

Police chief serves final day in Westerville
Morbitzer out of service radio call
Morbitzer salutes new interim police chiefs

WESTERVILLE, Ohio — After more than 32 years on the job, Joe Morbitzer retired his badge on Friday.

Morbitzer is stepping down as chief of the Westerville Division of Police and will now head up the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

The Westerville Division of Police has grown by leaps and bounds since Morbitzer was sworn in.

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Morbitzer said the department essentially doubled in size during his time as chief.

The Westerville Division of Police was one of the first to join forces with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Westerville students now roam the halls alongside school resource officers and police have tackled the opioid crisis with a clear direction.

“Our responsibility is to get them healthy and moving in a different direction than where they're at today,” Morbitzer said.

Chief Morbitzer made many appearances on 10TV, always happy to talk about crime trends and prevention.

He said he is hanging up his chief hat secure in the knowledge he has recruited new officers who are what he calls part warrior and part guardian.

“To watch how eager they are, how energetic they are, it does your heart well. You know the department's in good shape when you leave here,” Morbitzer said.

The department also forever changed after the murders of two officers, Tony Morelli, and Eric Joering, in February 2018.

The officers were responding to a domestic dispute when they were shot and killed.

Morbitzer said the department is now led by a desire to carry on the officers' legacies that they were not only good officers, but good men.

Morbitzer said there is no such thing as a new normal.

“It's never going to be normal and it's never going to be back to the way it was, and it shouldn't.”

Morbitzer said he will look for ways to improve BCI by spending time with the investigators, the lab technicians and the analysts, who make the crime scene investigation magic happen.

“The greatest ideas come from the front-line troops, and that's where you pull ideas. Some we can do, and use, and some we can't, but the greatest idea comes from the people who have their boots on the ground every day.”

Morbitzer said he what he will miss most is the community he's served most of his adult life, but he is confident he is leaving the city in capable hands

The City of Westerville announced Wednesday Assistant Chief Charles Chandler and Assistant Chief Holly Murchland will alternate terms in three-month periods as Acting Chief of Police for the Westerville Division of Police.