Aug 22, 2007 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
After serving more than eight years as Liverpool police chief, Donald Morris resigned last week in order to become chief of the East Syracuse Police Department. He’s taking the reins Oct. 15.
“This gives me the opportunity to meet some different challenges,” Morris said during the Liverpool Village Board meeting Aug. 20. “I feel I’m leaving the village in better shape than when I got there.”
Morris, who lives in Baldwinsville with his wife and three children, will replace East Syracuse’s acting chief of police, Peter Vasiloff, who filled in after Chief Doug Robertson retired in July.
“Everyone in the village has been great,” Morris said. “So I’m leaving with a heavy heart.”
Liverpool’s deputy mayor Gary White, a former police officer himself, said he’d yet to officially receive Morris’ resignation as of the Aug. 20 village board meeting.
“We don’t want to lose him,” White said. “He’s been a tremendous asset to this community.”
The LPD has six full-time employees, including the chief, a sergeant and three full-time officers, as well as seven part-time officers and four part-time crossing guards,
The ESPD employs 17 people — many full-time, including the chief, two investigators and two sergeants. It is staffed by ten police officers, some part-time.
In Liverpool, Morris administers an annual departmental budget of $484,398, while the East Syracuse budget is nearly twice that amount.
The son of a New York City police detective, Morris began his career in January 1984 and before long he was working undercover narcotics cases in lower Manhattan and Harlem.
He and his family moved upstate in November 1990 when he joined the Solvay Police Department, where he rose to the rank of captain.
On March 15, 1999, Morris was appointed chief of police in Liverpool after the resignation of former chief Richard Owens.
In Liverpool, Morris implemented a bicycle patrol, a foot patrol program, a watch-your-car program and child safety seat check-ups. He restored the LPD Explorer Post and also re-instated the “Officer of the Year” award and department recognition programs.
Along with veteran Sergeant Michael Burg, Morris completed the updating of the department’s rules and regulations by Jan. 1, 2000.
In October 2000, the village of Liverpool offices moved into a renovated building at 310 Sycamore St., known as the Gleason Mansion Carriage House, which previously housed the Liverpool Fire Department. This new village hall is now the home for the Liverpool Police Department, village clerk and village court.
The Liverpool Police Department’s New York State Accreditation was renewed twice under Morris’ leadership, in 2001 and again in 2006.
“There are approximately 500 police departments across the state,” Morris said, “and only a fraction are accredited, so that’s something we’re very proud of here at the Liverpool Police Department.”
As chief here, Morris brought in thousands of dollars in state and federal grants to buy equipment such as police vehicles, portable radios, computers and high-tech crime-fighting gear such as the new license-plate-reader.
The wheels and the gizmos are only as good as the personnel operating them, however, and Morris was always quick to credit his officers for their “high degree of professionalism.”
The LPD is “proactive,” the chief said. By having officers consistently make overnight business checks and stop cars for possible traffic violations, the LPD discourages crime from taking a hold here, he said.
Tons of traffic
Traffic safety is a primary focus for law enforcement in both Liverpool and East Syracuse. More than 35,000 vehicles roll through Liverpool daily, while commercial development is bustling along East Syracuse’s Route 290 corridor and there’s a high volume of commuter traffic along routes 481 and 690 there.
As of the 2000 federal census, East Syracuse, located in the town of DeWitt, had a population of 3,178, a few hundred more people than Liverpool’s population of 2,505. East Syracuse residents have recently complained about increased criminal activity in their neighborhoods, however, so Morris has some serious work ahead of him.