Chief stepping down

SAN BENITO —Police Chief Martin Morales has announced his plans to step down.

And now city commissioners have made the necessary moves to accommodate that request.

At a regular city commission meeting Tuesday night, commissioners moved through the first reading of an ordinance that, if approved, would provide changes in the number of budgeted and authorized positions at the rank of lieutenant in the police department.

The change would ultimately create a new position for Morales, which is what he desires.

A second reading is required for adoption and approval.

No one has replaced Morales, yet. He will continue in his chief’s position until he officially steps down.

Morales announced last week that he would be stepping down from his position as head of the department with hopes to take on a new role within the department.

Morales said he looks forward to his role as an officer with the department.

“I love the city and want to continue being productive as a police officer, but it is time for me to slow down a bit. I am happy that the city will allow me to continue serving as a police officer, however I wish to continue pursuing my educational goals and look forward to completing my degree in December,” he said.

The changes come as Morales completes 28 years of service in the city’s police department and five years as chief.

“This comes at Mr. Morales’ request,” said City Manager Manuel De La Rosa in a recent press release.

“We met to discuss the proposal and he said he wished to step down, but continue to serve the department and city in other capacities.”

“The city commission is expected to consider adoption of a resolution that creates a lieutenant position for Morales. Until that time, he will continue serving as police chief of operations,” De La Rosa said.

The San Benito Police Department currently employs 43 sworn officers, along with eight civilian staff members.

City officials will not pick a replacement until Morales officially steps down.