Commission approves police chief to lieutenant

SAN BENITO — City commissioners have approved repositioning Police Chief Martin Morales to the new title of lieutenant.

The request was made by Morales a couple of weeks ago when he announced he would be stepping down from his leadership position.

In order to accommodate his request, commissioners had to write an ordinance allowing the changes in the number of budgeted and authorized positions at the rank of police lieutenant.

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

City leaders assured the public last night that it would not cost the city any money.

City commissioners breezed through the second and final reading of the ordinance last night.

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

Morales announced two weeks ago 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,” City Manager Manuel De La Rosa said 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 have yet to discuss Morales’s replacement.