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updated: 10/27/2010 7:03 PM

Prospect Hts. police chief resigns amid layoff talks

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  • Former Prospect Heights Police Chief Bruce Morris waits for the city council to come out of a closed session discussion about possible police layoffs on Monday night. Morris abruptly resigned Wednesday afternoon after 20 years on the force, 12 as chief.

       Former Prospect Heights Police Chief Bruce Morris waits for the city council to come out of a closed session discussion about possible police layoffs on Monday night. Morris abruptly resigned Wednesday afternoon after 20 years on the force, 12 as chief.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 

Prospect Heights Police Chief Bruce Morris a veteran of the force since its formation in 1990 abruptly retired Wednesday afternoon.

"I'm retiring today and packing up right now," Morris said, declining to comment further. "It just seems like a good thing to do."

A few minutes later, Morris officially announced his resignation through an e-mail to new City Administrator Anne Marrin. Just two days earlier at Monday's contentious city council meeting regarding possible police layoffs, the 57-year-old told a Daily Herald reporter he planned on going about his week as normal.

This has been arguably the most difficult of his 12 years as chief, as the city is threatening to lay off between four and six officers. The entire 22-person force, including Morris, has been patrolling city streets because of reduced staffing, leaving the police station closed to the public.

Prospect Heights had attempted to close a $250,000 budget deficit by forcing employees to take 30 unpaid furlough days a year starting in July 2009. But an arbitrator last week ruled that violated the police department's collective bargaining agreement.

The city council on Monday met in closed session to discuss layoffs targeting the most junior officers, but delayed making a decision. Morris did not participate in the closed session.

Metropolitan Alliance of Police union attorney Jerry Marzullo said he's meeting with officers Thursday.

When contacted by phone Wednesday afternoon, Prospect Heights Mayor Dolly Vole said Morris was still the chief as far as she knew.

Marrin, who's been administrator for about a month, had yet to read Morris' e-mail but said his retirement is completely voluntarily.

"God love him, we wish him well," she said. "He's one of the original guys, so I'm sure this was a big decision for him."

Prospect Heights Alderman Richard Hamen hadn't heard Morris had stepped down, but spoke only positively about the chief's service.

"He's worked long and hard for the city of Prospect Heights, and his efforts are greatly appreciated," Hamen said.

Morris graduated from Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. He started his career as a Chicago police officer in 1980.

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