Mayor Names New Chief Of Po­lice

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kutter

LIN­COLN — As­sis­tant Chief Brian Key has been pro­moted to chief of po­lice for the city of Lin­coln and Chief Rus­sell Mor­phis has moved into the as­sis­tant chief’s po­si­tion, ac­cord­ing to Mayor Rob Hulse.

The of­fi­cers switched roles on Aug. 22.

Hulse said the de­ci­sion to make the changes was “my de­ci­sion and mine alone.” Lin­coln City Coun­cil met in ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion the night be­fore the changes be­came ef­fec­tive. Hulse said the Coun­cil dis­cussed per­son­nel is­sues dur­ing the ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion but did not take any ac­tion when it re­con­vened in pub­lic ses­sion.

Hulse said the changes came about be­cause of con­ver­sa­tions he’s had with Mor­phis dur­ing the last few months about Mor­phis’ plans for re­tire­ment. Hulse said Mor­phis wanted to make sure all tran­si­tions went smoothly.

“He was con­cerned about the state of the de­part­ment,” Hulse said. “That’s a credit to him think­ing about his de­part­ment, his guys and the cit­i­zens of Lin­coln.”

Mor­phis has worked for Lin­coln Po­lice De­part­ment for more than 30 years and was named po­lice chief in De­cem­ber 2009. He has served 13 years as as­sis­tant po­lice chief and school re­source of­fi­cer dur­ing his time at Lin­coln.

Hulse said Mor­phis has not given a re­tire­ment date.

“Any­time you have some­one in a de­part­ment for 30 years who has pro­gressed through the ranks, it’s very rare,” Hulse said. “We’ve very for­tu­nate to have some­one like Chief Mor­phis.”

He added, “I’ve worked with Chief Mor­phis close to 20 years. He’s al­ways done a great job. I hate to see him con­tem­plate re­tire­ment. When the time comes, we want to of­fer him our con­grat­u­la­tions for his ser­vice.”

Hulse said Key is the “right choice and the only log­i­cal choice” to be­come Lin­coln’s next chief of po­lice.

“I was on the Coun­cil when Brian was hired by the city,” Hulse said. “I’ve watched him grow from

a young pa­trol­man into the po­lice of­fi­cer he is to­day.”

Key has the train­ing, lead­er­ship, knowl­edge and com­mit­ment to serve in the po­si­tion, Hulse said.

Hulse and Mor­phis dis­cussed the po­si­tion and Hulse said Mor­phis was on on board with the de­ci­sion.

“He agreed with me about Brian be­ing pro­moted to chief. We felt like the time is right,” Hulse said.

Key has been with Lin­coln po­lice since Jan. 2, 2004. He has served as school re­source of­fi­cer and was pro­moted to as­sis­tant chief in July 2017. Prior to Lin­coln, Key worked for about a year in dis­patch for Wash­ing­ton County.

He said last week he is look­ing for­ward to the new po­si­tion.

“I’m very ap­pre­cia­tive of it,” Key said. “I feel like I’ve ded­i­cated all of my adult life to Lin­coln. I was raised here and I think ev­ery­thing I’ve done to this point will help me fill the po­si­tion. I’ve worked hard to be the best of­fi­cer I can be.”

Key said he plans to ex­pand the de­part­ment’s cov­er­age to have more pa­trols in the city to help “keep an eye on things.”

He also said hav­ing Mor­phis as as­sis­tant chief will be an ad­van­tage be­cause of Mor­phis’ law en­force­ment ex­pe­ri­ence and will help the tran­si­tion. Along with be­ing as­sis­tant chief, Mor­phis also will move into the role of school re­source of­fi­cer.

The de­part­ment has five of­fi­cers — chief, as­sis­tant chief and three pa­trol of­fi­cers — and Key sup­ports the city’s ini­tia­tive to seek a .75-per­cent sales tax that would be used to hire ad­di­tional po­lice of­fi­cers. If the sales tax passes, Key said he hopes to hire two more of­fi­cers.

“Hope­fully, we can get more of­fi­cers in place and pro­vide bet­ter cov­er­age and make our com­mu­nity safer,” Key said.

Key is a grad­u­ate of Lin­coln High. He and his wife have two chil­dren who at­tend Lin­coln schools.

LYNN KUTTER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Brian Key has been pro­moted to Lin­coln po­lice chief.

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