Press Release: Westerville Chief of Police to Head Bureau of Criminal Investigation

WESTERVILLE (Jan. 4, 2019) – Westerville Division of Police Chief Joseph Morbitzer has been selected by Attorney General-elect Dave Yost to be the next superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. His resignation as Westerville Chief of Police is effective Friday, January 25. 

“Chief Morbitzer is a nationally respected law enforcement leader,” said Yost. “His service, commitment and support of local law enforcement is unmatched and make him the ideal choice to lead BCI. I know Chief Morbitzer will do everything in his power to provide the men and women of Ohio law enforcement with the investigative and technological expertise they need to solve crimes and keep our neighborhoods safe.”

BCI is the state of Ohio crime laboratory, which provides investigative assistance at crime scenes, pairing science and technology to process evidence at criminal scenes, as well as intelligence analysts and identification specialists to aid law enforcement at the local level. In his new position, Morbitzer will manage the agency of approximately 450 employees, including special agents, forensic scientists and other law enforcement personnel. 

Morbitzer is a 36-year career law enforcement professional; the last 33 years of which have been at WPD in ascension in rank from Sergeant to Lieutenant to Captain to Chief. At WPD, Morbitzer is responsible for more than 115 officers and civilians, operating across five bureaus. 

“I’m exceptionally honored to serve the citizens of Ohio through this appointment, and deeply appreciate the confidence from incoming Attorney General Yost,” said Morbitzer. “Westerville will remain my home and I will continue to work with the talented men and women of the Westerville Division of Police at any opportunity. I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished in Westerville and hold great respect for the staff and officers who serve the community with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. My gratitude goes to the entire community for years of trust in leading their police division.”

Under his leadership, WPD has been recognized as one the most innovative law enforcement agencies in Ohio. WPD was named a recipient of the Ohio Attorney General’s “Meritorious Achievement” on five occasions for crime solving and crime prevention initiatives. Morbitzer led WPD in re-engineering its hiring process to recruit and retain officers to be more inclusive and transparent. Additionally, WPD has worked to develop positive relationships with various minority and ethnic communities, which led to him being named the Miriam Alston Award recipient at the 2017 Westerville Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast. Last February, Morbitzer led both the department and the community of Westerville through the crisis of two officers killed in the line of duty.

Westerville City Manager David A. Collinsworth said one of Morbitzer’s legacies will be his focus on community policing.

“He was an early adopter of the idea that law enforcement can best serve the people it protects through community services and outreach,” said Collinsworth. “Under Joe’s leadership, Westerville’s Police Division has built a reputation of trust and mutual respect between its residents and visitors and law enforcement.”

Chief Morbitzer is a 2018 recipient of The Jefferson Award for Public Service. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has served as president of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, where he was awarded the “Michael J. Kelley Award of Excellence and Innovation in Policing.” Morbitzer is active in the Westerville Sunrise Rotary Club, where he started Westerville Community Culture Day in collaboration with various community partners and regional faith-based organizations. He has also been recognized for his efforts supporting Ohio Special Olympics, receiving the organization’s “Award of Merit.”

Morbitzer is a member of the Governor’s Council on Juvenile Justice, the Ohio Attorney General’s State Victims Advisory Board, the Ohio Attorney General’s Task Force on Community Relations and Police Training, and the Law Enforcement Somali Advisory Board. 

Yost will be sworn in as Ohio’s 51st attorney general on Monday, January 14. He currently serves as Auditor of State. Yost served for eight years as the Delaware County Prosecutor, winning the first capital murder case in the county’s history and taking down the county’s largest drug ring. He is also a former county auditor, city council member and award-winning journalist.

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