The Warwick city council has fired police chief David Morris.
In a letter to Morris, Mayor Juanita Kitchen said Morris was being fired for negligence, insubordination, and was unfit to perform his duties. The letter said Morris has not followed city policy on firing and disciplining officers, spending city tax money, and placing quotas on his officers to issue traffic tickets.
Morris has five days to appeal the dismissal, set to take effect on August 4th. Under the Warwick city charter, the mayor has the power to hire and fire city employees with the city council able to override any of the decisions made by the mayor. Mayor Kitchens has appointed Tim Murphy Interim Police Chief for the city of Warwick.
The former Police Chief of Warwick said he was still in shock Monday after being fired without warning by the Mayor.
Chief David Morris was dismissed on Friday.But he said the police department is the best it's ever been. "I'm just totally at disbelief at this whole situation," said Morris. David Morris says he was blind sidedd by the mayor's decision to fire him after less than three years as Warwick's Police Chief. "I'm the type chief and I'm the type person, I know I work for the city of warwick, I work for the citizens of this community. If they'd have come to me and asked me, 'Hey, we want things to start being done this way,' as long as it's lawful, I would have done it," said Morris.
Mayor Juanita Kinchens fired Morris because of the large amount of fines the department collects."This is a city of 424 people making well over 100,000 dollars in fines and forfeitures for any one month," said City Attorney Tommy Coleman. Morris admits making people pay fines is the best way to ensure people comply with traffic laws, but said safety is their main concern."If they weren't out there doing what they were doing, I have no doubt in my mind we would've had more fatalities in this stretch of roadway," said Morris.
Coleman also said Morris required quotas for officers, which is against state law. Morris said he never put a number on his officers, but did tell them to work while they were on duty. "If you're not making traffic stops, and there's no calls for service, then what can I show that you've done work for 12 hours," said Morris. But Coleman says this mentality is eventually what led them to firing Morris. "In the view of the mayor and council, it was just a situation that he didn't feel that they were subject to the leadership of the mayor and council, but yet they were independent and could do what they wanted to do," said Coleman. The City Council will make the final decision on the appeal of Morris's firing.