WESTERVILLE (WCMH) — After 32 years with the Westerville Division of Police, Chief Joe Morbitzer is leaving to become the top cop at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Morbitzer will serve as the next superintendent of BCI, which is part of the Attorney General’s office.
For 36 years Morbitzer has been a police officer and 32 of those years have been with the Westerville Division of Police.
“Looked at the way they help and assist people and it’s one of the greatest callings in the world,” said Morbitzer.
Morbitzer grew up on the south side of Columbus. As a kid he says he knew he always wanted to be a police officer. After seeing an officer in his neighborhood play a game of pick-up ball with children in the street.
As a young kid he learned the importance of community and police relationships.
“We have a really good outreach program with the public,” said Morbitzer.
A young Joseph Morbitzer graduated from the Franklin County Sheriffs Training Academy in 1982.
In 1986 he joined the Westerville police force, taking on various roles. In 2005 he became the top officer in charge.
But through the years he says he’s always stressed the importance of community relationships.
“Whether it is with the schools which we have a really positive relationship or with the general community or more importantly with the kids,” said Morbitzer.
And the community will miss him too. Schneider’s Bakery, a popular donut shop in town says the chief has always proven to be Westerville Strong.
“I think it’s a good thing for a new start for everyone. And the two police officers that were killed I think would be very excited for him,” says Janine Mayville.
Morbitzer says February 10th 2018 was the toughest day in his 36 years as officer. That’s the day Westerville officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were shot and killed in the line of duty.
“When you look at Tony and Eric they were something people were looking for. They knew they were outstanding police officers. But they were just fantastic good hearted people both of them. And in today’s world members of the public want good cops who are good people in their hearts,” said Morbitzer.
He says when the day comes for him to pack up and leave he’s leaving behind a community that he loves deeply.
“It’s going to be tough. I have invested 32 years in this department and this city and department has invested 32 years in me which more important. “
The chief’s last day is January 25. His successor has not been named.