Since when did Morenci’s recent mayoral election become a referendum on police chief Larry Weeks?
Perhaps that was obvious from the start to many people who voted for Bill Foster, but we’ve heard from many other voters who had no inkling of what was to come. Had they known that their vote would have helped determine the future of Chief Weeks, they would have made a different choice on election day.
Mayor Foster sees things differently. He would likely call it a referendum on 24-hour police coverage and Weeks became a victim of that effort. Foster’s goal is to move coverage from the current 20-hours-a-day plan to 24-hour coverage. To pay for the change, he would let the veteran chief go.
In the end, Chief Weeks didn’t give Foster that opportunity. He says he read the writing on the wall and looked at other employment opportunities, eventually accepting a new job.
The reactions we’ve heard to Week’s departure ranges from disbelief to anger at Foster. It didn’t take long for the word “recall” to be spoken.
Chief Weeks wants none of the brouhaha that’s following his resignation. He would prefer to depart quietly and not leave turmoil behind, but that might not happen. We expect to see 4-3 votes among council members on the issue of Weeks’s replacement and possibly on other issues coming up.
The chief’s departure is more of a matter than merely a budget issue. We understand there are people in the community who aren’t supporters of Chief Weeks. We suspect many of them have had dealings with the police department in one way or another. At the polls, they were able to punish a police officer for doing the job he was hired to do.
We’re among Morenci’s citizens—a majority, for sure—who are saddened to lose Larry Weeks and his family. Not only did he do an exemplary job as police chief, he became during his years here an upstanding and outstanding resident of the community.
Morenci’s loss is certainly a gain for Eaton Rapids.