Ryan Hillard leaving police departmetn 2014.03.05

The future of Morenci’s police department was on the discussion table Tuesday night when Morenci city council members met for a committee of the whole meeting.

The meeting was prompted by the impending resignation of interim police chief Ryan Hillard, who will leave Morenci March 16 to join the Eaton Rapids department, where former Morenci chief Larry Weeks now serves as police chief.

Morenci mayor Bill Foster initially called for a special council meeting Monday to appoint officer Don Thompson as interim chief. That meeting was later changed to a committee of the whole session on Wednesday to interview Thompson, but the Tuesday agenda now calls for a general discussion of the department.

Due to budget constraints, some decisions need to be made about the future of the department, said city administrator/clerk Michael Sessions. In addition to hiring a chief or an interim chief, council must consider police coverage hours. Sessions will provide councilors with various scenarios and costs. Council members need to create a police budget for the next year before a final city budget is offered for approval.

Sessions is urging council not to rush into a decision without taking a look at a long-range plan.