MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – On Wednesday afternoon, Morgantown City Manager Paul Brake announced that Deputy Chief of Police Eric Powell will serve as Interim Police Chief for the Morgantown Police Department while the city searches for a replacement for Police Chief Ed Preston.
After serving as Police Chief for a little more than nine years, Preston will resign from the Morgantown Police Department on June 30. Last month, Brake received a letter of resignation from Chief Preston, indicating that he hoped his resignation would help the city avoid potential reductions in force due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preston also recommended that Powell take over his duties as Chief of Police, according to city officials.
“Deputy Chief Powell has played an important role in maintaining the high standards of the department and has worked tirelessly for the community,” said City Manager Paul Brake. “He is an experienced police administrator and officer and I am confident in Eric’s ability to lead the department while we work through the selection process for this very important position.”
A release from city officials that was issued on Thursday stated that Powell joined the Morgantown Police Department in 1997, after working as a correctional officer for the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department for four years.
During his tenure with the Morgantown Police Department, he has served as an officer, detective, first line supervisor and deputy chief, according to the release. Powell has been closely involved in the management of the department and is responsible for all patrol operations as deputy chief, the release stated. Officials said that Powell is also a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the West Virginia Chiefs of Police Association, among many other associations.
“I am honored for the opportunity to serve in this position and to work alongside the men and women who keep Morgantown safe,” said Powell. “We will continue our efforts to reduce crime and work together to support this great city.”
Officials said that the city is preparing to conduct an extensive search for a new police chief, which will most likely take place following the city’s current search for a new City Manager.