MORRO BAY — City Manager Scott Collins announced on Oct. 31 the appointment of Jody Cox to Chief of Police for the Morro Bay Police Department. The announcement was met with pleasure by both the staff and community.
Cox, who has been serving here since 2012 when he was hired as Police Sergeant, has been serving as Commander since 2016. On two separate occasions, he performed as acting Police Chief.
“Jody is well prepared to take the reins of the Police Department, with over 30 years of law enforcement experience,” commented City Manager Collins. “He has shown that he is a great leader of his staff and I am excited about the energy and ideas he will bring to the job to make the department even stronger.”
Collins said that during the recruitment process he spoke with members of the police volunteers, the staff, and community members and everyone expressed satisfaction with Cox. “When you hear that from the community, it makes a difference,” Collins said.
In recent years recruitment for this position brought in law enforcement people from the outside and Morro Bay has gone through a jumble of turnover with this position. Collins said that sometimes a city needs an outside influence to shake up the department. “It is a very important position and a person has to be hard working,” Collins said. “They have to be smart and visible and be able to make tough choices to hold their staff accountable and to defend them. It’s a fine line to walk.”
Chief Cox began his career in law enforcement in 1988 with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department. He progressed through the ranks of that department and the City of Tulare Police Departments, serving in several capacities, including patrol, SWAT, investigations, and special unit work.
Nationwide there has been much negativity regarding actions of some members of law enforcement and the public only gets to see these rather isolated incidents and not much about actions by police officers doing their jobs to the best of their ability. “Some of this negativity has resulted in the next generation thinking it is not worth it to enter into police work,” Collins said, “and we need good law enforcement.”
Collins went on to say he feels the Morro Bay Police Department is very strong with officers that have
The department has not lost any officers to any other agencies in more than a year Collins said even though many agencies do try poaching by offering percentage increases in salary.
“Jody chose to come here some years ago and become immersed in the community and a fixture at the schools,” Collins said. “He is quiet in his manner but speaks volumes about the community in a positive way. He has a lot of good ideas. He understands that the Commander in Chief requires different skill sets and he wants to grow into the job.”
As Morro Bay goes forward with a new City Council it faces many important issues some of which will involve law enforcement. One of those issues is homelessness and while this is primarily a social issue for the community, the police have a role in this. Criminal justice is not the answer however police officers often need to play cop and social worker. “It’s a societal issue,” Collins commented. “People should not go to jail for being poor.”
Collins went on to say that there will be some retirement in the force in coming years and that we must plan ahead. One of the things he looks forward to is Cox’s plan to get cops into the neighborhoods. “Jody has ideas how to integrate the police into the community,” he said. “He’s well prepared and ready to take it on.”