A pool of three internal candidates for promotion to sergeant in the Liberty Lake Police Department was narrowed to one at the beginning of June – master police officer Darin Morgan.
All three were very qualified and would have done well in the position, said Police Chief Brian Asmus. “It was a tough decision,” he said.
Asmus described Morgan as even tempered, open to new ideas and having a strong character. He’s been with the department for seven years and is qualified as a defensive tactics instructor and an emergency vehicle operations training instructor. Morgan also received recommendations from the majority of his fellow officers, Asmus said. “He gets along with everybody,” he said.
Asmus said it was Morgan’s experience and leadership training in the military that helped tip the scales in his favor. Morgan was a military policeman in the U.S. Army from 1989 to 2000 and still serves in the reserves. He was activated from 2004 to 2006 to serve as a drill sergeant.
“I’ve been a cop my whole life,” Morgan said. At the beginning he was just looking for a military job that would translate well into a civilian job but discovered he loved the work. “I really enjoy it. I just stuck with it.”
Morgan previously worked with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office for five years and said he likes working in Liberty Lake. “You do get a lot of calls,” he said. “You get to assist with the county, you get to assist with the city of Spokane Valley.”
There’s also more time for proactive work like checking hot spots and patrolling, Morgan said.
Though Morgan always aspired for a promotion to sergeant, he said it’s hard to get it as a result of the death of his fellow officer, Sgt. Clint Gibson. “He was a great sergeant,” Morgan said. “I don’t think I can really replace him. I was hoping to get it another way.”
Morgan is the only sergeant in the 10-man department. His old position is being filled by a new hire, Austin Brantingham. He earned a degree in criminal justice from Eastern Washington University and has been working as an unpaid reserve officer with the department for the past seven years, Asmus said.
Morgan said he is settling into his new role and has a good department to work with. “We have a wide range of folks with different types of training,” Morgan said.