Umatilla Tribal police honor William Morris as officer of the year

By on Thursday, March 21st, 2024 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – (Release by CTUIR) The Umatilla Tribal Police Department (UTPD) has named Det. William Morris as its 2023 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Morris, who began his UTPD career as a patrol officer in 2016 before being promoted to detective in 2022, said he was excited to earn the accolade.

“It is an honor to receive this award, and serving the community is a privilege,” Morris said. “I’ve been fortunate to have great colleagues supporting me and great mentors. No officer succeeds alone, and this award represents a combined effort, so to receive it personally is humbling.”

His primary duty involves investigating crimes against children and elders. However, he also processes evidence as an evidence technician, investigates unattended deaths as a medicolegal death investigator, trains new recruits as a field training officer, serves as a Sex Offender Compliance background investigator and instructs classes on child abuse and mandatory reporting. 

“I have watched William grow and mature into his chosen profession of law enforcement since I hired him back on May 2, 2016,” UTPD Chief Tim Addleman said. “William has always worked hard and strived to be the best police officer he could be. He has always been eager to learn and ask tough questions to expand his knowledge. I am pleased and proud of where he is today in his career, and he is very deserving of this award.”

Morris was expected to accept the award during a March 22 banquet at the Pendleton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 922, 1221 S.E. Court Place. Addleman said each Umatilla County law enforcement agency and fire department annually select its individual officer of the year, and the VFW sponsors a banquet and provides each honoree with a plaque.

“Detective Morris is excelling in learning not only his primary role of child abuse and family violence investigation, but many other facets of police investigations. He has done this with a willingness to help and with an example of work ethic,” the award states. “William stays positive about the services that the police provide and is committed to doing the right thing for the community, no matter the cost to himself or his schedule. He has worked extensive extra hours and weekends throughout the year to ensure his work is being completed correctly and thoroughly…. The Tribal Police has been improving exponentially in recent years and it is because of employees like William Morris that we are earning respect from our community and professional partners.”

Addleman said Morris is the 11th UTPD officer to receive the award, including in recent years Jonathan Elliot (2022), Tommy Thompson (2021), Jordan Williams (2020), Sam Williamson (2019) and Markus Williams (2018).

Editor’s note: CTUIR has corrected an earlier release with this release.

Photo via CTUIR