By Samantha Joseph
STUART - After nearly 14 years in the position, Stuart Police Chief Edward M. Morley is set to retire on Sept. 30.
Longtime Assistant Chief David Dyess will take the job beginning Oct. 1.
Chief Morley said he has no clear plans on how he'll spend his retirement, but had been considering the move for about two years in light of the city's early retirement plan.
He has served as the area's police chief since 1999, and has had a 35-year law enforcement career.
Before coming to Stuart, he retired from the Delray Beach Police Department, where he'd served since 1977.
"I'd like to thank the residents of Stuart for the honor of being their police chief," he said, adding that his 64-member staff had become like family. "That's probably the hardest thing about retiring."
Under Chief Morley's leadership, the police department amassed several honors, including The Webber Seavey award, which is an international award for quality in law enforcement.
He also led the department to its first and subsequent accreditations by the Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.
His tenure saw the implementation of new specialty divisions, such as the motorcycle and gang units. He also led the city through response and recovery from three major hurricanes between 2004 and 2005, and was later instrumental in the approval, design and construction of the city's public safety building, staff said.
Paul Nicoletti, city manager, appointed Assistant Chief Dyess to the position.
At 43, the new chief has already spent more than half his life with the agency.
He joined the Stuart Police Department in 1990 and has since served as a tactical officer, detective, road patrol sergeant, detective sergeant and lieutenant, overseeing the support services division, according to information from Michael Pope, the department's spokesman.
Assistant Chief Dyess, who holds bachelor of science degree in public management from Nova Southeastern University, is also a graduate of the Southern Police Institute's command development course, the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management in Policing program and the FBI National Academy.
He has been Stuart's assistant chief of police since early 2007.