MOREHEAD CITY — After more than 26 years with the Morehead City Police Department and six as its chief, Bernette Morris plans to retire later this year.

Morehead City manager Ryan Eggleston announced the chief’s retirement during a city council work session Tuesday morning. Chief Morris will retire effective Wednesday, Dec. 1, with her last day being Wednesday, Nov. 10. In the meantime, the city will hire an outside firm to help with a national search for a new police chief.

“We know (from) talking with some different groups that a true, full search will take us about four to five months,” Mr. Eggleston said Tuesday.

The city is preparing a request for proposals, or RFP, in order to find a firm to carry out the search. Human resources director Susan Nixon said she wants to kick off the process as soon as possible and will send out the RFPs by next week at the latest. During its upcoming regular meeting next week, the city council will consider a budget amendment allocating $25,000 for the search. 

“In the RFP is our criteria on the hiring process, what we want the firm to do, preparing kind of a profile of the candidate we’re looking for, prepare the job description and then targeting the specific areas that we want to advertise this position,” Ms. Nixon said.

Chief Morris spoke briefly Tuesday to say she is looking forward to retirement, but will miss the department she served for so long. She has worked for the MCPD since February 1995 and became chief in April 2015.

Her securing the top job was a landmark moment, as she is only the second Black female police chief in the state of the North Carolina, and the first for Morehead City.

“I must say I’ve had a good 27 years here with you all, my second family,” she said to the city council. “I appreciate you so much, you don’t even know.”


This article and headline were updated at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday, June 2, 2021, to change when Chief Morris is retiring from November to December. This was a reporting error.


Contact Elise Clouser at; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

(8) comments


Twenty five thousand dollars!


I'm sorry, but $25k for a national search? Is there not a single qualified officer in the MCPD that can take over this position? And without costing the taxpayers $25k?


That’s nothing! The board of education spent $65k to hire a new superintendent!


I hear Lori Lightfoot, the Mayor of Chicago, maybe looking for a job sooner or later.

She is a skilled lawyer, but at one point in her career, she was in charge of the Police Accountability Task Force, charged with fixing the Chicago Police Department.

On to Carteret County...Why wasn’t someone in training for the Morehead City Police Department to step up when the call came? It’s called Succession Planning for passing on leadership roles. Shame on the Chief and the City Manager.

One of my sons lives in Chicago and works for Northern Trust Bank. I told him the other day to quit the bank and get a government job….any taxpayer-supported job.


Thank you for 27 yrs of service! You will be missed~ Job Well Done 🚔

David Collins

A national search may well be a requirement . Quite often positions are filled from within . Often the search is a formality but not always .


Chief Bernette Morris you have done a wonderful job. May you enjoy your richly deserved retirement.


Jeep... Chicago can keep beetlejuice!

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