It was a life changing day for J. R. Wilkins who was sworn in as interim police chief of Morgantown. Wilkins is stepping into an already strong police force and doesn't plan any change.
"I don't have any plans to change anything. I just want to go in there and get to know the officers and get to know the community. I know that they have a lot of strengths here from previous administration that has been in place and I will be using those strengths to our ability," says Wilkins.
Mayor Linda Keown hopes those strengths will bring new life to the police force.
"It's a new beginning a little bit at our police department. I think it will be a bit of a reorganization. I believe Mr. Wilkins will be wonderful to work with," says Keown.
But that new beginning almost didn't happen. The mayor admits a plan was, and still is, being discussed for the Butler County Sheriffs to be the sole police force. A new police chief in town will keep the department for the time being.
"We still have that option on the table if something doesn't work out. I think it's things that you need to look at, and our council they are very open minded. Not just in that area but looking at other things," says Keown.
Chief Wilkins is also open minded, even if it means losing the police force.
"I don't think it ever hurts to look at different options and then it is up to the governing body to decide what will be the best option for that community," says Wilkins.
Like many small communities across the country balancing a budget in tough economic times means a new way of thinking.
"I have a feeling that there will be a lot of small towns rethinking things. It's a new age, and we are going to have to think differently," says Keown.
Mayor Keown says the city has been doing research about the police force but has had nothing solid to announce to the community. For the near future it appears the force will be staying intact.