BADGES 11, 18, 282 & 292
SDPD 08/01/1941 - 02/02/1973
1914 - 02/27/2004
Promoted to Captain 07/08/1960
Promoted to Inspector 07/18/1965
Promoted to Assistant Chief 07/26/1968

Wherever he was assigned by the San Diego Police Department, Warren J. Morrison usually found a way to make a difference.

During a career in which he rose from patrol officer to assistant chief, Mr. Morrison did everything from delivering 13 babies in the ambulance service to revamping the central communications center to securing land for the San Diego Police Academy.

"What I really respected about Warren was what he did in elevating the professional standards of law enforcement," said Jim Gleason, a former police colleague. "He had a continual, burning desire to upgrade the level of his profession, and it had an impact."

Mr. Morrison, whose career with the department spanned 32 years, died Feb. 27 at San Diego Hospice. He was 90.

The cause of death was lymphoma, complicated by pneumonia and congestive heart failure, stepdaughter Mary Dobyns said.

In 1968, in his new role as assistant chief, Mr. Morrison spearheaded efforts to convert federal Mira Mesa land into a training center. "It started with Hourglass Field, to train officers for driving in hazardous situations," recalled Gleason, who became director of environmental quality for the city of San Diego after five years with the Police Department.

Ground was broken in late June 1968 for 120-acre Miramar College, site of the department-administered academy. Mr. Morrison designed curriculum and taught at the academy, which in 1993 evolved into the San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Academy to train cadets from additional agencies.

In an effort to develop a rapport with the community, Mr. Morrison wrote and produced a weekly half-hour public-service television program called "Information Police." The program, which aired for two years on KGTV, Channel 10, explored all areas of law enforcement and public safety.

"It was sort of a public relations arm for the department," Gleason said. "It was very popular and well-received."

Mr. Morrison, a San Diego native, delivered newspapers as a child. He graduated from San Diego High School and joined the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain, rising to manager of a store at 19.

"He was growing tired of the grocery business when a friend encouraged him to join the Police Department," said his wife, Iris.

Mr. Morrison joined in August 1941, and was assigned a beat on Broadway during World War II. He later became a radio dispatcher and a jail supervisor.

When an ambulance service was formed, he served as a driver and paramedic. As part of the emergency first aid required, he delivered babies for mothers in labor en route to area hospitals. After being promoted to captain in 1960, Mr. Morrison researched ambulance operations nationwide. His investigation resulted in a Police Department operation involving 14 fully equipped station wagons as an alternative to private ambulances.

Mr. Morrison applied similar research procedures to modernizing the department communications center, devising a system that borrowed from the best of what he found in agencies nationwide.

In 1963, he helped introduce a new, transistorized radar system to monitor speeding motorists, upgrading a technology the department adopted in 1955. "We'll be writing four times as many radar tickets a day at least," Mr. Morrison told The San Diego Union.

When then President John F. Kennedy visited San Diego in June 1963, Mr. Morrison coordinated crowd control and security -- an undertaking that involved more than 5,000 military and civilian personnel.

Mr. Morrison, who served under three chiefs, was promoted to inspector in June 1965 and assistant chief three years later.

After retiring in 1973, he remodeled his Point Loma home and served as a neighborhood handyman. "This kept him active and healthy well into his late 80s," Dobyns said.

Survivors include his wife, Iris; daughter, Leslie King of Scottsdale, Ariz.; son, Ken Morrison of Auburn, Wash.; stepdaughter, Mary Dobyns of San Diego; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.
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Husband of Clerk Iris Morrison