Arizona Department of Homeland Security Director Leesa Berens Morrison has announced her resignation.
In late 2006, Morrison took over the department tasked with preventing and responding to natural and man-made disasters in Arizona. Duties for the department’s 17 employees include intelligence gathering and analysis to deter a terrorist strike, as well as work to improve the state’s preparedness for natural disasters. The department also oversees the state’s efforts to acquire federal Homeland Security grants.
Morrison took over the department under former Gov. Janet Napolitano but said the state’s change of leadership in recent months didn’t impact her decision to resign.
“The time was right for me,” Morrison told The Arizona Republic. “The time was just right for me.”
Prior to joining Homeland Security, Morrison was director of the state Department of Liquor Licenses and Control for about three years. She also served 17 years as an assistant attorney general for Arizona and, earlier, spent two years in private practice.
“I had the privilege to work for three attorneys general and two governors, both Republicans and Democrats,” Morrison wrote in an e-mail to co-workers. She called her time with Homeland Security “one of my most cherished responsibilities.”