AUGUSTA — Waterville’s former police chief earned unanimous approval today from a legislative committee that reviewed his qualifications to lead the state Department of Public Safety.

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 12-0 in favor of John Morris to take over the position. The nomination now goes to the state Senate for a vote.

Morris, of West Gardiner, spent 30 years in the U.S. Navy and retired in 1990 as a captain. He then served as police chief in Richmond from 1990-1994, before taking over in Waterville. He retired in 2007, and then worked as chief of staff on Gov. Paul LePage’s campaign in 2010.

Several people testified in support of his nomination, including the Maine Sheriff’s Association, Maine Chiefs of Police Association, Kennebec/Somerset County District Attorney Evert Fowle, and Lois Galgay Reckitt, director of Family Crisis Services.