Greensboro is losing a real winner with the departure of Police Chief Ken Miller, who will take a similar job in Greenville, South Carolina.
A true, 21st century police, Miller has drawn wide praise since becoming the city’s top cop in September of 2010. He’s credited with bringing stability to a department that was rife with racial division internally and struggled with poor community relations.
Miller is both cerebral and solutions oriented. He can quickly cite the statistics to back up his claims of lower crime rates and increased public approval.
Miller came to Greensboro after serving as deputy chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for four years. That big city experience gave Miller instant credibility in the public’s eye and he’s made the most of his time in the Gate City.
Insiders have known for some time that Miller was unhappy with the structure of North Carolina’s pension system. He posted his resume online last fall, and the city responded by giving him a $27,000 raise in October.
At the time, Miller said he agreed to stay on to complete important projects, such as the neighborhood oriented policing program, which will see new patrol districts drawn and put the focus on pro-active policing.
But the city council has also been in the midst of a review of its police oversight board, known as the Complaint Review Committee. Miller has steadfastly opposed the creation of an external police review board with subpoena power. A special city subcommittee held a series of meetings to hear citizen complaints about police abuse of power, but the process appears to be stalled on the back burner.
Oversight of police authority is more important than ever with the increasing militarization of domestic police resources, enhanced police secrecy via technology, and the steady incidence nationally of police brutality captured on video by passersby.
Greensboro has been relatively free from scandal during Miller’s tenure, though there is no shortage of people who are able to find fault within the department.
But on the balance, Miller deserves our thanks for returning the community’s focus toward public safety and crime prevention, duties we all can appreciate in a task-oriented, modern police department. !