Over the crackle of police scanners, and to the background of a siren screaming by, Interim South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller told the crowd at City Hall Monday that it's through the community that he will work to accomplish the department's goals and objectives.
"I want to create relationships [here] that made me seemingly successful at LAPD, and I did that by working through people,'' said Miller, who retired as a captain from the Los Angeles Police Department 11 months ago.
Miller will hold the title "Interim Chief'' for an undesignated period of time, said City Manager Sergio Gonzalez. After three to six months, Gonzalez and city officials will evaluate Miller's performance. Currently, Miller is a full-time employee without a contract.
The law enforcement veteran brings 34 years experience to South Pasadena's top cop position. At LAPD, Miller was in charge of LAPD’s Metropolitan, Southwest and Hollywood Divisions. He retired nearly a year ago. He hung up his uniform and "traveled and had fun and traveled and had fun,'' he said, with his wife, Linda.
Last week, he pulled that same uniform out of the closet. Stripped it of its LAPD patches and affixed ones for South Pasadena. Turns out, both departments use the same base uniform.
"He's saving us money already,'' Gonzalez quipped.
Miller's appointment comes two and a half years after he first applied for the police chief position. At that time, over the rumblings of community members, then-City Manager John Davidson named Joe Payne chief of police. Payne had retired from the South Pasadena Police department in 2007, but some argued that he was not as qualified as some candidates, such as Miller.
Payne submitted his resignation letter last month, but not without controversey: He says he was asked to step down while Gonzalez maintains that Payne resigned.
On Monday, LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing related a story from more than a year ago, when he and Miller were dealing with a baricaded subject. Amid the action, Miller told Downing, "'I'm not ready to go. I have a lot more to give,''' Downing said.
Downing, who worked with Miller for 25 years, called the interim chief "a great american law enforcement executive,'' and added that Miller listens well and turns what he hears into action.
"I'm proud to call him my chief,'' the South Pasadena resident said.
if this department is a 10, i want to make it a 10-plus. Whereever it is, I want to make it a little better after I leave. it's through the community that you will see me work to accoplish some of the goals and objectives for our department
i will be very much available to anyone who calls me and may have concerns