Discovering Peoria: Former LAPD officer finds new home as Peoria police chief - Apache Junction Independent (2024)

By Philip Haldiman

Independent Newsmedia

Nearly two years ago, Art Miller, who was the South Pasadena Police Chief at the time, and his wife, Linda, visited friends in Peoria.

Their friends were building a house and while in town, the Millers really liked what the city had to offer and saw it as a great place to spend the next chapter of their lives.

“Linda had always wanted to live in another state, so I asked her if Peoria would be a place she would like to live. We agreed that we wanted to move to Peoria, and we came back a month later and bought our home,” he said. “We had to wait several months for the house to be built which gave us time to sell our home in California.”

After moving to Peoria and commuting between South Pasadena and Peoria, several months passed when former Chief Roy Minter announced his retirement. Mr. Miller said he immediately submitted his resume.

Discovering Peoria: Former LAPD officer finds new home as Peoria police chief - Apache Junction Independent (1) Art Miller

Now Mr. Miller is Peoria’s police chief — he was sworn in Sept. 4, and his tenure began the following day.

After five years of service as a the South Pasadena Police Chief, he was given a glowing send-off

“The city manager was supportive of my decision to move,” he said. “I enjoyed working in South Pasadena and thought that there were systems and people in place to have for the city and police department continue to flourish.”

Mr. Miller spent the majority of his career, from 1978 to 2012, with the Los Angeles Police Department. For 20 years, he held upper-level management and leadership roles in the LAPD.

He has moved from a department of 36 sworn officers in South Pasadena to about 200 in Peoria. He fielded questions from Peoria Today about the transition.

Question: How will you begin to entrench community-oriented policing in Peoria?

Answer: As it relates to community policing, our department is committed to providing the best possible service to our community. A part to that service is reliant on a cohesive partnership with the department and the public we serve. I am a part of our community on a personal and professional level. I will be visible and available to our community. I know that our officers care about Peoria and want to serve the public.

Q: What is one big thing you learned from LAPD and one thing you learned from SPDP you will bring to Peoria?

A: Working for LAPD, the value of collaboration was instilled in me. One might think that a large organization like the LAPD can do everything alone. That is not the case. LAPD relies on each of the city’s varied communities, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to enhance services. The South Pasadena Police Department is obviously a smaller department compared to the LAPD. However, each share one thing in common, both have dedicated workforces that want to serve the public. I believe in servant leadership and as the head of the police department, I am here to serve our city, beginning with the police department.

Q: The city of South Pasadena has a population of about 26,000, compared with a population of more than 160,000 in Peoria. What will be one or two challenges in Peoria that you did not have in South Pasadena?

A: South Pasadena is a small city and the population is of course much less than that of Peoria. Geographically, Peoria is huge compared to South Pasadena. My main challenge will be to learn about the different communities in Peoria. A second challenge will be to get to know my counterparts in neighboring cities. I have learned over the years police officers and staff have a deep rooted commitment to serve the public. My job is to create the environment where people can be successful, creative and have a sense of purpose.

Q: You mentioned Peoria’s expansive geography. The northern portion of the city has experienced high response times. How will you deal with this issue?

A: It is goal of every police agency to reduce response times. When I reviewed the study of the police department commissioned by the city I did see anomalies in delayed response time. These times were not the norm. A new schedule will be introduced to address the issue of patrol coverage.

Q: As you know, police departments across the country are struggling with hiring and retaining police officers? This has not escaped Peoria. How will you deal with this issue here?

A: Recruitment is a challenge for nearly all law enforcement agencies across the nation. I will examine the Peoria Police Department’s recruiting practices. I will make adjustments where necessary.

Q: Lastly, what does the future of Peoria look like under your leadership?

A: My commitment to our police department is to make it the best that is can possibly be. I will take the time to get to know the perspective of staff and officers to enhance the services we provide. I have already found that we are fortunate to have a motivated work force that are anxious to take the next step in creating the next chapter in the legacy of the police department.

Discovering Peoria: Former LAPD officer finds new home as Peoria police chief - Apache Junction Independent (2024)


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