Time for Miller to win over community

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The city’s new police chief, Jeff Miller, by all indications,
appears to be the right man to lead the Hollister Police
Department.
He got here by hurdling some trying circumstances, but through
it all he never gave up on himself or the city. He never sold
himself short, and all this says a lot about the 45-year-old.
The city’s new police chief, Jeff Miller, by all indications, appears to be the right man to lead the Hollister Police Department.

He got here by hurdling some trying circumstances, but through it all he never gave up on himself or the city. He never sold himself short, and all this says a lot about the 45-year-old.

Miller outlasted seven other finalists. He passed an oral board interview that included three state police chiefs, receiving the highest recommendations. He was the top choice of the city’s highest official, the city manager. It appeared Miller would have been confirmed by City Council. Then a hurdle appeared.

Reports from the police union in Rohnert Park where Miller was public safety director, which included police chief, surfaced criticizing his leadership abilities.

Miller could have remained firm, fought the union, but he resigned after 18 months. Many officials said he wasn’t treated fair, that union politics led to his departure, but he left in the best interest of the city, the profession and the union. This says a lot about Miller.

Here’s something else. After resigning, Miller took a position as a patrol officer in Sonoma where he is a sergeant.

When these reports came to light, Miller withdrew his name from consideration for the Hollister position, not wanting to create controversy in and for the city or for the city manager.

But the Hollister police union, the association of its rank-and-file, the officers Miller would lead, didn’t give up on him. After an independent investigation, it threw support toward Miller. He re-considered the offer. He put his name back on the table, and won Council confirmation.

Through all this, Miller never gave up on his abilities, his leadership traits or his confidence that he can lead this city’s police department.

Miller faces some important issues, gang activity, recruitment for vacant officer positions and department morale.

No, he doesn’t have a lot of experience – 18 months as public safety director, and before that five years in Los Gatos where he was a captain and second-in-command.

But the search is over. The rhetoric is over. Miller won over this city’s police union, the city’s top official and Council. The one person Miller didn’t have to win over was himself. He knew all along.

Now, it’s time for Miller to win the backing of the community, become visible, meet agency, organization and business leaders. Meet the man on the street. Win them over.

We think he will.

To respond to this editorial or comment on this issue, please send or bring letters to Editor, Hollister Free Lance, 350 Sixth St., Hollister, Calif. 95023 or fax to 637-4104 or e-mail to

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