After serving as chief of the Peoria Police Department for the last five years, Art Miller has decided to retire.
“I feel as though there were a lot of goals and objectives that our departments were challenged with — we’ve met most of them,” said Miller, who has spent more than 40 years in law enforcement.
“And I think it’s better to leave at the top of the way than at the bottom of it.”
After being named Peoria’s police chief in 2018, Miller set out to make positive change within the department and within the community. His main goals were to improve community involvement, staffing and relationships with other cities’ agencies.
Namely, he wanted to bolster recruiting among officers within the force, as he saw there were improvements that could be made within that area. Through the help of his team, the department was able to establish a regional academy — the first of its kind within the agency.
“I thought that was a big push, and that came from my staff,” Miller said. “One of the deputy chiefs came up with the idea we brought, we brought it forward and with the other chiefs, and it took a little over a year to get it done. And again, that gives us an opportunity to train not only our officers but all officers in the Valley. So that’s a big plus.”
Under his tenure, Miller said that the process to recruit officers to the Peoria Police Department was streamlined from four to six months to six to eight weeks.
Above all else, though, Peoria’s crime rate has stayed low for the entirety of Miller’s tenure, which is something he is proud of.
“I think that our community can really appreciate the fact that our officers were where they needed to be and that was through the efforts of supervisors and managers that kind of kept that going,” he said.
The collaboration between the department and city leadership has also been a highlight of Miller’s tenure. From his countless updates on the department to assistance with getting important topics approved in city council, the department houses over 200 officers, of which 50% are lateral officers from across the state and nation.
Although he is stepping away, he feels that the department is set up for success long after he is gone.
“I’m very comfortable with the fact that whoever is going to be coming in after me will have a good framework to work with or work from, and they’ll be able to maybe implement some of their ideas that they want to do, and they’ll have a very good foundation to do all that,” Miller said. “I’m very proud of that.”
Miller’s most memorable moment dates back to 2020, where the department and officers from across the nation were able to provide full honors for late Peoria Police Officer Jason Judd. Although emotional, it was “a pretty epic endeavor” and “a tribute to not only Officer Judd, but all officers that have died in the line of duty.”
Miller feels the crowning achievement of his Peoria career was the continued protection and safety of Peoria residents and that under his purview, all his officers were well equipped to handle any situation efficiently and effectively for the community.
“I think that keeping us properly staffed and equipped and trained is something that’s difficult to do in the best of circumstances, but because we do have such a supportive community, I think that the just it just made my job that much better,” Miller said. “We as a team here at Peoria could implement all the things that are needed to do that are needed to make a great police department serve a great community.”
As Miller switches gears from service to leisure, he said he still has “a lot of energy” to dedicate his time to a love for the unknown. Whether that be attempting to break par on the golf course or dedicating time to his family, he said he will always hold Peoria dearly in his heart and is thankful for the opportunity to serve his home community.
“I don’t know if (saying thank you) can be quantified, but I can tell you this — that I enjoy coming to work every day; I enjoy the people that I work with; and I know that I work around a bunch of really talented, eager people that want to serve the that want to serve the public to want to serve law enforcement,” Miller said.
“It’s a great environment to walk into to have such great talent all the way around. And I don’t know if that can be actually quantified, but it can from an emotional level.
“That’s the way I feel, and that’s the way the feeling of the department is that they feel supported as well. And I’m very proud of that.”
By Joe McHugh, Peoria Times Staff Writer www.peoriatimes.com
2023-09-14 07:00:00 , www.peoriatimes.com – Vivrr Local Results in news of type article