New BPS director Miller visits Kiwanis

Published 9:32 am Friday, April 20, 2012

NEW BAINBRIDGE PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR Eric Miller recently visited the Kiwanis Club to introduce himself and tell members about what his plans and goals are for the department. From left to right are Kiwanian Ryan Giddens, Director Miller and Kiwanis President Chip Davis.

New Bainbridge Public Safety Director Eric Miller recently told the Kiwanis Club a little about his background, as well as how he is trying to make over the department that he is charged with leading.

Miller was hired as the new BPS director last fall after a citizen-led committee conducted a nationwide search, following the planned retirement of former BPS Director Larry Funderburke. Miller, who was formerly the Director of Public Safety in Albion, Mich., took over command of BPS in January.

Miller said he essentially is both the city’s police chief and fire chief, a dual role he welcomes.

“The great thing about the Public Safety model is that it allows us to have more people out in the field than we would in a traditional model in which police and fire departments are separate,” Miller said. “When we have a fire, our officers can put on their turnout gear, put out the fire, go back to the station and clean up and then go back out on the road again to patrol.”

Miller was born in Detroit, Mich., and grew up in the suburb of Wyandotte, Mich., located on the American side of the Detroit River. Miller’s wife, Barbara Anne Cliffe-Miller, is a doctor of physical therapy and is the director of rehabilitation services at Memorial Hospital.

Miller had worked at the Albion Public Safety Department for the past 22 years, including the past six as director. He has 30 years of firefighting experience and 22 years in law enforcement. He has also attended the FBI’s National Academy, an exclusive training course for local law enforcement officers who are nominated to attend.

Miller said he is in the process of conducting a 90-day evaluation of BPS to look at how it should be organized to operate most efficiently. Two steps the chief has already taken with the City Council’s support are purchasing necessary firefighting gear and equipment that was not previously in use, and upgrading the protective body armor that officers wear.

Miller said he views BPS as “in partnership with the city governmental team and citizens … we will look at solving quality of life issues together.”