DANVILLE — After nearly 41 years with the Danville Police Department — about half as head of investigations — Deputy Director Doug Miller put in his last day as a police officer on Wednesday.
For the first time in more than 20 years, he will not have to worry about being called away from the Thanksgiving table today.
"It's going to be great not having to worry about holidays," he said.
Miller started his police career as an 18-year-old cadet in 1969 while attending then-Danville Junior College, and became an officer on Feb. 26, 1973. He spent seven years as a patrol officer, and in 1979, became a detective, where he remained for the rest of his career, except for six months in 1985 when he was a patrol shift supervisor after being promoted to sergeant and another nine-month stint in patrol in 1991 upon his promotion to lieutenant. He returned to head investigations for the rest of his career, becoming deputy director of the unit in 2004.
He has worked for six mayors, five chiefs, three acting chiefs and one public-safety director. Miller said he will miss his co-workers the most and the job second.
"Working criminal investigations for 30-some years, you've got to love the job to do it. And I still like the job, but it's time to retire," said Miller, whose father, Glen, retired from the Danville Police Department as a lieutenant.
"It runs in the family," said Miller, whose brother, John, is a sergeant with Danville police. Doug Miller's son, also named Doug, is a police officer with the department.
He said it's been an interesting life and career that is rewarding, especially solving the major cases, like homicides.
"It affects a lot of people, the community, families. When you start working on a case like that and bring it to closure, it's good for everybody," Miller said.
Public Safety Director Larry Thomason said Sgt. Josh Campbell in the detectives unit will be in charge of investigations after Miller's retirement.
But that will not be a long-term solution, city officials said.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said some decisions will be made in reorganizing the police department, but he would not disclose the options being considered. He said the options would require city council approval. Eisenhauer would not disclose whether one of them includes restoring the positions of police chief and fire chief.
"This gives us the opportunity to review our organizational structure within the police division to determine what, if any, changes to make in the future to move the department forward," he said.
In fall 2004, then-Lt. Miller and Lt. Bob Richard were both named deputy directors of police — Miller over the detective division and Richard over patrol. Prior to that, Eisenhauer decided not to continue using the traditional police chief and fire chief structure, and Thomason was hired as public-safety director over both the police and fire departments.
In May 2009, Richard retired, and his deputy director position was not filled, and his responsibilities, Thomason said, were divided between himself and Miller. Eisenhauer said in a 2009 interview with the News-Gazette about Richard's retirement that he had already stated publicly that if either of the deputy directors were to retire, he would not fill the positions.