by Geoff Fox
In 2014, Rich Miller was promoted to the rank of sergeant with the Hancock Police Department and last Tuesday, October 12, he was once again promoted to that rank.
For about a year, Miller was the Hancock Police Chief, but stepped down in 2018. He would return in 2019 to be an officer with the police force.
Miller had already agreed to become sergeant, but wasn’t aware of when he’d be promoted and the secret was kept until the Police Commissioners Report part of the meeting.
A surprised Miller was called to the front of the meeting room where Councilman Roland Lanehart, Jr. presented him with his new sergeant badge and stripes.
“You deserve that,” Mayor Tim Smith.
Smith said it’s been a tough time for town officials because there was a point where they didn’t know if the police department would even exist.
Smith said it was top priority the night he was sworn in as mayor to make sure the people of town were protected and safe.
At that time, he and other officials realized there could be officers who would leave, including Miller who thought he was going in a different direction.
“I thought, ‘Come hell or high water, he’s not leaving. Not right now,’” Smith said with a laugh.
He said Miller came up to him “by the grace of God” and told Smith he was staying.
Smith also contacted Miller’s wife about making the decision, but she was leaving the final decision but did appreciate the phone call.
Councilwoman Misty Cubbage told Miller he was not just a big part of the police force, but also a “huge part of this community and a lot of people respect you and we thank you for everything you’ve done for us.”
An “Amen to that,” from Councilman David Kerns, followed that.
Miller said it feels “pretty good” to be sergeant again.
“Hancock’s a good little town, good people and it’s more of a family to me as well,” he said. “It feels like I’m home.”
Miller said officials had talked about the promotion to sergeant at meetings and had asked about his the chief position.
He said he wanted to leave that open if there’s a candidate who would come along and take the position. However, Miller did take the sergeant position.
In the absence of a chief, the sergeant is in charge and acting chief, Miller explained.
“We’ll go with that for a while and see what happens,” he said.
Miller said after he left Hancock in 2018, he regretted doing so, but the town welcomed him back with open arms in 2019.
“I almost left again. I wasn’t going to make that mistake twice,” Miller said. “So I decided to stay.”