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Altavista Chief of Police resigns after two years on the job

(WSET)

ALTAVISTA, Va. (WSET) -- The Altavista Police Chief has announced his retirement after two years on the job.

In a letter, Chief Mike Milnor announced that he notified the Town Manager and Town Council his intention to resign as Altavista Chief of Police on July 1, 2018.

"There has been much prayer and soul-searching as I have reached this decision," he wrote. "I have been humbled and honored by the opportunity to serve this community as its Chief of Police the past two years. I could not have asked for a more supportive or positive working relationship such as the one I have shared with Town Manager Waverly Coggsdale, as well as the entire Town Council."

He wrote that at the time he began the journey in 2016, the department was reeling from the events played out by the "prior administration."

"All internal confidence was gone, and officers were simply reacting to calls for service," he wrote. "Our staffing levels were down by over 30-percent and we were burning out officers with a schedule that was uncertain and heavy with mandatory overtime. The police equipment and fleet were in a total state of disrepair and officers often had only broken equipment with which to attempt to do their jobs."

Milnor wrote that there was very little long-term vision for the agency and officers had no goals or visions set out for them as to the mission of the agency.

He said that the implementation of programs such as "Senior Watch" and "Altavista Night Out" have been successful with rebuilding public trust and he believes the department also reestablished communication and cooperation with outside agencies.

"There is now a vision for the department and support from Command Staff for them to go out and be proactive police officers," he said.

Milnor said he will be traveling and lecturing on a national stage with his company, Justice 3D, that will lead him to being on the road somewhere in the U.S. and abroad between 30-40 weeks a year.

READ FULL LETTER BELOW:

I have notified the Town Manager and Town Council of my intention to resign my position as Altavista Chief of Police effective July 1, 2018. There has been much prayer and soul-searching as I have reached this decision. I have been humbled and honored by the opportunity to serve this community as its Chief of Police the past two years. I could not have asked for a more supportive or positive working relationship such as the one I have shared with Town Manager Waverly Coggsdale, as well as the entire Town Council.
I set personal and professional goals when I assumed the leadership of the Altavista Police Department. At the time I began this journey, the department was still reeling from the events played out by the prior administration. All internal confidence was gone, and officers were simply reacting to calls for service. Our staffing levels were down by over 30% and we were burning out officers with a schedule that was uncertain and heavy with mandatory overtime. The police equipment and fleet were in a total state of disrepair and officers often had only broken equipment with which to attempt to do their jobs. There was very little long-term vision for the agency. Officers had no goals or visions set for them as to the mission of the agency. Training levels were set at the bare minimum for the individual officers. I am proud to say that we have rectified all of these issues and are now full-staff with young, confident, and aggressive officers. Our productivity numbers from traffic, DUI, and drug arrest have increased dramatically. Our community interaction and implementation of programs such as “Senior Watch” and “Altavista Night Out” have been a resounding success with rebuilding public trust in their police department. We have also reestablished communication and cooperation with outside agencies throughout central Virginia. There is now a vision for the department and support from Command Staff for them to go out and be proactive police officers.
Having said all of this, I made this decision believing that my role in this rebuilding process is complete. I feel that it is now time for a “long-term” Chief of Police to come and continue the vision of taking this department into the future. The Police Department now rest on a firm foundation with a professional staff that any Chief will be proud to lead.
Personally my travel and lecture on a national stage with my company, Justice 3D, will lead to me being on the road somewhere in the United States as well as abroad between 30 and 40 weeks a year in the coming years. This cannot be maintained and be fair to the men and women of the Police Department, nor to the citizens of the Town.
Lastly but most importantly, I would like to thank this community. I have never been better received or supported by citizens such as I have during my tenure here as Chief. They have literally wrapped their arms of support around the officers and myself and greatly assisted in the healing process that was needed to rebuild this department.
I will forever be proud of the men and women that make up the Altavista Police Department. They are the reason for the success of the APD. Again thanks to all for the support and partnership in our rebuilding success over the past two years. I plan to be very involved in the search and transition of the next Chief of Police for this great community, thus my reason for the five month notice. I forever remain just a phone call away if ever needed by the next Chief as he/she takes this great agency on to the next level of success.
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