BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – "I'm just here in support of the mayor's nomination for director of police chief," Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara told the Biloxi City Council Tuesday.
The sheriff was among several current and former law enforcement officers who spoke up in support of Captain John Miller. It was apparent, the 19-year veteran of the Biloxi Police Department has earned the respect and admiration of many.
The comments from the Biloxi City Council were brief.
"We'll make it quick," Biloxi Councilman George Lawrence said. "We got all the information we needed. A great resume. Enough said."
Miller's resume featured his career as a patrol officer. He moved through the ranks to head the Special Crimes Unit, and took over command of the department's Criminal Investigations Division earlier this year.
The council's approval was unanimous. The 50-year-old Miller received a standing ovation as he immediately took over as Biloxi's new police chief.
"I feel great, humbled by all the support," he said. "I was a little surprised by that. I wasn't expecting all that. I'm glad they did, but I wasn't expecting it."
The council's vote brought to an end a contentious nomination process. Mayor A.J. Holloway nominated Miller last week, after the council twice rejected his original choice, interim chief Linda Atterberry. The debate over the position lasted for months. Atterberry was all smiles as she handed the chief's badge to Miller.
"Ecstatic, I am really pleased," Atterberry said. "John Miller is man of integrity that I would work with in any position, any capacity, anytime. I think his only agenda is to move this agency forward."
Miller said one of his goals is to improve relations between his department and the community.
"I would like to see us really working close with the community, maybe to appoint some community review committees to review some of the policies in the way we handle things," Miller said. "I think it's incumbent on us as a police department to keep the citizens aware of the changes in criminal activity and I'd also like to work closer with youth groups."
But his first task is to listen to any concerns from his staff of 200.
When asked what he plans to do Wednesday morning, Miller smiled and responded, "Draw a nice sigh of relief and get right to work."
Miller said he doesn't know yet when he'll be sworn in as the new police chief. He replaces Bruce Dunagan, who retired in May.