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Greensboro chief’s exit won’t sidetrack new policing plan

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Ken Miller (file)

Greensboro police Chief Ken Miller (left) speaks at a public meeting in 2013.

GREENSBORO — Though Ken Miller is stepping down as police chief later this year, the neighborhood-oriented policing plan that he initiated is still on track to be implemented, city officials said.

The plan will be a topic of discussion at today’s City Council work session.

The police department began working on the plan about 2½ years ago by analyzing how and where officers spend their time.

The plan involves redrawing the department’s district lines and dedicates officers to certain areas to encourage more community engagement. It will take effect before the end of the year, though police officials have not set an exact date.

Miller announced last week that he will step down sometime between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, and he has said one of the reasons he decided to wait to leave the department was that he wanted to make sure the plan was well underway.

“We have set a great foundation for the next chief of police to apply the results of our years of analysis, while at the same time, putting his or her own stamp on the final product,” Miller said in an email Wednesday.

“NOP (neighborhood-oriented policing) has the support of the men and women in GPD, and our city leaders. It is a best practice in law enforcement, and it is the right thing to do for our communities.”

Deputy Police Chief Anita Holder is overseeing much of the plan’s implementation and is expected to continue doing so if Miller leaves before it goes into effect.

“There are always things that we don’t foresee or can’t foresee,” she said. “But absent that, we’re still on pace to start (the neighborhood-oriented policing) by December.”

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan and other members of the City Council don’t anticipate any major hang-ups for the plan.

“We started talking about that last January. The majority of council wanted to see more neighborhood policing,” Vaughan said.

But she said any other new large policy decisions should be put on hold until a new chief is sworn in and any changes or promotions “should definitely be up to the new chief.”

Vaughan and Miller have not had any formal discussions since he announced he planned to leave. The police chief, though, typically reports to the city manager.

Wesley Reid, interim assistant city manager for public safety, said the city has begun a search for a new chief and anticipates having someone in place by the end of the year.

Contact Robert C. Lopez at (336) 691-5091, and follow @rclopezNR on Twitter.

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