Chief Miller is officially retiring. When asked for my opinion on the subject by the Freelance my first response was, “Thank God, it’s about time.” My comments, when shared from the reporter’s point of view did not reflect the scope of my feelings on the subject and I wanted to personally share my thoughts with readers.
First let me say that I believe that Chief Miller is a good man and a Christian. Because I own Johnny’s Bar & Grill, there are many ways that he could make my life a living hell but despite our disagreements the bar has a good working relationship with the Hollister Police Department. Any criticism I’ve shared about the way the chief handles the rally, I have shared with him personally, either face to face or via email. For that reason, I believe that despite our differences we share a mutual respect.
As to the way his retirement is being handled, I have some questions that I’m sure the voting public would like the answers to. The council has known about the chief’s planned retirement for quite some time. I personally heard the rumor more than six months ago. I can’t help wondering why they were not searching for a new chief long before the official announcement was made. If there are policies in place that kept them from looking until the last minutes please fill me in.
According to our city manager Clint Quilter the new six month contract with the chief saves money because the city would have to pay for outside help as well as lodging and other services if the chief left. What other services is he talking about, and would the outside help be paid more than the chief’s wages plus his retirement? I don’t pretend to understand how the system works so please, explain this to me. Aren’t Hollister resident tax dollars paying for the chief’s retirement and his wages now that he is staying on? Not paying for the chiefs medical benefits can’t possibly save us $40,000 in six months can it? Wouldn’t it have been more prudent and fiscally responsible to have a replacement in line for the chief months ago?
Every politician that I have spoken with on the subject has said that there is a very little chance that the Sheriff’s Department and HPD will be consolidating services any time soon, if at all, so putting off the search for a new chief to see how that played out wouldn’t make sense.
If a replacement is hired from within a positive attitude towards our rally is not likely. I saw how things went with the sheriff’s department when Curtis Hill replaced Sheriff Nyland. The mentality and politics never changed, but I’ll save my thoughts on the sheriff’s department for another time.
Because of Sheriff Hill and Chief Miller’s prejudice towards bikers they used law enforcement cost’s put an end to an event that put Hollister on the map, stimulated the local economy and raised funds for many local non-profits. With a new, unconnected man in the sheriffs’ office I hope to see change there. I fear that if the new chief is chosen from within he’ll share Miller’s view of bikers, and law enforcement costs, the only impediment to a financially viable and successful rally, will still be in place. And if his predecessor doesn’t share the chief’s Christian values I may wind up wishing Miller was still around, Lord help me!
Ray Friend has honored his word to try to bring our rally back in 2011. There are many hurdles to overcome to get it done next year but people should know that there are serious efforts under way and with the change in the political climate I am remaining hopeful. In the meantime email and call your council members with your support for the rally. Our economy desperately needs the boost of 100,000 visitors again and we need to keep the pressure on.
To the Chief I say God Bless you and I wish you all the best in your retirement. My prayer is that in seminary school you will not learn to become more religious but will come to be more like Jesus and see that your preconception of bikers is not only wrong but unchristian. There’s a story in the Bible about when Jesus chose Matthew, a tax collector which in his time was one of the worst types of people (could be a one percent biker of today) and called him to be his disciple. The Pharisee’s were appalled that Jesus would associate with such undesirables. Let me share with you from The New Living Translation Bible what Jesus had to say about it.
Matthew 9/10-13 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” “Healthy people don’t need a doctor - sick people who do!” Then he added, “Now go away and learn the meaning of this Scripture: I want you show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
If Jesus were on earth today he would more than likely plant himself at one of the local bars in the thick of the rally, share His love with unbelievers, and many would come to know him because of an interaction with him.
Both professed Christians Chief Miller and Sheriff Hill missed a wonderful opportunity to show a multitude of people the love of Jesus, and instead chose to be self-righteous Pharisees. Although the chief wisely chose not to be as vocal about his opinion of bikers as Mr. Hill, as a leader his attitude towards them was exemplified by his team during the motorcycle rally. Friendly and welcoming has never been a description I’ve heard used to describe the packs of officers that roam around town during the event. Whatever the future holds for Hollister’s law enforcement, our city council needs our prayers for guidance in handing it. You can be sure they will have mine.