Pismo Beach names new police chief

mfountain@thetribunenews.comMarch 4, 2014 

Jake Miller, named new Pismo Beach police chief 3-4-14


Cmdr. Jake Miller, a 20-year veteran of the Pismo Beach Police Department, has been selected to replace Chief Jeff Norton when he retires in August.

Miller is scheduled to be confirmed by the City Council at its regular meeting April 1.

Miller has been with the department since joining as a reserve officer in 1994. Since then he has risen through the ranks and spent the last six years as commander, the highest ranking officer second only to chief.

During his tenure, he has worked in the patrol and traffic divisions as well as in the investigation bureau. An instructor at the Allan Hancock College Law Enforcement Academy for the past 16 years, Miller has also played a major role as a field training officer, firearms instructor, arrest and control officer, and in his current role as the tactical commander for the San Luis Obispo Regional SWAT Team, according to the city.

During his time in management, Miller has worked closely with Norton to uphold the department’s national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

“No one arrives at this position alone. I have many to thank for the years of development to prepare me for this position from former chiefs to coworkers,” Miller said in a city news release.

“The city of Pismo Beach has ensured through years of training, education, and progressive responsibility, that I am ready for this position. Some will never fully know the depth of my appreciation.”

Norton said in a written statement, “I was very pleased to learn that the city manager selected Cmdr. Jake Miller to be the next chief of police. Jake is an extremely competent law enforcement professional who has earned the respect of both his peers and subordinates. His career at the Pismo Beach Police Department has been stellar, and he is well respected throughout San Luis Obispo County law enforcement circles."

“We are incredibly fortunate to have had a succession plan in place,” City Manager Jim Lewis said in the same release. “Cmdr. Miller is a leader and has a long history of exemplary performance with the city of Pismo Beach. He has deep relationships with business owners and neighborhood groups, he understands our tourism economy, he has built strong relationships with other law enforcement agencies, has tremendous experience, education and training and he is supported and respected by the Police Department. He is the perfect pick for us.”

City officials have not released any new salary information for Miller as of Tuesday evening. However, financial information on the city’s website lists an annual base salary for police chief between $128,913 and $156, 695. Commanders currently make between $100,707 and $122,410 annually.

Miller grew up in Carlsbad, in San Diego County. He is an Eagle Scout and earned his bachelor of arts degree from Cal Poly in 1991. He moved to the city with his wife and three sons in 2004.

“I know Jake cares deeply about the police department and the community, and he is dedicated to maintaining our high quality of life,” Norton said. “I cannot think of a better choice for chief than Jake Miller.”

After a 30-year career in law enforcement, and five years as Pismo Beach chief, Norton announced on Feb. 18 his intention to retire in August in order to spend more time with family, he said.

His department currently includes a staff of 34 — including 23 sworn police officers — and operates on a budget of more than $5 million.

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