Lem Miller becomes Columbus' assistant police chief

tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 23, 2013 

Columbus' new assistant police chief still remembers the first time he ever directed traffic.

To have such a clear memory would be no great feat, had the first time he directed traffic been after he joined the police department in 1974, but it was much earlier.

He still can point to the exact spot,

on Hunt Avenue at the end of his mother's driveway, where as a child Miller so desperately wanted to be a police officer he donned a military equipment belt and a helmet, walked out in front of his parents' house in the dark with a flashlight, and started motioning directions to motorists with the light.

"So there's no doubt I wanted to be a police officer ever since I was a little boy, and there's no doubt I was influenced by the TV shows of the time," Miller told a packed Public Safety Center conference room Monday as his uniform ceremonially was adorned with the insignia of an assistant chief.

Half a century since he first assigned himself traffic control, the 60-year-old is unlikely to be tasked with such lowly legwork as second in command of a force of more than 450 officers.

But he has not lost sight of the department's street-level mission to protect the residents in all of Columbus' little neighborhoods.

This past Friday the department's command staff shared a Christmas dinner with neighborhood activists from Columbus Against Drugs, crime fighters who know what it's like to march through an area where residents live in constant fear.

"They spoke of how, before they organized, people were unable to go outside their homes, or work in their yards, for fear of drug dealers and criminals," Miller said. "I sat there and listened, and knew full well what they spoke of, and just how very fortunate I had been my entire life not to have experienced that. Imagine not being able to walk outside your home because of fear."

He concluded: "I and everybody else I know joined the police department to help these people. I look forward to continuing to help and serve them."

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service