For the first time in 29 years, two months and four days, Ron Miller does not have to think about working today on Labor Day.
It’s not that Miller, who recently retired from the Sedalia Police Department does not have a new job, it’s just that his new position allows him to have weekends and federal holidays off.
Miller started his new job as a resource officer for the Sedalia 200 School District at the Middle school in August.
“I can’t really say that it’s been apples to apples exactly as far as what I do now,” Miller said. “But it’s really close and I feel very fortunate to be here.
“In the few days I have been here there have been far fewer problems, just little issues that I have been asked to help with,” he added. “When situations come along I’ll deal with them in a manner that is very similar to how I did my police work.”
Miller said that the decision to leave the SPD did not come easy, but after 29 years on the force, he felt it was time.
“I really enjoyed going to work at the department,” Miller said. “I worked with a wonderful crew and group of people and it was never a chore to go to work.
“Leaving the people there who I worked with wasn’t easy,” he added. “I didn’t have a set goal or anything on the horizon, but I just knew it was time to look at something else.”
A friend from the police department recommended the position at the middle school to Miller.
“Rodney (Collins) called me and told me how much he enjoyed his job at the junior high after he retired from the police department,” Miller said. “I spoke with both him and Cindy Harrell who had the job here before I took over.
“They both told me how much they enjoyed their work, especially with the kids,” he added. “The teachers and the staff and administrators not only at the middle school but throughout the district have been very kind and supportive and it’s made the transition a very easy one.”
Sara Pannier, Sedalia Middle School principal said both the students and staff were pleased and excited to have Miller at the school.
“I feel so fortunate to have retired police officers serve as security officers in the schools,” Pannier said. “Individually they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience.
“Collectively, they know our community well as well as one another which allows for a seamless transition into their new roles,” she added. “Mr. Miller has done a nice job learning the school system and he utilizes his professional instincts accordingly.”
Miller said it may take him a while to learn the names and faces of 497 students but he is looking forward to that as well as meeting the students in the elementary buildings as well.
“I have been going to the elementary schools and Whittier High School,” Miller said. “I will primarily be here at the middle school, but I will help out wherever I am needed.
“I know I will be at many of the after schools activities that we host to be a presence at those events.” He added. “I think that is one of my primary roles, I want to be here to support the staff in any way I can but in no way do I want to supersede their authority.”
Miller described his approach to his new position as being very similar to his work at the police department.
“One of my instructors at State Fair (Community College) told us something in a class a long time ago,” Miller said. “He told us you can go into a situation and be abrupt and abrasive but if you do that’s how they will see you and treat you.
‘“You are there as an officer to listen to them and to help,’” Miller added. “If you set that abrupt tone in the beginning you can’t go back, you need to be professional and objective and speak to them in ordinary terms and tones.”
Miller planes to address situations that may arise in the school setting in a similar manner.
“I spend a lot of my day watching for potential problems,” Miller said. “I see my role as being more of a deterrent more than anything.
I want the students and staff to know that help is right here,” he added. “Situations and circumstances can change at any time and I can always call in others if necessary, but I am here to help in any way.”
Sedalia 200 Assistant Superintendent Steve Triplett said that was one of the many benefits to having retired officers in the schools.
“We have been blessed with the good fortune of being in a position to hire retired Sedalia Police officers, including Ron Miller as Sedalia 200 security personnel.” Triplett said “We value the experience they have acquired in their 25 plus years in law enforcement, but just as importantly, we value their connection to the culture and climate of our community.”
Today, Miller said he had no set plans but would play the day by ear.
“I’m sure I’ll probably be doing some work on our house,” Miller said with a smile. “This fall, I’ll be spending some time in the timber, hunting.
“That’s one of my favorite places to be, in the woods in the early morning when everything wakes up is a good place,” he added. “It’s good here too, I’ve been asking tons of questions learning my new roles but everyone has been very kind and supportive, I’m very fortunate to be here.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.