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12/13/06-Winnsboro

New Police Chief Turns East Texas Police Department Around

In the past year, East Texas has seen several police departments make changes for the better. After its chief was arrested for tampering with evidence, the city of Troup hired a new chief that has cleaned up the town. With its new chief, the city of Winnsboro is doing the same by focusing on getting drugs out of the community.  

When the Winnsboro community needed him most Police Chief Jimmy Miller was there to help.

"When I came they didn't have a police chief," said Chief Jimmy Miller. "They didn't have any experience here. The average officer had probably two or three years experience." Winnsboro's former police Chief Greg Hollingsworth resigned in April after the city found he lied on his application. Miller had just retired from the Wood County Sheriff's Department, but decided he could use experience to help Winnsboro, especially with its drug problem.

"This is my life," said Miller. "I've been in it for 33 years and that's what I was going to prove. I could do a good job." It hasn't even been six months, and the department has made about 60 drug arrests. That's as many as Winnsboro saw in the previous ten years.   Just last week, the department arrested Robert Milner, 64 and Bobby Bearden, Jr., 58 for drug possession.  

"It just blew our mind that this person of this age was out dealing drugs, especially crack cocaine," said Miller. Chief Miller says the reason his department has been so successfull is because the relationships he's been able to establish with the surrounding counties.

"It's great," said Sheriff Charles White, Franklin County. "When departments work together the people win. When we are divided and departmentalized, we are small, but when we are together we are a strong force to be reckened with." The people of Winnsboro have noticed a difference.

"I'm very delighted, and very proud of what they are doing," said Winnsboro Mayor Carolyn Jones. "We are not welcoming these people that are doing drugs, selling drugs and if they don't want to be caught they better watch out." Miller says the recent drug arrests are a result of a two month investigation done by two of his officers he hired when he became chief.  He also says he will not stop going after the drug dealers and users.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

 

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