Secaucus Police Capt. Dennis Miller, a 20-year law enforcement veteran who has worked with a number of police agencies in Hudson County, was officially sworn in as the town’s chief of police on Tuesday night.
By Corey McDonald/Hudson County View
Miller, 41, succeeds Chief Kevin Flaherty, who served as chief for five years.
“I’m very grateful to all of the personal and professional people I’ve had in my life to mentor me and assist me in attaining this role,” he told HCV in a phone interview this afternoon.
Miller was first hired by the Secaucus Police Department in March 1999.
He was later assigned to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Municipal Task Force, a specialty unit made up of one officer from each of the county’s multiplicities, to assist towns with various crime prevention.
At the time, Miller served under the now Chief of Detectives for the HCPO, Keith Stith.
“The mentality was crime had no borders [and] I was able to learn from experienced law enforcement officers from all areas of the county: from Bayonne to North Bergen to Hoboken and Jersey City,” he said. “They taught me the investigative end of police work, and the undercover role.”
He was later reassigned to the patrol division in the Secaucus police department, but went back to the prosecutor’s office in 2004, where he served as a sergeant until 2013.
He headed back to the Secaucus police department in 2013 and was eventually promoted to captain in 2015.
CONGRATULATIONS to Dennis Miller who was sworn in this evening as the new Secaucus Chief of Police.
— ProsecutorSuarezHCPO (@HCPOProsecutor) March 11, 2020
As he steps into his new role, Miller said his two primary goals for the department are to bolster community outreach efforts and to create a task force specifically to address vice crimes committed in the town’s numerous motels and hotels.
Miller said he feels the department needs to modernize its approach to community outreach initiatives and “needs to do a better job in relating to the residents and communities in the town.”
“Right now, we don’t have an effective way to connect with the community and get messages out,” he added. The department currently uses a robocall system.
He pointed specifically to the Dec. 1 incident where an individual was killed in a police shootout.
“We wanted to put out a message and we did put out a message to the residents in the area to shelter in place, but many people were not signed up for it,” he said.
To address this, he wants to get the department’s Twitter and Facebook accounts up to speed to provide real time updates on crimes in progress and emergency situations.
As far as addressing the town’s vice crimes, Miller said he plans on establishing an anti-crime division.
“The sheer volume of the hotels in the town brings issues of prostitution, drugs, weapons, robberies, sexual assaults reported,” he said.
“We will proactively investigate any tips given, any information, and have a proactive squad to address this — whether it be with federal or county counterparts, or solely on our own.”
He also hopes to continue to expand and restructure the department so that it is “relative to the ratio of the community.”
Additionally, the new chief lauded Mayor Michael Gonnelli and the town council for their support in bolstering the department.
“We’ve requested that we expand the police dept to meet current demands and enact specialty units to address some issues … they’ve been very supportive.”
Follow Corey McDonald on Twitter @cwmcdonald_