After Steve Millar retired from the Streamwood Police Department in 2013, he could have had jobs in several other towns but instead signed on as an officer with the fledgling Campton Hills department.
"I fell in love with the town and community right away," he recalled.
Millar, 53, now takes over as Campton Hills police chief to replace David Hoffman, who is retiring May 31. He was selected from among 36 applicants.
Millar, who served 28 years in Streamwood and is entering his fifth full year in Campton Hills, impressed village trustees and others during the selection process with his extensive community outreach, enthusiasm and energy. He also provides a seamless transition in already knowing the area and its residents.
"He's been doing fine and keeping the village safe. He was big on community outreach. He knows almost everybody in the village by name and he's well-liked," said Village President Harry Blecker, who noted Millar conducts a citizen police academy and has started a senior citizen safety academy.
In Streamwood, Millar served as DARE officer, juvenile officer, accident reconstructionist, crime preventionist and investigator. He also was chosen to supervise a 62-person team that provided security at several locations for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
"We're a unique community and he understands it well," Blecker said. "He can take over on June 1 and he's off and running. No learning curve."
Village Administrator Ron Searle also noted Millar's efforts in outreach, experience and relationships already forged.
"Those were important factors," Searle said. "(Millar) knows the community and has great people skills."
Millar said he is "extremely honored and very proud" to be named the village's next chief, and third in its history.
He will continue to focus on outreach and he hopes to specify four quadrants of the village and have an officer be the first point of contact in nonemergencies for residents who have ideas or concerns. That way, he said, there is more continuity.
"When you come to a community like Campton Hills, the citizens are obviously your first focus," Millar said. "Community policing to me is huge. We're on the cusp of that and I'd like to take it further."
Millar's contract expires in May 2019 at the end of Blecker's 4-year term as village president.