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Ron Jackson

DOVER - Hugh Miller journeyed to Dover last month to be sworn is as the town's new police chief. Since then, he has bypassed the usual formalities of meeting his officers and reviewing performance evaluations.
Miller isn't hard-hearted. He's simply Dover's lone police officer.
"I'm it," Miller said. "Guess you can say I'm a jack-of-all-trades."
The veteran lawman from the wilds of Alaska isn't joking. At any given hour his job might require him to take out the garbage, clean his own office, write a grant, work a school crossing or wash a patrol car. He also can be found patrolling quaint neighborhoods Monday through Sunday.
Miller also happens to be a mechanic.
"Comes in handy if necessary," said Miller, 46. "I like being self-sufficient."
Oklahoma has about 340 police departments statewide, according to Jim Cox, the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police executive director. Of those, Cox said "many" are either one- or two-man agencies, although no definitive list exists because officers are constantly on the move.
"A one-man police force is imperative if a community perceives the need for home safety and security," Cox said. "In that case, the presence of a police officer is as important to a town of 300 as it is to town of 30,000 or 100,000."
Helping people
Miller, who has worked in the oil field and as a part-time Texas County deputy and full-time Woodward police officer, has long been drawn to small town law enforcement work because he enjoys helping people one-on-one.
Beginning in 1999, Miller bounced from one small Alaskan police force to the next over the next nine years. Backup was often hundreds of miles away.
"Out here I actually feel like help is all around me," Miller said. "Hennessey is only nine miles to the north and the Kingfisher (County) Sheriff's Department is nine miles to the south in Kingfisher. So help is only minutes away."
Rest, meanwhile, is fleeting.
"I'm used to him being called out at all hours of the day and night," said Betty Miller, Hugh's wife of 28 years.
"That's normal."
HOW TO HELPEquipment donations
The Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police maintains an inventory of used equipment available to smaller departments, executive director Jim Cox said. The list can include used patrol cars, computers, uniforms and bulletproof vests. Police departments wishing to donate used equipment can call 672-1225.
On NewsOKVideoHugh Miller talks about his job as Dover's only officer.

Story From: The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK)
 
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