Niles police chief merging with fire department

NOW: Niles police chief merging with fire department

NILES, Mich. -- Changes are coming to the Niles Police Department as their chief is set to also take over as fire chief.

The Niles City Council approving the new public safety director position Monday after unforeseen medical problems prevented the succession plan for retiring Fire Chief Larry Lamb.

Police Chief Jim Millin being asked by the city to step into action.

“I’ll work closely with the city manager, city administrator day to day to see how things are going and whether or not this is going to be a viable option after February or if we need to start looking,” said Millin.

That timeline ending in February, because Millin is also set to retire after 30 years working in his hometown department.

But – not ruling out pushing his retirement back to continue to help.

“We have a really good crew here and at the fire department and I think that’s what makes this public safety director position work,” said Millin.

Despite the new position, Niles doesn’t plan to merge both the fire and police departments, which requires lengthy cross-training be done by all officers.

And Millin, who is not fire trained, will focus strictly on administration at the department.

“I told them that their lowest ranking on-call firefighter knows more about firefighting than I do and will probably be able to boss me around at fire scenes,” said Millin.

Even though Millin plans to retire in February, he has some goals he’d like to achieve these next few months, including connecting the department more with residents.

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