You might see Assistant Police Chief Tod Miller out on campus patrol or dressed as a pirate at the next Renaissance fair, or even decked out as Darth Vader showing off his light saber collection at the next Star Wars pub crawl. University Police Services’ newest assistant chief has crossed the equator with the Marine Corp and finally returned home to UNLV after six years with the Wolf Pack. Now that he’s back, the two-time alum (’01 BA and ’11 MA Criminal Justice) is looking at getting a third UNLV degree — either in criminology or law — and keeping his alma mater secure.
What inspired you to get into your field?
I was working at University Medical Center as the deputy chief where I met Adam Garcia, then chief of the University of Nevada, Reno Police Department on an elevator. He invited me to come be an officer for him at UNR. It took several years of convincing, persuasion, and discussion of processes until I was eventually swayed by his vision for the medical school and cooperative extension.
What does it mean to be on the job 24/7/365?
We are here to serve the community and it’s not a 9-to-5 job. Las Vegas is a 24-hour town with activities day and night, year-round, and those activities require police presence to ensure the safety of our community and the public at large.
Has there been a moment in your career that has stuck with you or drives you forward?
What’s made the biggest difference is spending time in other countries while with the Marine Corps (which included serving in the Gulf War). There are so many places that have different rights and freedoms. It makes me cherish what is available in the United States. I am thankful for what we do have and continue to acknowledge that there is always someone else who may have a harder time.
What is one of the greatest lessons learned with your time in the Marine Corps?
To be flexible. The model we learned well in the Marine Corp was “hurry up and wait.” Things always change and all you can do is adapt to the change and carry on throughout the day.
What drew you from UNR to UNLV?
Anthrax (he means snow) falls from the sky up there! I was born and raised in Las Vegas, so coming back to Vegas was coming home. There was a running joke at the UNR police department about whether or not I would be coming in to work if it was cold or snowing. (And working at UNR didn’t stop him from wearing a Rebels pin on his uniform. Office pranks with his UNLV diplomas were rampant, and he frequently found himself searching for his Rebel mascot figurine.)
What is the biggest change you’ve noticed on campus since you graduated in 2011? Did you have a favorite spot on campus?
Campus has grown! There are so many additional buildings. When I was attending for undergrad, the College of Urban Affairs was in mobile trailers in a parking lot! I used to sit out in the trees by Wright Hall in between class doing HW or napping since I was working night shift.
What can people do to make your job easier?
Listen. Just listen and be open-minded.
What advice would you give your younger self?
No one can take your character away from you, you can only give it away, and once you give it away you can never get it back.
What is one key safety tip you’d like to share with campus?
Put your cellphones away, take out your earbuds, and be aware of your surroundings.
Do cops really love donuts?
Donuts are food of the gods.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I’ve crossed the equator and been around the world twice while in the Marine Corp. I had the opportunity to go places I never otherwise would have had the chance to. But, I love the beach and Bora Bora is definitely in the near future — the over-the-water cabana with a large flow of rum.
So, be honest, Wolf Pack or Rebels?