Sheriff’s Office fills interim Miami Police Chief spot

Photo by Carol Broeder Lt. Virgil Dodd, with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, is acting as interim police chief for the Town of Miami, after the retirement of Spencer Preston.

Lt. Virgil Dodd, with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, is currently interim chief of the Miami Police Department, after the retirement of Chief Spencer Preston.

Dodd said the Sheriff’s Office will be “assisting the Town of Miami to provide quality leadership and supervision until a new chief is in place.”

“I will be their temporary, interim chief and Sgt. Mike Hill will be the first line supervisor to help me oversee the police officers and their dispatchers,” he told the Silver Belt. “Our goal is to maintain structure and provide guidance to the Miami Police Department.”

“I have been with the Sheriff’s Office, and in law enforcement, for 16 years,” Dodd said.

Miami Town Manager Joe Heatherly announced Dodd’s appointment at the Sept. 24 regular city council meeting.

“A week ago, I was informed Spence was going to be leaving,” he told the council.

While he could at least temporarily step into other Town positions, the post of police chief is one Heatherly cannot do. “I’m not POST (Peace Officers Standard and Training) certified,” he said.

Knowing the City of Globe had just hired its own new police chief and was still short-handed as well, Heatherly looked instead to the Sheriff’s Office for support.

“I contacted the Gila County to talk about what we were going to need and how long we were going to need it,” he said. “They responded that they would support us with two individuals.”

Heatherly added the Town would be “interviewing a couple of police chief candidates tomorrow.”

Once Dodd and Hill came on board, Heatherly had met with “Virgil, Mike and almost all of the police force,” he said. “I really appreciate Gila County coming in here.”

When Dodd addressed the council, he expressed his respect for the members of Miami police force, which was “running on fumes.”

“You have great officers there,” he told the council.

Dodd said he had given Heatherly “some policies and procedures” for the Miami Police Department to consider implementing.

“Why re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to?” he asked.

Dodd gave the council police department report for the month of August, saying that Miami police had covered 2,789 miles; responded to 554 calls for service; issued 30 citations; made three traffic stops; responded to 30 agency assist calls and 10 traffic incidents.

He described as “actually really good” the number of burglary calls, which were five, and also called the drug activity calls “super low,” with five.

After Dodd’s presentation, Councilman Mike Black asked for copies of the new policies and procedures, to which Heatherly replied, “We haven’t implemented any new policies and procedures yet.”

Heatherly said he would be working with the Miami Police Department on new policies and procedures and would put it on the agenda for the next regularly scheduled council meeting.

Preston took the post of Miami Chief of Police in 2015.

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