Cmdr. Tom Milner is resigning after 10 years with the Newark Police Department, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stop serving the community at large.
Milner, who oversaw the department’s support services sector, will take on a new role as a senior inspector with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.
The new position is a bit of a homecoming for Milner, who began his 29-year law enforcement career as a deputy sheriff for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department.
And the opportunity to be a DA inspector is one reason why Milner said he decided to retire from his post with the Newark Police Department.
“[It’s an] opportunity to be closer to home, in my own home county, and also have the ability to return in investigations and work in a unique and sophisticated assignment as a DA inspector,” Milner said.
Milner has served the Newark Police Department since he was hired as a lieutenant from Sausalito Police Department in 2002. He became support services lieutenant in 2008 and the role was reclassified as support services commander a year later.
Throughout his time in Newark, Milner said he aimed to carry out his own policing philosophy while on the job. That philosophy, which he learned as a Berkeley police officer, focuses on positive relationships and problem solving.
“Having positive and trusting relationships is very important, and problem solving is real key to delivering a real quality product for your community to be served,” Milner said. “That’s kept me in a real positive frame and I think that’s great for what you want to do, when you serve.”
And it’s the community, both inside and outside of the police department, that Milner said he will miss the most about Newark.
“I’m a people person by and large, and I’ve just enjoyed the variety and diversity of folks both inside and also, just as importantly, in the community,” Milner said.
As the support services commander, Milner was charged with overseeing the department’s SWAT team, Hostage Negotiations team, Special Enforcement Team, Major Crimes Task Force unit, Police Honor Guard, School-Law Enforcement Partnership and the School Resource Officer program.
Milner said the department plans to re-organize the police force so that Newark Police Department’s remaining two commanders, Renny Lawson and Michael Carroll, will share the duties Milner had.
And Milner, who is the third police commander to retire since November 2011, has confidence in Newark Police Department’s future, noting that he’s admired Chief James Leal’s innovativeness in operation of the department and confidence in those who work for the police force.
“I like the courage that the chief has and also the trust he has in his people in the department. He really is a very successful chief in many ways. …[and] has really kept us at the forefront of policing in this region,” Milner said. “It’s been a very, very good run for us, and I know he’ll keep that direction moving forward.”
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