Sneads council hires new police chief; search for town attorney continues

The Sneads Town Council ended its two-month search for a new chief of police this past Tuesday night, hiring Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Miller for the job. 

The vote was 3-0, with Council President Helen Grice and council members Daryl Johnson Sr. and Greg Lewis all in favor of the move. Council member Tim Arnold was absent, and Danny Pettis had resigned from the council at last month’s meeting.

Miller, who is to be paid $40,000 yearly, was hired to replace Sneads’ former police chief Burt McAlpin, who was fired in early October after 13 years on the job.

At its October 9 meeting, the Sneads Town Council voted 4-1 to oust McAlpin; council member Arnold cast the lone dissenting vote, which was taken just hours before Hurricane Michael devastated the town.

Council members also fired longtime town attorney Guy Green at the October 9 meeting.

The search for a new town attorney continues. Town Manager Lynda Bell reported to the council this week that she has completed a “request for proposals” to be put in advertisements for the job.  

“We expect to advertise for one month,” Bell said, “with a deadline of February 4.”

Miller beat five other applicants for the police chief job; applicants were interviewed by representatives from the council. Other applicants include Alton Ranew, David Riley, Nicholas Kealoha, Roy Knecht and Paul Dailey, according to official town documents.

Miller, 38, is from Okeechobee, Florida, but he has years of experience enforcing the law in Jackson County. After moving to Altha when he was 15, Miller finished law enforcement academy in 2007 and was hired by the Marianna Police Department in 2008.  

He made sergeant, then lieutenant, then captain at Marianna PD before resigning in May 2018 to become a deputy for Jackson County Sheriff Lou Roberts.

“I will turn in my resignation to JCSO tomorrow,” Miller said. “I was waiting for tonight’s vote. The sheriff’s department has been notified.”

It appears Miller will have his hands full.  

In addition to the four officers and staff he will supervise at the Sneads Police Department, he and his wife, Brittany, have two young boys: Callen, 18 months and Easton, 3 weeks, Miller said. Since there is no residency requirement for Sneads police chief, Miller said they plan to remain living in Marianna.

The council also voted Tuesday to “increase the budgeted expenditures for police and fire departments by $53,000.” 

In other business Tuesday, council member Lewis requested a press release be issued about filling the vacancy on the council created by Danny Pettis’ resignation.  

“We want to ask residents of the town interested in being on the council to submit their names to the clerk for their consideration,” Lewis said.

Council members have said they want to appoint an interim council member to serve until the April 2019 elections. This will require no special election at this time but the interim council member will have to run in the election to stay on the council, per the town charter.

Town officials will welcome Santa Claus to town hall this afternoon, Thursday, December 13. Jolly ol’ St. Nick will be in the meeting room from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Central Standard Time.

“Please join the Sneads Town Council and enjoy cookies and cocoa with Santa,” the flyer says. “Kids, bring your Christmas list. Parents, bring your camera or cell phone to take your child’s picture with Santa Claus. All are welcome to this free community event.”

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