Santa Monica College (SMC) Police Chief Eileen Miller, the first woman to serve as a police officer, sergeant and chief at the college, retired May 31st after 33 years of service. She was to be honored Wednesday, June 13th, as “Manager of the Year.”

College president Chui L. Tsang will present the award to Miller at SMC’s 2007 “Recognition Program,” which also honors retirees and employees with longevity.

Miller, a Long Beach resident who started as an officer at the college in 1974 and became police chief in 1995, has made a major impact on the security of SMC, said to be one of the safest campuses in Southern California, SMC officials said.

During her tenure, the college was transformed from being policed by a security agency to having its own independent police department with certification from the State of California. Over time the department grew from a security force of two officers to 15, plus 51 parking security officers.

During Miller’s administration, support pacts were also articulated with the Santa Monica and Los Angeles police departments. She was able to rapidly modernize her department with current weaponry, vehicles, radios, dispatch support staff and ongoing professional training for all the police officers, SMC officials said.

“Over the past 33 years, SMC has had no major incidents to speak of, no alarming events like the one our nation recently experienced involving horrific acts of violence against students and faculty,” said Al DeSalles, president of the SMC Management Association.

“You can say that we’ve been lucky and you can also say that we’ve been protected and watched over by a caring, thoughtful and deliberative administrator who has single-handedly made it her life work to plan and appropriately respond to any and all threats to our well-being,” DeSalles added.

According to SMC officials, Miller has also been praised for her conscientious work habits, including typically arriving on campus at 3:30 a.m. every day and leaving 12 hours or so later, as well as for her excellent people skills.