by Dennis Dalman
For many years, Sartell police officer Dan Miller has had a big hand in helping keep the Sartell area – and beyond – drug-free and safer.
His peers, well aware of his dedicated work and achievements, recently honored him with the Distinguished Service Award at the annual Minnesota Police Chiefs’ Convention in Rochester.
Miller, who is a member of the Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force, was hired by the Sartell Police Department in 2001. In the award citation honoring Miller, Lt. Gerald Edblad, commander of the task force, had high praise for Miller.
“Dan’s ability to identify, collect and manage informants has led to information being gathered on some of the biggest criminal enterprises in the region,” Edblad wrote. “He has the respect and confidence of federal agencies and prosecutors to be able to share his information that has led to cases spreading out to other states. Dan’s work in the area of narcotics is invaluable to the entire region, and he is a great asset to the task force.”
Miller was nominated for the Distinguished Service Award by Sartell Police Chief Jim Hughes, who said, “I continue to be impressed with his enthusiasm and dedication to the gang and drug work that he does. He’s an excellent interviewer and investigator that has impacted the gang and drug activity in central Minnesota, the state and even neighboring states for a number of years.”
The task force was formed in 2006 by the cities of Sartell, St. Joseph, Sauk Rapids and Waite Park. It was funded by a drug-officer position for what was at that time the Major Crimes Investigative Unit, which was comprised of officers from area counties. That unit and the St. Cloud Police Department were later combined into the Central Minnesota Violent Offenders Task Force, Hughes noted. Since the formation of the VOTF, Miller has been a gang investigator with several others in the force.
Hughes cited several examples of how Miller’s work has paid off:
• In 2011, Sherburne County deputies were picking up someone on a drug warrant. They observed marijuana packaging and called Miller for any possible background intelligence. From his previous work, he knew that resident to be a large supplier of a drug called Ecstasy. Miller then drafted a search warrant and seized the following: $13,792 in U.S. currency, 2,019 Ecstasy pills and a 2007 BMW vehicle that was eventually forfeited by the offender.
• Also in 2011, Miller was instrumental in a case involving amphetamines that involved several area counties and more than a dozen suspects. The extensive investigation took about 18 months to piece together with all of its connections.
• In 2012, Miller received information from an investigator. A search warrant was drafted for a Cold Spring residence where 1.75 pounds of methamphetamine and $4,615 in U.S. currency was seized.
• Also in 2012, Miller met with a person under arrest for stolen property and felonious possession of a firearm. Miller interviewed the male, who finally admitted to several area burglaries. A search warrant was drafted for two residences where 20 stolen firearms were recovered.
• In 2013, Miller received information about a female selling large amounts of amphetamine. Through surveillance, Miller was able to set up a traffic stop where one pound of amphetamines were seized.
Miller’s latest honor is one among many. In 2004, he was awared the Sartell Police Department’s Meritorious Service Award, along with another officer. In the previous year, Miller was responsible for the removal of 33.85 grams of methamphetamine, 4.76 grams of cocaine and more than 12 pounds of marijuana – the result of about 85 contacts with drug suspects. At that time, the estimated value of those illegal drugs was $74,000. Shortly thereafter, Miller wanted to continue his skills as a drug-buster and earned a certification as a drug-recognition expert.
“His expertise in that area continues to assist him and his partners,” Hughes said.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.