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Wayland City Manager fires police chief after 26-year tenure

After 26 years on the job, Wayland police chief Dan Miller was fired this morning by the city's interim manager, according to a report by John Tunison of the Grand Rapids Press.

Miller believes the decision was political, and wasn't based on the severity of infractions he is alleged to have made.

"I have no discipline history. There is no progressive history documented," said Miller, 60. "The punishment doesn't fit the crime."... Miller believes that small town politics -- his ex-wife works at city hall -- is a part of the decision-making. "If I had not gotten a divorce, we wouldn't be where we are now," he said.

Tunison reports Miller was suspended in January after he allegedly took a confiscated GPS unit home and gave away a set of recovered golf clubs from the station, but while the state Attorney General cleared him of any criminal responsibility, Wayland's interim City Manager Terry Hofmeyer kept him on suspension until today's firing.

For his part, Hofmeyer maintained his decision to fire Miller was justified. In a statement directed toward Miller saying:

"Frankly, your general written denial of all of the alleged violations was disappointing and flies in the face of admissions you made during the state police investigation and during our interview of April 10,. 2012," Hofmeyer wrote. "As chief of police, you are expected to set the standard for professional police services and to lead by example."

In a list issued by Hofmeyer, Miller is accused of 32 violations including:

Miller, while discarding recovered golf clubs that had been in storage, allowed a computer technician doing city work to take them from a Dumpster. Taking a confiscated GPS unit, seized from a convicted burglar, to his home. Miller said the unit did not have a charger, so he took it home to charge it, but said he never used it himself. Allowing a city officer to serve a personal protection order notice, outside the city, on the ex-husband of his girlfriend. Taking investigative documents to his home for storage.

Miller told the Press that he wasn't  sure if he would fight his termination, saying "I'll have to look at my options... people lose their jobs all the time. What are you going to do? I'll be looking in the Press want ads, I guess."

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom