NYPD Deputy Commissioner John J. Miller, who since January 2014 has been the public face of the department’s counterterrorism and intelligence efforts, announced to his staff Tuesday that he was retiring and would leave his post in a few weeks, authorities said.
The departure of the 63-year-old Miller, who has also served as the NYPD’s main spokesman for several months, is one of the highest ranked civilian officials to leave since Commissioner Keechant Sewell took over on Jan. 1. Former First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker, the highest ranking civilian official, left when Sewell took over the top job.
In a letter to his staff, Miller said “the time has come to rise to other challenges and opportunities.” While he wasn’t specific about his next move, Miller, who had years in previous careers as a network news correspondent and as a spokesman for the FBI, said, “I intend to stay a part of the law enforcement and intelligence conversation.”
Miller didn’t return calls and emails for comment on Tuesday.
NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell called Miller "a remarkable figure with deep insight into the worlds of counterterrorism, intelligence-gathering and, of course, broadcast journalism." She thanked him for his service, which she called "invaluable."
Miller said in his statement that he would be part of a transition period for a few weeks dealing with the affairs of a far-flung NYPD intelligence and counterterrorism operation that has been heavily involved over the years, including events such as the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Fourth of July fireworks. He also oversees the NYPD overseas liaison program in which detectives have been posted to key foreign capitals to serve as conduits for information related to terrorism.
Since 2021, Miller has served as de facto spokesman for the NYPD, showing up at crime scenes and running police headquarters news conferences.
During the 2020 summer protests in New York City over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Miller’s intelligence unit was put to the test in trying to stay ahead of the violence that ultimately erupted in some of the five boroughs. He later took responsibility for not anticipating the violence.
Miller was appointed to his current job when former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton took over in January 2014. Bratton had worked with Miller previously as chief department spokesman from 1994 to 1995 when Bratton had his first tenure as commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. But when Bratton was forced out by the Giuliani administration, Miller was out of a job, too. He followed Bratton to Los Angeles when Bratton took over the police chief job there in 2003. Miller then left in 2005 to take a job as chief spokesman for the FBI.
Earlier in his career, Miller steadily rose through the ranks as a TV news reporter in New York. He made a name dogging the late mob boss John Gotti where Miller, camera crew in tow, would follow the mafia figure and his cohorts as they left nightclubs and social clubs. Miller also is remembered for traveling to Pakistan and getting an interview with terror chief Osama bin Laden.