Keeping it in the family
July 22, 2013
Tracie Miller may have a new job title, but she's still very much an integral part of the Directorate of Emergency Services and the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Family.
As civilian police Capt. Tracie Miller, she served as the joint base's assistant chief of police. Now Miller is taking on a role on the civilian side of the workforce as a physical security specialist/physical security inspector.
"Switching uniforms, everyone keeps making fun of me," she said with a laugh. "That's cops, though."
Miller has worked in both military and civilian law enforcement for all of her 17-year career and has been with JBM-HH for the last eight. She began her career here as a civilian desk sergeant, was promoted to lieutenant, then captain, and was the assistant chief of police from 2011-2013. About two years ago, she was sent to physical security school by her organization.
"I was straddling both lines," she said. "I was working as the assistant chief of police, and I was working with elements of the physical security realm as well."
When the opening came on the physical security side of the house, Miller jumped at the chance to take on new responsibilities.
"There was room for growth and what was really beneficial about it was I was able to stay within my organization," she said, acknowledging that it was a difficult decision to leave law enforcement.
"I think the only way I was able to do it is because I was able to stay within my organization. I was able to stay within the Family. I was in the same building. I worked with the same people. I just moved offices. Instead of being the right hand of law enforcement, I'm the left, so to speak," said Miller, who sees the switch to the physical security side as a way to "pay back" DES for the training and money it has invested in her.
She called the relationship between law enforcement and physical security symbiotic.
"Physical security is all-encompassing," she said. "We deal with prevention, detection, a lot of preventative measures, not only of the installation, but individual buildings as well as government property, personnel and information. So, it's a more preventative field and a tool for commanders as opposed to the law enforcement side of the house."
Miller said the installation's five-member physical security team has more than 75 years combined experience in their field.
"It's a sister occupation to the police, but it's more about infrastructure, personnel and property," she underscored. "I work with a team that has a lot of experience and knowledge. While I have a lot of law enforcement experience, in physical security I'm the new guy on board."
Miller and the team are responsible for ensuring the security of everything from cars in the installation's parking lots, to chain-link fence, to what's on computers and in desk drawers.
"It's the inherent responsibility of all of us as human beings and representatives of the government to protect government property," she stressed. "We're all agents of the government in that regard. We all have that responsibility."
Miller said educating the public, the installation's organizations and tenant agencies about the benefits of the physical security section can be a challenge.
"Even though each of us are part of individual organizations and units we're all part of a bigger post, a bigger directorate, a bigger Army and we each play our part," she explained. "If there's an opportunity in an organization or section that can strengthen security and we can aid you in accomplishing that goal, that's good for [personnel] to know and reach out to us."
To contact the physical security section, call 703-696-8887/ 5213 or 703-588-2810/2811.