Pictured are (l-r) top row, Captain Aubrey Harper, Lt. Cosme Castillo, Sheriff Oscar Lopez, Capt. Louie Valadez and Lt. Joe Martinez; bottom, new administrator Ricardo Palacios, Chief Melvin Arnold and Major Richard Miller. Photo by MAURICIO JULIAN CUELLAR JR.

Palacios to work part-time with the department

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Big changes are in store for the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Office as Major Richard Miller submitted his resignation this week, and retired DPS Sgt. Ricardo Palacios is set to begin his work as an Administrative Assistant for the department.

Miller spent 17 years in the department, working his way up through narcotics and into jail administrative work at the end of his career.

Miller said Thursday he was resigning to work elsewhere, but that he will still continue a working relationship with the department as a reserve officer. His last day is Aug. 3.

"We appreciate the work the Major has done for us over the last 17 years. He is a leader in our department and we're all going to miss him," JWC Sheriff Oscar Lopez said.

Lopez, Miller and the high-ranking officers in the department gathered Thursday to share their thoughts about Miller and his career.

"I've enjoyed working here. A lot has happened in 17 years. I'm going to miss everyone," Miller said.

Chief Melvin Arnold paid a high complement to Miller and his career, saying that Miller made a difference.

"At the time when Miller was really involved in narcotics, he made many warrant searches and numerous arrests," Arnold said. "Miller put a dent in the narcotics traffic in Jim Wells County and it will be hard to replace Miller with his experience, and knowledge about the job that he's been doing for us. I, for one, will miss him."

Lopez said that Palacios, who will begin Aug. 1, will assist the department in an administrative capacity part time.

Working closely with both the sheriff and other officers in the department, Palacios' role will be to see how the sheriff's office can operate more efficiently with the resources at hand. Whether it's through scheduling, or when dealing with licenses and certificates through TCLOSE and the state, Palacios will assist in whatever area he's called upon.

"We're going to take a look at what DPS does and see if we can implement some of that here. In meeting with the sheriff, we'll see when it comes to training, or the use of technology in the department, what we can do to be more effective. We will also look into how we can make salaries more competitive," Palacios said.

Palacios, who also has an accident reconstruction business, will work with the department part-time.

Lopez said Palacios coming on board will bring a wealth of information to the department and that with his help and assistance, the county will continue its good relationship with DPS.

"We're pleased to have him (Palacios) here. It's sad to see Richard go, but the good thing is that we will keep him in the reserves, and I know he will help us out," Lopez said. "No amount of money in the world could replace the experience and knowledge of these two men here."