MILTON — Milton Police Chief Tony Tindell said the department is doing some great things to improve the department and better serve the community.

Tindell said in addition to the expansion project on the police department building, which is currently in its final stages, there are some noteworthy things happening inside the department as well. Recently, Milton Police Detective Steve Mistovitch Jr., who has served on the force since 1996, received the Lee McGehee Police Officer of the Year award at the Florida Police Chief's Annual Conference. 

"His compassion and dedication to serving the community of Milton is a true asset to our department," Tindell said. "I'm very proud of him and honored to have an officer who displays such a level of professional service to our city."

Mistovich said he was honored to have received the award and he couldn't ask for a better place to work. Mistovich said this was the first place he has been where he was excited to get up and come to work.

"I grew up here," Mistovitch said. "It's like you are working for your family. We have been able to make a lot of good friends in this town."

Mistovich said even though there are some bad days in the job, he likes the fact that no two days are the same.

In addition to Mistovitch's award, Tindell said he is excited about the fact that his department will soon be fully staffed when he finishes hiring five officers, which he said will help to take stress off of his staff.

"That is the first time in many years this agency will be at full capacity," Tindell said.

Officer Sierra Mills, one of his new hires, said she was glad to be on the force and that everyone at the department was helpful and friendly.

"I like the open door policy (the chief has)," Mills said. "Plus, you get to know everybody."

Tindell said he tries to create a family atmosphere where everyone feels welcome.

"We believe in community," he said. "We enjoy building relationships and putting that personal touch on the services we provide. I've got good people. They care about their job.  The services they perform mean a lot to me and the community they serve."

Tindell said currently all officers are completing a field training program that he expects good results from. In addition to his new hires, Tindell recently promoted four officers within his department, which he said will give the department a complete chain of command and help it run smoother. He said as with everything he does, including his plans to make improvements to the dispatch center and the recent relaunch of the Narcotics Task Force, he couldn't do it without the support of his department, City Manager Randy Jorgenson, Mayor Heather Lindsay and the City Council.

"I'm very grateful to them and the citizens for their support," Tindell said. "Without their support none of what I am doing could happen. Any accomplishment I have had has been a team effort."