The Story Of A Cop Who Never Wanted To Be a Cop
People end up on my page for a host of varying reasons. Some people may have come to me as a result of a ton of media coverage about me back in October of 2016. Others may have stumbled upon something of mine that has been shared by one of their friends. For some, you may have gotten an invite to my page. Regardless, of how you came across my page, let me first say that I am extremely glad you did. People have followed my page for different lengths of time. Some for months, others for weeks, and some just got here days or even hours ago. I’ve spent a lot of time over the months discussing all sorts of issues. However, the one topic I have rarely discussed is myself. Now, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve probably been able to tease quite a bit of detail out about myself. However, without any further preamble, whether you’ve been here since October 3rd or you just got here, I will attempt to answer the question, “Who The Hell Is Lt. Tim McMillan?”
So what is your page all about and why do you have one?
Well, I truly am just an average guy, who has been blessed by having some exceptional experiences in his life. Ultimately, this entire page started as a result of a seemingly random traffic stop and a viral Facebook post I made on October 1, 2016. I had made a seemingly innocuous Facebook post before I went to sleep that morning. When I woke up six hours later, I had discovered that my post had already been shared approximately 50,000 times all around the world. Ultimately, that post would reach around 500,000,000 million people worldwide, thanks to people sharing it and media coverage from 191 different media outlets in 17 different countries.
Very early on after my original post, the messages from people started rolling in. Ultimately, I would receive thousands of messages from members of the African American community expressing gratitude for my original message, and share with me their personal stories of fears and concerns they had with the police. I received messages from teens in inner cities like Detroit and Chicago, who said my message had changed their opinion of law enforcement forever. I received upsetting messages from mothers, fathers, and grandparents who shared with me their personal stories of fears they have for their youth. It would be as a result of those many original messages that I first faced one of the biggest crossroads of my life. In essence, I had thousands of people sharing with me that there was a problem and asking for help. I realized that it would be as unethical of me to just turn my back on these concerns, as it would be if I drove past someone in my police car waving their arms yelling for help. So it was at that point that I created this Facebook page.
Initially, I used my page as a platform to discuss racial issues and social justice concerns. However, rather quickly the messages and comments that initially had been relatively limited to the African American community, suddenly I started getting messages from Muslims, Native Americans, the LGBT community, Hispanics, Immigrants, women and virtually any ethnic, cultural, religious, or racial minority group that has had to face hardships. As a result, I suddenly found myself becoming a more traditional civil and human rights activist.
Ultimately, my page represents a simple concept that is intricately complex. It is the fundamental belief in true egalitarianism. I believe that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities. Through my page, I will discuss contemporary issues, and I will examine historical perspectives to try to erode bias, prejudice, fear and hate. I do not push any one political, religious, cultural, ethnic, or philosophical doctrine. Rather, I stand firmly with the belief that diversity adds a richness and beauty to life. Therefore, I encourage differing views.
On my page, I will consider topics in a couple of distinct ways. First, and most importantly I try to ensure that everything I say is 100% absolute truthful. If I am writing an essay or article on something, I may go to great lengths to try to ensure that I thoroughly research and examine the topic to provide one with the most absolute truth possible. One of the toughest issues that I have ever tried to tackle in this endeavor was the Standing Rock and Dakota Access Pipeline controversy. You can read what I eventually had to conclude on that topic here.
I will also share news stories that represent topics that are of public interest. When I share a news story, I will write something brief that is aimed at trying to get one to consider the subject from an open mind.
Regardless, of what I share, I encourage people to discuss it, and I encourage people to debate it. The only caveat is that I ask people always to try to remain open minded and just because someone has a differing view that yours, try to gain an understanding or perspective of what their opinion is. I have often found, that everyone is biased in some way by their experiences. Therefore, if you are willing to listen and willing to share, when you see “why” people feel a certain way suddenly it opens the door to understanding. Does that mean, people will always agree? No. However, often people will not walk away hating each other.
I honestly desire to see people not only get along but also live happy lives. I honestly do care about people, and I want to see all of us leave a better world for our children. So there are times when I will share writings or stories that are solely for the intent to inspire or promote positivity.
Lastly, so that you know, writing is not inherently easy for me. I am dyslexic. So at times indeed I have grammatical or spelling errors in my post. I apologize for any errors that may occur. It isn’t because I am lazy, rather I honestly cannot see the same words that you may see at times. Often, I will see words as they are supposed to be and not what they actually are.
Ok, so who exactly is Lieutenant Tim McMillan?
Well, I am a civil rights activist who never wanted to be a civil rights activist. I am a writer who never wanted to be a writer, and truthfully, I am a cop who never wanted to be a cop. My life could be summed up as a series of coincidences, happenstances, and unintended consequences.
I am originally from Florida. However, I grew up and still live in Savannah, Georgia. Growing up, I never dreamed of being a cop. Instead, I wanted to be an astronomer or research psychologist. I loved solving mysteries, and to me, there were no two greater mysteries than space and the human mind.
Ultimately, my life path would dramatically transform as a result of an unexpected tragedy on July 26, 2002. In the early morning hours of that warm summer evening, two friends I had grown up with, Thomas O’Hayer III and William “Kenny” Carlton, were shot and killed in their home as a result of a home invasion robbery. This single event was the most prolific and emotional experience I had ever experienced in my life. Their deaths aroused emotions within me I didn’t know existed. Sometime, shortly after their deaths, I awoke one morning with the idea that there were two types of people in this world. Individuals who say, “someone should do something about this” and individuals who say “I am going to do something about this.” I chose that morning to be later of those two individuals. So in the darkness of tragic death, my desire to be a law enforcement officer was born. By 2003 I had graduated the police academy and was sworn in as Georgia P.O.S.T. certified police officer for the Garden City Police Department, an agency just outside Savannah.
Indeed, I am still a full-time police officer, working for the same agency since 2003. Currently, I am a police Lieutenant assigned to the patrol division. Previously, I have been Detective, crime scene tech, K9 handler, and Sergeant. I am also a P.O.S.T. certified police instructor and teach in-service and police academy classes.
Additionally, I never lost my love for space and the human mind. On good clear nights, I still pull out the telescope and ponder the mysteries of space. However, it is psychology that has been the focus of my academic pursuits. I obtained undergraduate degrees in mathematics and psychology from SNHU. Additionally, my graduate studies have been in cognitive psychology. My specific interest in psychology is with human consciousness and perception. I have engaged in published and independent research studies on human consciousness investigating environmental influences on perception. I have spent a significant amount of time through research and mathematical modeling how the human mind can engage and alter the environment through conscious and unconscious interactions.
I have been involved with the development of P.O.S.T. law enforcement courses involving topics of implicit bias, cognitive dissonance, and improving cognition for police officers.
Adding to this entire mix, I have been very active in establishing a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization for police research, training and ultimately a national accreditation program, called The Four Trees Project. We are currently working to obtain funding to establish the program through grants, and private donations. As of late, the private donations have been few and far between, which has made things rather difficult. But hey, I try not to stress about that. At the end of the day, the program is for the betterment of law enforcement and the public equally. So the public must desire it for it to happen. Worse comes to worse; things won’t be too bad on me if America turns into a police state. I mean, I am the police (insert canned laughter). If you are interested to know more about The Four Trees Project, check out www.thefourtreesproject.org
I have mentioned on many occasions that I am Jewish. I am also fluent in Hebrew and have engaged in extensive studies on ancient Hebrew semantics and literary works. Spirituality is a huge part of who I am. However, I do not typically discuss religion nor do I even believe that there is any “correct” religious belief. Outside of publicly stating that I am proudly very Jewish, you will rarely see me discuss religious topics.
Lastly, and most importantly that most important titles I will ever have are husband and father. I love my family and equally as important I like my family (insert more canned laughter). My wife and kids are indeed my first priority, and I cannot express enough how much respect and admiration I have for my wife. Without my wife, none of the rest of this would be possible. We have two boys, five and three-year-old, and a seven-month-old girl. With that said, you will rarely see me say much about my family, other than occasionally mention them in a post. I don’t discuss my family to try to protect their ambiguity and privacy.
Are there any perks to what you do?
Absolutely! The most valuable perks I receive are the ability to connect with so many diverse and amazing people. A lot of people don’t realize this, but I actually do recognize the names and in a way get to know the people who regularly post on my page.
Additionally, I have received numerous amazing and inspiring messages from individuals who have shared with me that something I said moved them or made them reconsider pre-existing views that may have had that were negative. To me, that is the greatest reward I can ever receive. Additionally, I have been able to help a lot of people who have reached out to me with concerns about private matters. Hopefully, I have been able to make some people’s lives better.
Now, truth be told, I am the worst businessman in history. I do not make a dime off of any of this. With the rare exception of the instances that I have been paid to speak at an event. Even then I was shocked to discover that people would pay me for that. I enjoy meeting and sharing with new people, so honestly, I would talk to people for free.
I have indeed had a few offers for people who wanted me to engage in some media ventures. However, I have refused any and all offers that I felt conflicted with the values that I stand for, and who I strive to be. I will not subscribe to being a partisan political pundit just to earn a paycheck. Now, assuredly the money and frankly a better work schedule has been tempting at times. However, the right offer has never come forward, and I refuse to turn into something I am not.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to some areas I’ve never been and meet some people I probably wouldn’t have had a chance to meet. I have spoken with politicians and celebrities, some of which I have become genuine friends with and regularly speak too.
I have also had the opportunity to be on TV, radio and appear in film documentaries. All of which, have been incredible experiences, that I do not take for granted.
Speaking of politicians, in this politically polarized climate right now, what are you? A Conservative or Liberal?
Politically, I am a real radical moderate. I have no allegiance to any political party nor do I fundamentally favor any one party over the other. I consider the merit of political policies and agendas over party loyalty. With that said, in the current political climate, the neo-conservative stance has often leaned a little further right than my personal beliefs. Therefore, at times I may come across as being more liberal than I am conservative.
Additionally, the topic of immigration has been something that is imperative to me. Therefore, in my willingness to stand up against certain immigration policies I have often been accused, to the point of anger, of being a liberal. I think the crowning achievement of liberal accusations against me is typically when someone accuses me of being a paid agent of George Soros. I’m not just in case you still wondered.
Are there any negatives you face for what you do?
Oh yeah! I have individuals crawl out of the underbelly of constricted consciousness and spew fanatical venom at me. I remember back in October I did a phone interview with a Fox News or CNN, and I said: “Why is this such a big deal?” The reporter saying, “You just don’t get it do you? You are a white, active-duty cop, from the South speaking out for minority rights. Too many people member of the Black Community, you are like a unicorn.” Naïvely, I chuckled and said, “If you say so.” Truthfully, I didn’t get it back then. However, I get it now.
Honestly, I don’t lament on the negativity, so at this moment it’s hard to think of everything I have faced. In the end, I get it. I do push the envelope of being willing to discuss things that are controversial and most importantly uncomfortable for some people. I have always said, everything I say is positive. However, that doesn’t mean it’s positive to everybody.
You can read something I wrote about the “curse” of all of this here.
It seems like some of the stuff you talk about is “Anti-Cop” what’s the deal!
Being a “race baiter” or anti-police are some of the most common insults hurled in my direction. Here is the deal, I am in no way shape or form, anti-cop. I believe law enforcement to be a noble profession, and that it should represent the ultimate standard of righteousness within a society. I like to say, that law enforcement is my best friend. Now, don’t allow your best friend to engage in harmful behavior without discouraging or telling them not too. If you did, you wouldn’t be a good best friend. So indeed, there are plenty of times that I will cross the proverbial “thin blue line” and speak out against instances where law enforcement has stepped over the line and engaged in unethical, immoral or even criminal behavior. I believe the only true way we pay tribute to all the great cops in this profession, which I do believe is indeed the vast majority, is by calling out the bad cops and casting them from our ranks.
So there you have it. That is basically, most of the questions that people ever ask me. However, if you ever have any questions, by all means, please ask. I’m just an average guy, who is probably insane because I believe in the goodness of all people. For reasons I don’t actually understand, or at times feel I deserve, I have been given an opportunity to at least try to make the world a better place. I am human, I make mistakes, and I get frustrated. However, I’ve never prayed or asked to be rich, famous, have a big house or fancy cars (all to my wife's chagrin). All I have ever wanted to do, was just make a difference in this world. To do something that allowed me to leave the world in a better place than when I got here. So at the end of the day, not everyone is going to like me, however, that insanity of believing in people and better world is what ultimately motivates me.