Alumni Spotlight Archive
Senator John Millner, 1974 Triton graduate, Associate of Science
State Senator/Retired Police Chief with the Elmhurst Police Department
I received an Associate of Science degree from Triton College in River Grove. I then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Justice at Lewis University in Romeoville and a Master of Arts degree in Law Enforcement Administration at Western Illinois University in Macomb. I served with the Elmhurst Police Department from March 1972 to January 2003, where I rose through the ranks from patrolman to chief. I served as chief of police for 16 years.
Awards I’ve received include the Voices for Illinois Children: Certificate of Recognition for my work as a community leader and advocate for Illinois children; the Human Dignity Award from the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence; the Chief of the Year Award from the Illinois State Crime Commission; the Thrasher Award: Most Effective American City Police Chief for 1997-1998; Outstanding Legislator Award from the Illinois State’s Attorney Association; and most recently, Legislator of the Year Award from the Illinois Bankers Association. I was also recently named to the Commission to End Hunger with Feeding Illinois and have worked with local community food banks for years.
What would you describe as your strong suit?
One of my strong suits is that I feel I have the ability to bring people together who are on two different sides of an issue. I’m able to work with them and create win-win situations. I like to be a mediator and bring compromise. I think that comes from my love of people and a high level of empathy. I can work with anyone.
What have been some obstacles you've had to overcome in pursuit of your educational and career goals?
I don’t view things as obstacles – more of just challenges that you come across in life. They are opportunities to grow. In general, I’m an optimist and I try to look to the future.
What has served as a source of inspiration both in your career and in your life?
People who have faced huge obstacles in life and overcome that adversity with dignity inspire me.
How has Triton College impacted your life?
Triton opened my eyes to new horizons and possibilities. My time there was a turning point for me. I didn’t care too much for school, and I wasn’t sure if it was for me. My Triton experience used my talents that I didn’t know existed and created what is now my love for learning. It also made me want to change my career and life goals, which has been to help people. My time there led me to what is now my reality.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to pursue a career in your field?
In any career, study all aspects of it and do your research. Look at your strengths and desires as well as your aspirations and then see if the two match. Make sure that you find something that matches your life goals; if it does, go full speed ahead.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to read about anything and everything. I also do a lot of teaching and seminars for various organizations, universities and community groups. Other than that, I spend time with my family and volunteer for the food bank.
What are your plans for the future?
I will continue to serve, but possibly in a different capacity at some point. Maybe some sort of government relations/not-for-profit role. I definitely have no plans to retire though.