We are fairly certain that the Mesa City Council didn't choose Frank Milstead as its new police chief because of his well-honed sense of humor, but it's sure to come in handy in the months to come.
Onetime stand-up comic Milstead will be moving east from the city of Phoenix, where he most recently has been a commander at the Phoenix Police Department.
Milstead will be stepping into a troubled (politically speaking) burg that has seen its share of bizarre moments in recent years -- not the least of which was the infamous October 2008 raid by Maricopa County sheriff's deputies of City Hall and the downtown public library.
The county gendarmes were looking for a slew of illegal immigrants said to be working at the city facilities. (Instead of a slew, however, the deputies found a few.)
We know Frank Milstead to be a cool head who should do just fine at the new gig.
We also knew his late dad, Ralph, a long time ago when the old man was running the Arizona Department of Public Safety and posing for cover photos for this paper that left little to the imagination. (The photo predates our Internet archive, so suffice to say that Director Milstead's "package" was the subject of great discussion around the Valley for weeks to come.)
No doubt, Frank Milstead (who tends to be somewhat more discreet) is a career cop who doesn't take crime or criminals lightly.
But he's definitely lived a life. Really, he used to do stand-up comedy back in the day, and an old friend of his tells us Milstead occasionally appeared on stage in his pre-cop years at the old Playboy Club at Central and Thomas.
We are fairly sure that he didn't open for the legendary Moms Mabley, the goofy gal in the above photo.
Hef's club closed in the early 1980s, lest any of the current Mesa City Council members start getting cold feet over their selection as chief.
Safe to say, soon-to-be-Chief Milstead is going to need that old sense of humor of his in the new job.
But he certainly must know that dealing with the likes of Joe Arpaio and his endless public-relations team, not to mention the sheriff's propensity to act first and inform other law enforcement later, will be no joke.
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