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NFL hires Pa. police chief for security job

NEW YORK (AP) -The NFL hired Pennsylvania's state police chief for a new position that will cover all aspects of stadium security from fan behavior to signal stealing.

But Col. Jeffrey Miller, who begins work as director of strategic security Aug. 18, said Tuesday there was far more to the job than ensuring no repeat of the episode last year involving the New England Patriots.

"I think it's safe to say that the league is obviously sensitive to any issue which could affect the integrity of the product that they put out on the field," Miller said at a news conference in Harrisburg, Pa. "Obviously, I wasn't in the room when they worked this all out, but it is a new security director position and it's going to cross over a number of different areas."

Those areas will include overseeing pregame security screening, initiated by the league after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as well as fan behavior, an area commissioner Roger Goodell stressed last spring at the annual league meeting.

The league has been trying to get beyond Spygate since last September after a team employee was caught taping the New York Jets' signals in the season opener. Goodell fined New England coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and the team $250,000 and took away a first-round draft choice.

The issue, however, persisted. Sen. Arlen Specter suggested that Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers might have been at a disadvantage in postseason games against New England, including the 2005 Super Bowl, when the Patriots beat the Eagles. The Pennsylvania Republican did not drop the issue until last month.

Miller said he didn't want to speak for the NFL and didn't know how much time he would devote to any one task.

"I know that (Spygate) was an important issue to the league, but I think what people need to understand is the NFL takes great steps to ensure the integrity of the product on the field, just for instance the great work they do with their officials," Miller said. "They just approach things in such a well-thought out way, you'd be amazed at the steps that they take to ensure the integrity of the process."

The 45-year-old Miller has been commissioner of the state police since his appointment by Gov. Ed Rendell in 2003.

Three years later, Miller oversaw the investigation after a gunman killed five girls at an Amish schoolhouse before taking his own life. He was praised for balancing the public's need for information and the Amish community's desire for privacy.

He graduated from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and has a master's degree from Penn State in public administration.

Associated Press Writer Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pa., contributed to this report.

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