MILTON, Ga. — It was a passion for law enforcement and an opportunity “too good to pass up” that led Steve Krokoff, Milton city manager, to transplant his family from New York to Milton in 2015 to begin working for a city he had grown to love.
Krokoff had become familiar with the Milton area after spending Christmases with relatives who lived here. He became well acquainted with the area, which he said reminds him of New York’s Saratoga Springs, a picturesque, horse-loving community.
During a visit in 2014, Krokoff discovered that Milton was seeking a chief of police. After speaking with his family, he decided to apply for the job. In March of 2015, he was sworn in.
Krokoff’s decision to uproot his family in pursuit of his passion for law enforcement comes after his somewhat unlikely beginnings in law enforcement.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in English from State University of New York in 1992, Krokoff was set to begin law school. However, during his senior year, Krokoff took a course, “Policing in a Free Society,” that would be the foundation of his interest in law enforcement.
“I found the material so incredibly engaging and the friction between protecting our civil liberties and the goals of public safety so fascinating that I joined the Albany (New York) Police Department,” Krokoff said.
The balance of protecting civil liberties, while at the same time hoping citizens waived those rights to assist in police work, intrigued Krokoff to such an extend he spent 23 years with the Albany Police Department. He led the department as chief from 2009-15.
Though his passion was in law enforcement, former Milton city manager Chris Lagerbloom’s stepping down opened the opportunity for Krokoff to take over as city manager in July 2016.
“I didn’t come here with the intentions of being city manager,” Krokoff said. “But it’s a great city with a nurturing staff and a great spirit of cooperation. I saw [the city manager position] as too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
Krokoff said the transition forced him to learn more about running a city, but with the assistance of city staff, he learned quickly.
“The transition was not very difficult largely due to city staff,” he said. “They have been very supportive.”
Though he is visible at City Council meetings and throughout City Hall, much of Krokoff’s work is done behind the scenes.
Leading a team of 160 members of city staff, Krokoff ensures that staff and members of the City Council are thoroughly informed with any relevant information that goes into making decisions for the city and its residents.
“My chief responsibility is to achieve our City Council’s mission and vision through people,” he said. “To realize the best return on our taxpayers’ investment and generate the public value that I was hired to produce, it is imperative that I create an atmosphere of trust, motivation, and accountability.”
Working in the public sector for 25 years has taught Krokoff many lessons on how to serve, he said, and that has continued in his time with Milton.
When interviewed by Mayor Joe Lockwood for the position of city manager, Krokoff said the mayor emphasized the importance on a city government that is responsive to the community and it needed a city manager who would treat its residents as individual stakeholders.
“It is with that charge in mind that I approach each day,” Krokoff said.
Outside of his role with Milton, Krokoff said his move south has kept him closer to his extended family and he spends time with them as much as possible.
Continuing his devotion to law enforcement, as well as a passion for teaching, Krokoff continues to work as an online instructor for the criminal justice program at SUNY-Delhi.