Born: May 26, 1933
North Woods Village
When Bill G. Miller joined the Kokomo Police Department in 1958, officers still walked beats.
In the 32 years he worked for the department, Mr. Miller worked as a patrolman, a detective and captain. He retired in 1990.
“That’s the only thing I ever wanted to do,” said Mr. Miller.
Now a resident at North Woods Village in Kokomo, the 82-year-old’s memory is declining but he maintains recollections about his work as an officer. In keeps a scrapbook of his life, including his career as a police officer.
He never had to use his weapon in the line of duty, he said, and he spent most of his time working low-crime areas. “Most of the time I was in a car,” said Mr. Miller, “but I think it’s good to walk a beat to be closer to the people.”
When he was not working for the department, Mr. Miller spent his free time building homes. He built five family homes, according to his daughter, Debbie Rothman.
He also developed a talent for woodworking and has carved numerous works of art, including a crucifix, Indian heads and other pieces. His daughter said he attended classes for woodworking and became especially good at it. He gave most of the pieces to his children.
Born in Risco, Missouri, a farming community with a population of about 300, Mr. Miller came to Kokomo with his parents and five siblings while he was a boy. He attended Kokomo schools and graduated from Kokomo High School. He joined the U.S. Army in 1953 and served until 1955.
He was hired at the Kokomo Police Department in 1958 when there were far fewer than the 100 police officers now working for the department today. His fellow officers called him BG.
One of the most significant times of his career came when F4 and F5 tornadoes swept through Indiana and other states on Palm Sunday in 1965, killing 258 people and injuring more than 3,000. An 800 yard wide tornado killed 25 people near Kokomo. In the aftermath, Mr. Miller and other officers worked around the clock to help the community recover.
Mr. Miller said Kokomo has always been a wonderful place to live. Kokomo’s police presence came in 1865 when John Williams was elected Kokomo’s first town marshal. In April 1901, the department became metropolitan with six men.
By 1915, the department had its first patrol wagon. Officers rode horses, walked beats, rode bicycles and trolley cars and finally were assigned to patrol in automobiles. In contemporary times, the department embraced “community policing” and returned some officers to walking beats.
While Mr. Miller didn’t exist when many of Kokomo’s notorious criminals were around – including John Pullen, Willard Carson, John Dillinger, Ralph Cummings, Homer Hale, Ralph Lobaugh, Stanley Canfield, William Day and Oscar Welty – crime increasingly became of significance as the drug culture swept through the town.
Today, Mr. Miller enjoys taking it easy and pursing his hobby. Of course his family also keeps him busy. He has two daughters and a son, six grandchildren, nine great grand children and two great-great grandchildren.