Battle of Old Fort Wayne

Vern Miller (December 22, 1928 – June 11, 2021) was an American attorney, politician, and law enforcement officer who served as the Kansas attorney general from 1971 to 1975.

Early life and education

Miller was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1928. At three years old, his family moved to a 10-acre farm in the city, raising cows and selling milk.[1] He attended primary schools there, and attended Wichita North High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Army at 17, turning 18 while he was posted to post-WWII U.S. occupation zone in Korea. After his service he attended Friends University.[1][2] He later graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 1966, driving 310 miles round trip to attend night school.[1]

Career

He served as deputy sheriff of Sedgwick County, Kansas from 1949 to 1954, and in 1958 was elected as Sedgwick County marshal.[3] After two terms as marshal, Miller served two terms as sheriff of Sedgwick County. As a Wichita, Kansas police laboratory investigator, he was called out to the crime scene of the Earl and Ruth Bowlin murders in Sedgwick County on April 13, 1963.[4] He was elected Sedgwick County sheriff in 1964 and re-elected twice.[5]

Kansas attorney general

Though he had never previously tried a case,[1] he was first elected as Attorney General of Kansas in 1970 under a platform of "aggressive and visible enforcement of the state's drug and liquor laws".[6] As attorney general, Miller participated in arrests and drug raids himself; a 1971 article detailed a Wichita drug raid in which Miller hid in the trunk of a car of an undercover agent in order to make arrests.[7][8][9] When he was re-elected in 1972, he had gained widespread popularity across the state, winning in all of the counties.[10] He served as attorney general until 1975.

1974 Kansas gubernatorial election

In 1974, he was the Democratic nominee for governor of Kansas, losing by 0.49% to Republican Robert Frederick Bennett. Miller then served as Sedgwick County Prosecuting Attorney from 1976 to 1980 and opened up a law practice in his hometown of Wichita.[11]

Personal life

In 2009, the book Vern Miller: Legendary Kansas Lawman by Mike Danford, detailing Miller's life, was published.[12] He was married twice, and had three children and a stepchild.[1] One of his sons, Clifford Miller, was a police sergeant in Sedgwick County.[13] Miller was a member of the Presbyterian Church, Kansas Bar Association, American Judicature Society and Wichita Bar Association. He was a former president of the Kansas Peace Officers Association.[14]

Miller died on June 11, 2021, at his home in Mesa, Arizona at the age of 92.[15]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Kansas lawman Vern Miller dies at 92, Wichita Eagle, Amy Renee Leiker, June 12, 2021. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  2. ^ "Kansas Directory". google.ca. 1973. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  3. ^ "Facet – Kansas Memory – Kansas Historical Society". www.kshs.org. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  4. ^ Group, Genealogy Trails History. "Sedgwick County, KS". genealogytrails.com. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  5. ^ "Vern Miller – Kansas Memory – Kansas Historical Society". www.kshs.org. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  6. ^ Dean, Virgil W. (2006). John Brown to Bob Dole. google.ca. ISBN 9780700614295. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  7. ^ "40 years ago: AG Vern Miller hides in car trunk, tackles suspect in course of drug raid". LJWorld.com. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  8. ^ "The Stuff of Legends: Vern Miller returns to Great Bend". gbtribune.com. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  9. ^ "Miller returns to scene of the crime". gbtribune.com. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  10. ^ Richard Shank (May 9, 2013). "A reunion with Vern Miller". The Hutchinson News. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  11. ^ "Vern Miller – Kansas Memory". kansasmemory.org. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  12. ^ "Joplin Independent: Friend pays homage to Vern Miller, Kansas lawman". joplinindependent.com. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "Sheriff's sergeant, son of Vern Miller, saw it all in 36 years with Sedgwick County". kansas. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  14. ^ "Kansas Voter's Guide". google.ca. 1972. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  15. ^ "Former Kansas attorney general Vern Miller has died at 92". Kake.com. June 11, 2021. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Kent Frizzell
Attorney General of Kansas
1971–1975
Succeeded by
Curt T. Schneider
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert Docking
Democratic nominee for Governor of Kansas
1974
Succeeded by
John W. Carlin