In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
*On January 3, 1980, Leonard Miller had donned badge #78 for only the third time as a full-time patrol officer; however, those three short days belie the level of community of community pride and commitment to public service that filled his spirit. For as long as friends and relatives could remember, Leonard Miller had been determined to be a cop. It was a calling that consumed him and had driven him to become an active volunteer in his community. On January 1, 1980, Mayor William Kerr swore in Leonard Miller as a full time patrol officer for the Borough of Apollo. Leonard’s lifelong dream of becoming a police officer finally materialized. Leonard wore that badge proudly but he wore it, sadly, for only three short days before falling victim to two murderers in a crime that became known as “Kill For Thrill.” *From Michael W. Sheetz’s book Kill For Thrill ©2009
Patrolman Miller’s murder occurred on his third day as a full time officer with the Apollo Police Department. He had previously served as a part-time officer for the Apollo Police Department and Vandergrift Police Departments for 2.5 years. He is buried in the Riverview Cemetery, Apollo, Pennsylvania. He was survived by his parents.
In 2005 the Apollo Bridge was renamed the Leonard C. Miller Bridge. Several tributes honor Miller’s life: An annual scholarship is awarded to an Apollo-Ridge High School senior who plans to major in criminal justice; and the Leonard C. Miller Memorial is located near the main portal to town. Historical artifacts are displayed at the Apollo Borough municipal offices and police department and the Apollo Area Historical Society.
The AAHS Museum has a display in honor of Leonard Miller. May we never forget his sacrifice or those others who have laid down their lives while serving as Peace Officers.
Dr. William Kerr remembers Leonard Miller.
Thank you for your sacrifice.
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I was a sophomore in high school at the time of Patrolman Miller’s murder, and I remember hearing about his death on the school bus as I rode to school. He was murdered during a traffic stop alongside of PA Route 66, just across the river from Apollo. I would come to walk this road frequently just a few months later, on my way to work at my first job at Armitage’s Market. Patrolman Miller’s murder during what should have been a simple traffic stop has informed every single one of my many interactions with law enforcement ever since, whether as a driver of a vehicle getting stopped, as a young, stupid kid getting punished for bad behavior, or as an attorney.
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