CHICAGO (CBS) – Michael Miller is not a police officer anymore, but authorities say he pretended to be one in hopes of getting to a judge.
Miller, 38, used to be a Ford Heights police officer, and was convicted in 2003 of using his police position to shake down drug dealers for money. He was paroled from prison on March 25 after serving half of his 12-year sentence, and three days later tried to convince authorities at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse that he was still a police officer, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s office.
Authorities say Miller tried to get into the chambers of a judge at the courthouse by telling a sheriff’s deputy he was an Illinois State Police trooper and had been asked to report to the judge’s chambers when he was released from prison.
He also claimed to be a Harvey police officer, and said he needed to speak to a judge about getting his badge and gun back. But when the sheriff’s officer stepped away to call for backup, Miller quickly left, according to the sheriff’s office.
Two days later, Miller came back to the Criminal Courthouse and went to the office of an assistant state’s attorney. This time, he claimed to a receptionist he was a Cook County sheriff’s police officer, and said he needed to get his credentials, according to the sheriff’s office.
He told another receptionist he was with the Illinois State Police, then said again he was with the Sheriff’s office, then said he was with the State’s Attorney’s office. The concerned receptionist asked for an investigator to talk to Miller, who said he needed paperwork so he could retire, according to the sheriff’s office.
Miller also claimed to the investigator that he was a member of the sheriff’s police, and wanted a post in the Special Operations Unit, according to the sheriff’s office. When the investigator said he couldn’t help, Miller walked off.
On April 1, sheriff’s police and other law enforcement agencies arrested Miller, who had an outstanding parole warrant for failing to report to his probation officer. He was taken into custody in the 7100 block of South Indiana Avenue.
Miller, who had been staying in the 1400 block of South Canal Street – the block where the Pacific Garden Mission shelter is located – is now back at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet.
He is set for a new bond hearing on March 30 back at the Criminal Courthouse.
The Ford Heights Police Department, of which Miller really was a member at one time, was disbanded in 2008. Its force of 16 officers was reduced to zero over a period of a bout a year because the village couldn’t afford to pay them.
Cook County sheriff’s office now handle police patrols in Ford Heights, but the closure of its police department led to other problems, such as a cache of weapons and evidence from various crimes – including seven moldy sexual assault kits – that were left abandoned until sheriff’s police found them more than a year later.