By REBECCA BRIA firstname.lastname@example.org
Police work was something Wayman Miers never thought he would do.
Miers‚?? brother, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Johnson Miers, now retired, urged his brother to also become a state trooper back in the early 1970s. But Wayman didn‚??t listen.
‚??I kept saying to him, ‚??What do I want to do that for?‚??‚?Ě Miers said. ‚??Then when I finally got into it, I knew that‚??s what I‚??m supposed to do. That was my calling.‚?Ě
Miers became a police officer in 1981 at the age of 34 when he was laid off from Luzerne Products in Plains Township after working for 17 years as a foreman.
Miers, 58, of Dallas, retired from the Dallas Township Police Department on Sept. 23 after having served as a full-time officer for the department since January 1987.
When Miers first joined the police department, his boss was his older brother, Carl, Dallas Township Chief of Police at the time.
‚??He taught me a lot of stuff,‚?Ě Wayman said of Carl. ‚??Not what you learn in the book, but what you learn on the road in real life. Book work and being out on the road are two completely different things‚?¶.‚?Ě
Many other members of the Miers family have also served in law enforcement. Their grandfather, Walter Besecker, was a game warden, they have cousins who serve as police offices in Dupont Borough and a nephew is a sergeant in the Virginia State Police.
Miers and his wife, Jane, have two grown daughters, Jennifer, who works as a dispatcher for Luzerne County 911, and Julie, a registered nurse.
Miers has many memories from his career, but especially remembers saving someone‚??s life. Miers responded to the home of Martin Barry who was choking on a pork chop bone, performed first aid and was able to dislodge the bone.
‚??Anytime that I could help anybody, no matter what the situation was, I felt good about,‚?Ě Miers said.
Another instance that Miers will never forget is when he was shot. He and former Dallas Borough Police Officer James Tupper, now a district judge, entered the Dallas Township Police Department around 4 a.m. on June 7, 1986. The officers had just returned from a fatal traffic accident on Route 415 in the borough‚??s territory. That‚??s when Donald Kelly came in.
‚??He walked into the station and we didn‚??t see the handgun because he‚??s a shorter man and the counter was higher,‚?Ě Miers said. ‚??He drew down on us. He wanted my brother (Chief of Police Carl Miers) and Elliot Ide because they had arrested him for a DUI and he was upset that it was ruining his life, so he really didn‚??t want Tupper or me, but we were there.‚?Ě
Miers and Tupper tried to talk Kelly into putting down his gun. Kelly ordered the officers to drop their guns and they refused. When he tried to separate Tupper and Miers and lunged at them, Tupper threw his coffee in Kelly‚??s face. Kelly shot Tupper and the bullet went through the right side of his groin, passed through his left leg and lodged into his left ankle. Miers struggled with Kelly for the gun and Kelly shot him in the left calf.
Phyllis Walter, the daughter of Dallas Township supervisor Phil Walter, was the dispatcher at the time and alerted the other officers of the incident by turning on a microphone.
‚??It changed my outlook not to trust people more than I used to,‚?Ě Miers said of the incident. ‚??But it just forced me into being more aware of all the danger. You hear about it, but you never think that‚??s going to happen to me. That‚??s a million in one shot. My millionth shot came up first.‚?Ě
There was standing room only at the board of supervisors meeting on Oct. 6 as township officials, police and others gathered to honor Miers. The supervisors read a proclamation recognizing Miers‚?? service to the citizens of the township and Chief of Police Robert Jolley presented him with a gold retirement badge.