A former Fort Valley police officer saw an attractive woman washing her sport utility vehicle at a car wash, and what he did next cost him his job and his Georgia law enforcement certification, according to a GBI investigative file.
Vet Miller, 45, who was an investigator for the Fort Valley Police Department at the time, illegally used his position to access the woman’s motor vehicle registration information, which he then used to find her on Facebook, documents show.
Miller, of Warner Robins, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of identification documents, a misdemeanor, July 18 in Peach County Superior Court as part of a pretrial diversion agreement.
The agreement included the surrender of his Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council certification required to be a law enforcement officer in the state.
Miller also was placed on probation for one year and ordered not to have any contact with the victim. Upon successful completion of his pretrial diversion, the record of his arrest will be restricted except for law enforcement and prosecutor inquiries, according to a court order.
Miller declined comment, and his attorney, Jeff Lasseter, did not return phone calls for comment.
The GBI file, obtained by The Telegraph under the state’s open records law, details the case. POST also investigated.
On July 6, 2017, a woman filed a report with the Warner Robins Police Department that she was being stalked by Miller.
The woman said she received a message on Facebook from Miller that said he thought she was pretty and that she did a good job washing her vehicle, according to the case file.
She told police she asked Miller how he was able to find her on Facebook, and he responded, “Let(‘s) just say my profession allow(s) me to find anybody, especially if they spark my interest.”
The woman said she had never met Miller, did not speak to him at the car wash and did not give him her personal information. She said she learned Miller was a law enforcement officer and suspected he may have run her tag to obtain her information.
The GBI was asked to investigate because Miller was alleged to have misused his authority to access the Georgia Crime Information Center. GCIC is a database used by law enforcement that includes driver and vehicle information.
Miller admitted to a GBI agent to having the administrative assistant for the Peach County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit, which Miller was assigned to at the time, access GCIC to obtain the woman’s information, according to the case file.
Miller told the agent that he used the information to contact the woman on Facebook and send her a friend request. The woman told the agent she had accepted Miller’s friend request because they had mutual friends.
Miller said they chatted using Facebook Messenger until the woman learned that he was married, according to the case file. Miller told the agent he was sorry for what he had done and knew he should not have used GCIC other than when related to a case.
The woman “was extremely upset at the fact that she believed that Miller illegally obtained her vehicle information by abusing his authority,” the agent said in a case file report. The information included her name and home address.
Miller resigned from the Fort Valley Police Department Jan. 8. Five months later, on May 31, Miller voluntarily surrendered his state certification to POST — with his attorney noting the pending pretrial diversion in a letter to the council.
Nearly one year after the initial complaint, the GBI arrested Miller on July 6 on one count of unlawful possession of identification documents.
“None of us are above the law,” Fort Valley Public Safety Director Lawrence Spurgeon said. “We handled it in a way that we felt was appropriate by letting an outside agency do our investigating through a neutral, objective investigation.
“And we’ll stand by their findings.”
During Miller’s law enforcement career, he was an investigator for the Macon Judicial Circuit, a sergeant with Fort Valley police, a Houston County sheriff’s deputy and a Perry police officer. He started as a Fort Valley police officer in February 1996, having worked for the agency on three separate occasions during his career.