After 4,500 calls to police, man arrested on harassment charge

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Lewisburg man who applied to be an appointed city councilman last year was arrested Sunday at a gas station where he was picked up on two warrants alleging he made more than 4,500 false calls to police in 2008.

That's more than a dozen a day, alleged to have been placed by Charles Miller, 56, of 442 Haynes St., who's now due in Marshall County General Sessions Court on Jan. 27. Recorded calls to the police department are part of the evidence.

When there was an opening on the Lewisburg City Council last year, Miller was one of the applicants to the City Council, asking the elected leaders to appoint him to fill the vacancy. Alderman Odie Whitehead Jr. represents Miller's ward.

A message left Monday with Miller's 81-year-old mother, Evelyn, resulted in no contact by press-time.

She and her son have heard cars drive by their home at 5th Avenue and Haynes Street near the old Connelly School building, Evelyn Miller said. The noise is from loud motors and/or car radios, she said.

However, Police Chief Chuck Forbis and City Manager Eddie Fuller have explained that police who've responded to the noise complaints, and some who were parked nearby did not heard such noise even as Miller called for police.

Some officers who've responded to the complaints went to the Millers' front door, knocked to speak with Charles Miller, only to have the door slammed in their face, Forbis said. Miller then allegedly complained of police at his door, telling dispatchers to send them away to do their job.

Forbis examined the call history from department records and consulted with City Attorney Bill Haywood and Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard before leading his officers toward prosecution, the chief said.

Fuller said the city anticipates the possibility that Miller wants to sue the city.

While the mathematical average of 4,500 calls last year is less than 13 per day, there were dys with more, as indicated by Officer Denise Savage's summary in the arrest warrant aleging false reports to police, a felony charge.

Miller made 48 reports to police dispatchers on New Year's Eve last month when Miller knew and Savage could determine that the incidents of noise did not occur, according to the officer's sworn statement to Circuit Court Clerk Evelyn Brandon Foster on Friday.

"Savage was present across the street (from the Miller's home) for 17 of the reports," th policewoman stated. "I did not observe any loud disruptive noises from vehicles or in the area.

"Offender's actions have served to interrupt my patrol and answering calls for assistance from citizens in Lewisburg," Savage said.

Forbis said calls from Miller have been received "during real emergencies."

A second charge alleging Miller made harassing calls is a misdemeanor.

"Offender is hostile, abusive and screams at whoever answers the phone," according to an incident report filed at Police Headquarters. "On duty and involved with responding to offender's reports this day [New Year's Eve, included] ...Sgt. Jerry Broyles, 911 communications supervisor Alissa Kruger, 911 communications dispatchers Terri Bailey and Adam Johnson."

Miller was arrested at approximately 1:15 p.m. Sunday while he was at a gas station in town, Forbis said.

"In my nearly 30 years of experience," the police chief said, "I've never had one (person) to call as much as this one does... [and] I supervised a communications center in Florida for two years, so I've got a little experience in this."

The call center Forbis supervised received more than 100,000 calls a year. It was not immediately known how man calls Lewisburg's dispatch center receives annually.

Staff reporter Karen Hall contributed to this report.