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Former police chief found dead of drug overdose
'Nice guy' alleged to have robbed pharmacy for OxyContinBy MARK GRAY
Ogden Standard-Examiner
Updated: 12:40 p.m. ET May 11, 2004May 11 - RIVERDALE, Utah -- A beloved former police chief believed to have robbed or attempted to rob pharmacies in Weber and Davis counties over the weekend was found dead Monday after he overdosed on the pills he snatched.

The accusations and eventual death of Dave Miner, a former Harrisville Police acting chief and assistant chief, has left many justice officials incredulous, most calling him "professional."

"He was such a nice guy, very sharp, very glib, very knowledgeable, very capable," said Harrisville Police Chief Max Jackson, who worked with Miner for years. "This is one of the worst travesties I can think of. The thing that's so tragic here is how (addiction) can take over someone's life."

On Monday, police responded to an Ogden home in the 800 block of 37th Street to find Miner's body lifeless, along with three bottles of OxyContin, a high-strength painkiller, and the apparent note he gave to the pharmacists in the robberies. It's unknown whether the death was accidental or suicide.

Riverdale Police Lt. Paige Ansley would not release how many of the pills Miner, 38, ingested, but she said one of the bottles was empty.

The pills are believed to have been taken in a robbery at a Riverdale ShopKo around 5 p.m. Sunday in which Miner reportedly produced a note demanding OxyContin while implying he had a gun.

It's believed Miner attempted a robbery using a note at a Layton Albertson's Saturday afternoon, but received nothing from the pharmacist, who didn't believe he actually had a gun, Layton Police Lt. Kevin Allred said.

Police, however, had no idea Miner was a suspect until a friend notified them of Miner's body. Detectives found the robbery note while inside the home.

Most industry officials said Miner's fairly recent battle with addiction has been well-documented, even causing him to resign from his detective position with Harrisville in September 2002.

An officer since 1988, Miner was appointed acting chief of Harrisville in 1994 when then-chief Tom Hill resigned. He held that position until March 1995 when Jackson took over, and appointed Miner his assistant chief, the same position he held under Hill. In 1996, Miner moved to Seattle to take a job in private security. He returned to Harrisville in 2000 and was hired as a patrolman before finally resigning. He also worked short stints with Pleasant View Police and the Weber County Sheriff's Office.

Since resigning, the Davis High School graduate, who still has family in Davis County, worked as a bouncer at an Ogden nightclub.

"He's been trying to get his life back in order," Jackson said. "He was in (Alcoholics Anonymous) and (Narcotics Anonymous)."

Riverdale police secretary Camille Tesch, who has known Miner for about 15 years, said he was always smiling and they would often play practical jokes on each other.

"He was the kind of guy who would do anything for you."

Chris Zimmerman, Weber County Sheriff's chief deputy, said he was a "professional, neat guy."

"Everybody remembers him," said Zimmerman, who has also served as the Roy police chief. "He never gave anyone problems. He was a hard worker; just a great guy. I never thought things were so bad for him that he would be involved in this. Nobody can believe it."

It's unknown when Miner became dependent on painkillers, but some suspect he may have began using them when a family member was prescribed pills after being diagnosed with cancer. OxyContin is often given to cancer patients experiencing chronic pain.

Local defense attorney Roy Cole, who represented Miner on current charges of domestic violence and violating a protective order, said, "I knew he was hurting, but I didn't know it was this bad.

"He was one of the best cops I've ever seen. Ask any defense attorney and they'll say the same. He was a neat guy, always trying to do the best for other people, but he always had some heavy-duty ghosts dogging him.

"It's sad to see him sink that low."

Jackson said he was only slightly surprised when he heard about the incident.

"I don't trust addiction, so I can't say I'm shocked," he said.
 
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