The N.L. police officer who kept traffic moving in downtown St. John's
'The faster you move, the faster traffic will go,' Frank Miller told CBC in 1988
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary's Frank Miller didn't want traffic to come to a standstill, which explained his colourful, characteristic and emphatic style of directing it.
In August 1988, The National profiled the man whose rapid, sweeping hand motions had kept traffic flowing at the intersection of Prescott and Duckworth streets in downtown St. John's for nearly a decade.
"The faster you move, the faster traffic will go and I've proven that, right?" said Miller, when talking about his technique with CBC News.
"And you exaggerate your movements and it seems to work every time."
Miller was part of a tradition of officers directing traffic at that intersection for a half-century. The practice continued through the 1980s, despite the availability of automatic traffic lights.
Traffic lights wouldn't work
"There's [an officer] here only because the city says there's too much traffic on the steep, short hill coming up from the waterfront for [traffic] lights to handle properly," the CBC's Brian DuBreuil explained to viewers on The National.
Miller's antics seemed to put a smile on the face of most people The National captured on camera, whether they were driving by or merely observing the scene from the sidewalk.
Some drivers even had brief chats with the traffic conductor or asked him for directions.
DuBreuil said most police officers who partnered with Miller for traffic duty tended to transfer to other assignments after a short time.
But Miller was happy where he was, working the intersection he'd then been stationed at for eight years.
"I mean, there's a job for every man," Miller said. "Why quit and do something that you don't want to be doing if you enjoy what you're doing?"
Even the premier knew him
Miller would keep at it until 1991, when he retired.
His last day was an occasion, with many people stopping by to say farewell, including Premier Clyde Wells.
"I wanted to say good luck in your retirement," the premier said, after driving up to chat briefly with Miller while he was standing in the intersection.
In a recent interview with the Telegram newspaper, Miller recalled his days on the traffic beat fondly.
"I'd come back tomorrow if they wanted me to," he told the newspaper, adding that he still had his uniform from his working days.