Former Beech Grove mayor and police chief Warner Wiley dies

Warner Wiley, a former Beech Grove Mayor and chief of the Beech Grove Police Department, died Sunday, July 12 at St. Paul Hermitage. He was 83. Chief Wiley was born in Beech Grove on June 17, 1937 and was a lifetime citizen of the city. He was a 1955 graduate of Beech Grove High School and received two degrees from the University of Indianapolis in criminal justice. He was also a graduate of the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville.

On Sept. 15, 1957, Wiley joined the BGPD. (Submitted photos)

He served the citizens of Beech Grove for 47 years as a police officer, park board president, city council member and board of public works and safety manager and chief of police and mayor.

On Sept. 15, 1957 he joined the BGPD, retiring as chief of police on April 15, 1979. Wiley oversaw the construction of a new police facility, which opened to law enforcement and the public in September 1974 and worked to achieve national accreditation for the department.

In 2019, the Beech Grove Police Department was renamed the J. Warner Wiley Police Station in his honor.

He was a member of the BGHS Hall of Fame, was a graduate of the FBI National Academy, known as the “West Point” of law enforcement and became the city’s first graduate from that academy. In 1985, Wiley served as the president of the FBI National Academy.

Wiley was elected to the FBINA Executive Board, which represents over 35,000 law enforcement personnel worldwide since its conception in 1935 by J. Edgar Hoover. As president of the board, he coordinated with 16 European countries to establish the European chapter. In October 1984, Wily flew to Munster, Germany to sign the charter, officially creating the European chapter. He received a friendship cup from the King of Norway for his work.

Wiley retired as chief of police on April 15, 1979.

He also received FBINA’s highest award for his dedicated service and commitment to law enforcement from the National Academy’s President and Executive Board. He was awarded lifetime membership in the academy and in the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

In 1974, Wiley was selected to the American Legion’s National Police Hall of Fame, and in 1976, he was listed in the first edition of Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans.

Wiley served 12 years as Beech Grove Mayor.

Wiley received 25 awards, honors and recognitions, including Indiana’s highest award, the Sagamore of the Wabash, from Governor Frank O’Bannon. He met and conversed with four U.S. Presidents: Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

He continued to be active in his community by aiding current Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley in building a new police facility, and in 2019, the Beech Grove Police Department was renamed the J. Warner Wiley Police Station in his honor.

Wiley was chosen as the Lewis-Schmidt American Legion’s Indiana Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 1974.