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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Trying to make a difference

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Deputy Eddie Johnson
Keeping the community safe is what the Oregon County Sheriff's Department is about. Through the first few articles of this series, many readers have learned that some of the police officers with the sheriff's department always had the occupation of being a cop in the back of their minds since they were children, but there are times when it takes a bit of encouragement for a person to seriously consider it.

Sheriff's Deputy Eddie Johnson was one of those people. Johnson said becoming a police officer was "just one of those spur-of-the-moment deals."

"Actually, I wanted to be a resource officer at one of the schools. But, I got to working the road, and I got to where I started liking it," Johnson said.

Before graduating from the academy and becoming a police officer, Johnson was a custodian for Alton Schools for about 10 years.

"I had no clue what this job (as police officer) was all about until I decided to do it," Johnson said.

He said he started getting interested in becoming a police officer through his then-brother-in-law who was a chief of police.

Johnson said one of the former chief deputies came to the school and started talking with him about what being a police officer is like. "I just got interested," Johnson said. "He thought I might make a good officer some day. He said I was pretty good with working with people."

"I've got kids, and I wanted to make our community safer and try to make a difference," Johnson said.

Sometime after he graduated from the police academy at West Plains, he was a city officer for the city of Thayer.

One day, Johnson said, he received a phone call from then-Chief Deputy Eric King. King asked Johnson if he would be interested in an open position at the sheriff's department. Johnson has now worked a little over three years at the department. "I enjoy the job and enjoy helping people," Johnson said.

"I work the road and work cases, pretty much," Johnson said.

Training is an important part of any police officer's background. "I like all the training because there's lots of things we need to know and keep in the back of our minds at all times," Johnson said.

He said he enjoys his investigation work in trying to track down the bad guys and get them off the streets. Johnson said he investigates a large range of cases, but he gets many thefts. He said anything from guns to TVs to chain saws are stolen because they are easy to pawn or sell.

Johnson explained how he investigates a theft. "We go to the caller's house. We get a statement from them," he said. Johnson also said he collects all other relevant information including what has been stolen and names or descriptions of anyone who might have been snooping around the property.

"We live in a small community. It's not like the big crime in the cities," Johnson said.

"But there's enough to keep you (Johnson) busy," Johnson's wife, Venita said.

"He's a very, very dedicated officer. Dedicated to his job and to his department," Venita said.

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