Meet Dover's new police chief
As Mayor Robin Christiansen introduced new Dover Police Chief Thomas Johnson in a press conference Jan. 14, he said Johnson stood out from the 22 nationwide candidates for his leadership and experience in a community like Dover.
“The demographics of the community where he served in the Upper Darby Police Department were similar to Dover’s,” Christiansen said. “While it doesn’t have a rural aspect to it, it’s basically a suburban bedroom community, which is basically what the city of Dover is.”
Johnson agreed that his 24 years of experience in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, will help with his transition into the Dover Police Department. “It’s a distinct advantage,” he said.
Johnson said he will focus on building relationships early on.
“One of my main priorities in my first few weeks is establishing and reconnecting with the stakeholders and the folks in Dover that are used to having a relationship and a rapport with the chief of police and with that office and with the police department,” Johnson said. “Everybody that has a passion, like my own, to make sure that the Dover police department and the greater Dover community is successful, I’m going to have time for them.”
While Johnson has not been fully briefed about the recent spur of shootings, he said he read about and commends the Dover Police Department’s response and ability to work with multiple agencies.
“I was very encouraged to see how responsive the department was,” he said. “It might have seemed, in some eyes, that it might have taken a little while for definitive action. But, if you understand policing and if you understand some of the challenges that are faced when you are going to go out and take bold action to send a message to people that would bring violence or harm to a community, that takes a little bit of planning, that takes a little bit of preparation.”
The new chief attended the press conference with his wife, daughter, mother, brother and sister-in-law. City council confirmed Johnson as chief Jan. 13, and he will start in early February, Christiansen said.
Johnson thanked Deputy Chief Maj. Tim Stump for continuing as acting chief in the meantime.
“His decision to stay for as long as he did and provide the department stability and leadership, and then staying even longer to allow me to assimilate much more efficiently and become comfortable in my role before he moves on with his life’s plan: You can’t put a price tag on that,” Johnson said.