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Dover police welcome new chief

Delaware News Desk
Dover Post
Dover Post

The Dover Police Department swore in its 15th police chief during a ceremony the evening of Feb. 13 in the Chief James L. Hutchison Public Assembly Room at the department.

Chief Thomas A. Johnson Jr. took the oath of office from Mayor Robin R. Christiansen. His wife, Janice Johnson, held the Bible that has been used to swear in each officer throughout the department’s 95-year history.

After taking the oath of office, Johnson received a standing ovation from the crowd that gathered to recognize the occasion. Johnson is only the second chief in department history to be hired from outside the ranks. The last was James E. Turner Sr., a major with the Delaware State Police, who held the position for 18 years.

Johnson thanked many in his speech, including his family, friends, and colleagues from the Upper Darby Police Department for helping him reach this milestone in his career of public service.

“This is an incredible moment in my life,” Johnson said. “The list of folks that I need to say ‘thank you’ to is impossible for me to accomplish in just one moment at one podium. Someone who has been in my position said, ‘Take a moment to try and make eye contact with everybody because there’s only one of these and you’ve got to try to absorb it.’ I wish you could see what I see right now, because I see quality, I see service, I see dedication, I see commitment, I see family, I see all the things that anybody with any common sense would want to be around.”

Johnson later commented on what the department can expect during his tenure.

“Some folks are kind of curious what they can expect. The short answer that I can give you is you can expect my very best. I will be 100% focused on taking what I already know is an incredible organization and trying to figure out a way to make it even better. The bar has been set high. I will lead. I will make decisions. But everybody that comes into contact with me will know a couple of things: that there will always be honor around everything that I do and everything that we do, there will always be just actions and just decisions, there will be fairness and there will be a positive, forward-looking culture to be a part of if you choose to walk through those doors of the Dover Police Department and jump on board.”