The Dover Police Department swore in its 15th police chief in its 95th year of serving the City of Dover during a ceremony on Thursday evening in the Chief James L. Hutchison Public Assembly Room at the Dover Police Department.
Chief Thomas A. Johnson, Jr. took the Oath of Office with Mayor Robin R. Christiansen as his wife, Janice Johnson, held the same bible that has been used to swear in each officer of the Dover Police Department. After taking the Oath of Office, Chief Johnson received a standing ovation from the crowd that gathered to recognize the historic occasion.
Chief Johnson is only the second police chief in department history to be hired from outside the ranks of the department, with the last being on May 16, 1949, when Mayor William J. Storey recruited James E. Turner Sr., a Major with the Delaware State Police, to serve as the Chief of Police; a position he held for over 18 years.
Chief 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, further stating:
“This is an incredible moment in my life. 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.”
Chief Johnson later commented on what members of the Dover Police Department can expect during his tenure as Chief of Police:
“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 one-hundred percent 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.”
Thomas Johnson, Jr. began his career in law enforcement as a Patrol Officer with the Upper Darby Police Department in May of 1996. He advanced to Criminal Investigator and then Sergeant in the Detective Division for five years leading into his promotion to Lieutenant in 2007. After five years of supervising a uniform patrol platoon, Johnson earned a promotion to Captain in 2012. In February of 2020, Johnson retired as a Captain with the Upper Darby Police Department to accept the Police Chief position with the Dover Police Department.
During his career with the Upper Darby Police Department Chief Johnson served in the Patrol Unit, Detective Division, Administrative Division, and the Division of Training and Professional Standards.
Chief Johnson is cross-trained as a firefighter and paramedic and is a 35-year volunteer with the East Lansdowne Fire Department.
Chief Johnson has an undergraduate degree in Emergency Management and Planning from Delaware County Community College and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Administration from Neumann University.
His Master’s is in Law Enforcement & Public Safety Leadership from the University of San Diego.
He is a graduate of Penn State University’s Police Executive Development program, the FBI Inter-County Detective School, the National Fire Academy Fire and Arson program and, most recently, the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.
Over the course of his career, Chief Johnson has received more than 25 department commendations with the Upper Darby Police Department. He is a two-time recipient of the Mayor’s Service Award and was recognized by the Upper Darby Marine Corps League as their 2001 Officer of the Year. The Delaware County Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving has twice recognized Chief Johnson as a top DUI enforcer.
Source: Dover Police Department