Lt. Chris Johnson talks about his campaign for Morgan County Sheriff

By Blake Schnitker on December 4 at 12:45pm

Last week, we previewed one of the two candidates running for Morgan County Sheriff, and now it’s time for part two of those previews.

Morgan County Chief Deputy Mike Carmody, who spoke with last week, will take on Lieutenant Chris Johnson in the race to fill the seat left vacant by the pending retirement of Sheriff Randy Duvendack. Johnson is a Command Officer with the Jacksonville Police Lieutenant with 13 years experience with the local law enforcement agency, and 24 years overall. He even started his career at the Morgan County jail.

Johnson was featured on today’s AM Conversation, where he answered the basic question of why he’s chosen to run.

“Going back to my background as a farmer’s son, you look at what a farmer does for the community, he works the land, he raises children, he makes things better for the community and the environment than what he was brought into. I believe it’s going to be my job to work with that next generation of police officer, the same way I’ve done with the Jacksonville Police Department, to make them better officers, to give a better product to this community. And I believe it’s a great opportunity right now with Sheriff Duvendack retiring, and I’m going to give it my best shot,” says Johnson.

Despite the fact that Johnson would be coming over from the police department, he says that, if elected, he doesn’t plan on implementing any drastic changes to the way the Sheriff’s Office operates.

“I don’t think it’s changes, I think it’s more of an ideology. Every person is different, every supervisor is different. There’s a fear that, me being an outside guy, I’m going to come in and fire everybody and that’s not possible, and I want to get that out there that that is not going to happen. My ideology of doing things is a hard working mentality, it’s a community-oriented mentality, and that’s what I want to instill in all of the officers,” Johnson explains.

As for the some of the changes Johnson does hope to potentially implement deal with drug abuse and mental illness, issues that the detention facility faces on a daily basis.

“Training not only for the patrol officers, but for the jailers as well. I believe that training impacts the officers so much, especially in today’s law enforcement. So I want the correctional officers to have a little better training as well. One of the particular items I want to see them trained and certified in is crisis intervention training, and that’s dealing with mental illness. Mental illness, I think, and drug addiction go hand-in-hand, if you don’t treat one, the other one is going to be more prevalent. So that’s what I think, in the role of law enforcement officer, we need to be able to identify these things and get them pointed in the right direction for that treatment,” says Johnson

Lieutenant Johnson says he believes the Sheriff’s Office needs 24-hour patrols, and if elected, he hopes to balance the roles of managing the detention facility and enforcing the law. While he says there is already a strong relationship between the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and Jacksonville Police Department, Johnson believes that relationship would be strengthened even more if her were elected.

To hear more from Lieutenant Johnson and his campaign for Morgan County Sheriff, listen to our full interview with Johnson in our AM Conversation under out “Newscasts” tab.