Officer T.J. calling it quits after 33 years, but may return to D.A.R.E.
If you were a fifth-grader in Poland schools sometime in the last 20 years, chances are you know township Patrolman Tom Johnson.
You probably know him simply as “Officer T.J.”
That’s what Johnson has encouraged kids to call him during the 20 years he’s led the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, a job that put him in the schools 17 weeks each year.
Now, after 33 years with the township police department, Johnson plans to retire at the end of this year. Although plans for the D.A.R.E. program after this year have yet to be finalized, Johnson said he would consider coming back and teaching it after he retires.
It’s that kind of commitment to the job that his colleagues will miss.
“He fixes our computers. He fixes cars. He changes headlights,” said township Police Chief Brian Goodin,
The two have worked together for much of their careers. Johnson took over the D.A.R.E. program from Goodin in 1997.
Goodin noted that while working in schools is not for every police officer, Johnson is “one of those guys that fit the bill.”
“This was something he always had a passion for,” he said.
“I think working with the kids two days a week kind of centers me,” said Johnson.
Read more about him in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.