Profile: Emmitt Johnson Jr.
Since Officer Emmitt Johnson Jr. was a boy, he had a career in mind. Fueled by stories of his own family members already serving to uphold the law, Johnson said he was fascinated with police work from the beginning.
"It was just something I wanted to do," he said.
As an MSU student, the Columbus native majored in criminology. He worked through college, employed at Dollar General—a job that gave him a good bit of experience in dealing with the public. But he also jumped at the opportunity to do an internship that would give him relevant police experience.
He interned for MSU Police Chief Georgia Lindley as an undergraduate. During that time, he did rotations in dispatch, investigation and patrol. After graduating, he continued at Dollar General in a management position until he received a call from the Brooksville Police Department offering him a job and a sponsorship for his enrollment at the Police Academy in Moorhead. He was ready.
Some say the best way to learn to swim is by diving in, and for Johnson, his start on the police force had a similar beginning. On his first day on duty alone, Johnson's first stop was of four men suspected of strong-arm robbery. Two of the suspects abandoned the car, fleeing on foot. He said the experience was memorable, especially since it was his first stop and he had not so much as issued a traffic citation before. But, his persistence over the next several days paid off and led to the arrests of each suspect.
Johnson said he believes in approaching police work in an ethical manner, always maintaining integrity and professionalism and avoiding any hint of arrogance.
"I try to convey a warm mentality, but I'm going to do my job, and I don't get intimidated. If I've got to stand up to Goliath, then I've got to stand up to him," he said.
"Most people, if they realize that you are trying to do your job well, they will help you," he added.
Johnson joined the MSU Police Department in late 2011. Serving at his alma mater, Johnson said he is enjoying the campus environment.
"I make it my business to patrol campus all the time, and if you look around, you're almost always going to see one of us nearby. I think it makes students more comfortable to know that we are never far," he said.
Johnson said great colleagues and great leadership within the Police Department make his work very enjoyable, but the number one thing that motivates him on a daily basis is helping others. His family—the same people who inspired him from the beginning—continue to encourage and support him now, especially his mother, he said.
"My mother has been behind me 100 percent. She still calls me and reminds me to be safe, but she knows I'm passionate about my job," Johnson said. "I really do love my work."
Next week … Cody McClanahan !