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Former Dumfries police Chief Calvin Johnson dies following Dec. 1 crash

December 19, 2017 | Virginia News

News Image Calvin L. Johnson, the first black police officer with the Prince William Police department and a long-serving Dumfries police chief, died Dec. 18.

Johnson, 68, was in a car accident Dec. 1 and had remained in the hospital until his death.

In the early 1970s when Johnson joined the county police force, he “was quickly accepted by his fellow officers and gained a positive reputation for his policing abilities and easy going personality,” said retired Prince William Police Chief Charlie T. Deane. “He was well respected by colleagues and the community. In matters of race he was unbiased and fair to all.

“I also worked with Chief Johnson as a fellow police chief all of the years that he was Dumfries chief of police. We always enjoyed a cordial work and personal relationship. I am saddened by his death,” Deane said.

Johnson took a job with Dumfries in 1983 where he served as a police officer, police captain, acting police chief and eventually police chief, a position he maintained for 15 years until his retirement in 2010.

In May, the Dumfries Town Council commended Johnson for his service and this fall, it named its new police department building after him.

MEMORIAL SERVICES

A memorial service/viewing will take place at Covenant Funeral Home 1310 Courthouse Road in Stafford,  Thursday, Dec. 21 from 6-8 p.m.

Services will be held at First Mount Zion 16622 Dumfries Road, Dumfries on Friday, Dec. 22 from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Immediately following the service a motorcade will proceed to the Quantico National Cemetery 18424 Joplin Road, Triangle.

“In serving the town of Dumfries, he was committed to the department’s continued and efficient operation, for the enforcement of rules and regulations, developing policies and initiatives that would shape the future growth of the town,” the proclamation reads in part.

“We dedicated the building to him near the end. Oh my goodness, he was so proud,” said Dumfries Vice Mayor Cliff Brewer. “He had all of his family there, kids, grandkids. The place was full. He was there telling stories, giving advice to the new chief.”

Brian Fields is a Dumfries Town Councilman and a former Dumfries officer who worked for Johnson.

“He was my first chief when I came to Dumfries, we remained friends ever since,” Fields said. “The person I became in the community and on the town council, I learned that from him. The community loved him and he was always out in the community. I wanted to be like him. He was in my wedding. A lot of things I did or was thinking of doing, I would run them by him. He was a great mentor.

“I haven’t seen many people who have accomplished what he did,” Fields said.

Dumfries Town Councilwoman Gwen Washington has known Johnson not only during her time on the council but also during the many years her husband served on the council.

“It is so sad. I’m just glad that we named the police department after him and they wanted him to be the grand marshal of the Christmas Parade,” Washington said. Johnson was unable to be in the parade because he was in the hospital.

“He was a good guy. He had an open-door policy. You could go down and talk to him about anything at any time,” she said. “He knew a lot of people. He was like the hometown guy who made good.”

“A lot of people looked up to him and he was able to find out a lot of things that were going on,” she said.

Johnson was a lifelong Prince William County resident.

“He earned the respect of the community as well as everyone who worked alongside of him,” said Cathy Holtzlander who worked at the Dumfries Town Hall and with Johnson for 10 years. “I will always remember the way his infectious laughter would fill the halls of town hall; so much so, that oftentimes you’d see Calvin wiping a tear from his eye from laughing so hard.

“Calvin also had an amazing rapport with children. Oftentimes parents would bring their children in to talk with the chief when they were having difficulties at home or school. I was one of those parents. I brought my youngest son in to talk to Calvin when he was having issues at school,” she said. “Leave it to Calvin to instill a few words of wisdom to help kids find the right path. He truly blessed many families’ lives by just being himself; a warm, tenderhearted man, who made a big difference in a little town.”