Rescue helps earn Johnson Dover Police Department honors

atrolman First Class James Johnson is a three-year veteran of the Dover Police Department and the recipient of the department’s 2015 Officer of the Year Award. He is assigned to the Street Crimes Unit and the Special Operations Response Team.   (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

atrolman First Class James Johnson is a three-year veteran of the Dover Police Department and the recipient of the department’s 2015 Officer of the Year Award. He is assigned to the Street Crimes Unit and the Special Operations Response Team. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DOVER — The ultimate reward for decisive action was saving a child’s life.

The award helped earn Dover Police Department 2015 Officer of the Year honors.

Called to the scene of a “subject not breathing,” on June 29 last year, top cop Pfc. James Johnson teamed with Cpl. Mickie Price to provide quick first aid to a 3-year-old on the floor with blue lips; he clearly wouldn’t live long without immediate heroic measures.

The kid’s mom was hysterical, as any would be. Her baby had been born prematurely, and his oxygen machine had malfunctioned,

By Cpl. Johnson’s third or fourth chest compression, the boy began to shake “like a fish out of water does,” he said.

EMS arrived at the Willis Road residence moments later, and rushed the toddler to the hospital for further care; the officers followed along.

The boy made it through the emergency, and reportedly charmed everyone when visiting the Dover PD a couple weeks after the scary scene.

“Seeing his mom’s thankfulness gave me a really good feeling,” said the 28-year-old Pfc. Johnson.

While nothing could top that lifesaving rescue, Pfc. Johnson’s overall outstanding performance provided safety for the entire community throughout the year. Dover PD cited examples when announcing the award:

Dover Police Department 2015 Officer of the Year Patrolman First Class James Johnson and 2015 Civilian of the Year Kelly Morgan will be honored at the Dover PD Spring Promotion and Awards Ceremony

Dover Police Department 2015 Officer of the Year Patrolman First Class James Johnson and 2015 Civilian of the Year Kelly Morgan will be honored at the Dover PD Spring Promotion and Awards Ceremony

• Later, on May 27, the officer of the year worked with his fellow platoon members to track down four suspects in a string of thefts of vehicles. Four victims were located and Cpl. Johnson returned most of the stolen items to them. Cpl. Johnson’s interview was able to gain a confession that solved several other thefts and brought more charges, authorities said.

• Cpl. Johnson apprehended a reported bank robber while heading to the Wells Fargo Bank on June 12, spotting and chasing him down with a short foot pursuit. The man was found with a magazine loaded with .22 caliber rounds and several stolen checks, police said.

• Less than two weeks later, on June 23, Cpl. Johnson stopped a suspicious suspect near Kings and DuPont highways, spoke with him and discovered an active arrest warrant before taking him into custody. A victim’s stolen cell phone, credit cards and vehicle documents were located.

Dover PD Chief Paul Bernat lauded 12 months of effort, commenting that “Pfc. Johnson’s energy, enthusiasm and professionalism are what make him such a valuable police officer and he is also a great mentor to junior officers.

“Pfc. Johnson can always be counted on to set a good example and our future is very bright, with officers like him leading the way.”

When announcing the award, Dover PD cited Cpl. Johnson for “leading his respective shift in reports taken, traffic/criminal arrests and case load.”

Pfc. Johnson, born and raised in Dover, is a member of the Street Crimes Unit and Special Operations Response Team, and was a three-year patrol officer prior to that.

“I try to be proactive in the (SCU),” he said. “It’s not like reporting to a traffic accident. (There’s excitement) in the chase, the mind game, trying to catch the dealer when he’s dirty.”

Also, Cpl. Johnson said he enjoyed the community contact nature of the SCU, connecting with residents in an effort to learn more about each other.

Following 2009 graduation from Delaware State University, where he earned a degree in sports science, Pfc. Johnson worked at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. He had been a standout college student-athlete, earning a 3.75 grade-point average while starting for four years for the baseball team.

‘Surprised’ by honor

Kelly Morgan said she was “surprised in a good way” when Chief Bernat stopped by to congratulate her on the nod for Dover PD 2015 Civilian of the Year.

The South Dakota native works in the records department, primarily keeping track of attendance and payroll for the entire 130-member Dover PD that includes civilians and sworn police officers. The announcement cited the Sunday hours she often spends to stay on top of it all, along with giving up long weekends at times.

“I just want to be accountable to (Dover PD members) and the city,” Mrs. Morgan said with a smile.

“I do their paychecks and can’t mess that up. People want their money.”

Dover PD recognized Kelly Morgan of Magnolia as the 2015 Civilian of the Year having worked for the department for three years, primarily maintaining attendance and payroll in the records department.

Dover PD recognized Kelly Morgan of Magnolia as the 2015 Civilian of the Year having worked for the department for three years, primarily maintaining attendance and payroll in the records department.

Mrs. Morgan, a resident of Magnolia, also manages the ADP time management system daily, along with keeping Delaware Justice Information System information, handles scheduling for officers with court appearances, and assists other departments in handling reports on short notice, Dover PD said.

“Kelly has an excellent relationship with all of her co-workers and never hesitates to assist anyone,” a Dover PD news release read.

“Kelly has also taken the initiative to train new officers and newly promoted supervisors on the ADP time management system and how to keep track of their time cards and time requests.”

Now in her third year with Dover PD, Mrs. Morgan described the city as a “nice, quiet place most of the time.” She’s also lived in worked in Alabama, Illinois, and West Virgina due to her work transfers.

Said Chief Bernat about Mrs. Morgan:

“Kelly Morgan is a solid employee that has made an impressive impact during her three years of employment with the Dover Police Department.

“Kelly has a natural knack to set her supervisors at ease, and is best described as friendly, understanding and compassionate about her work. Kelly is truly deserving of the title ‘Civilian of the Year’ for the Dover Police Department.”

Both Cpl. Johnson and Mrs. Morgan will be honored at the Dover PD Spring Promotion and Awards Ceremony on a day to be announced.

 

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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