CHARLESTON - After a month on the job as Charleston's new police chief, Paul A. Johnson said things are running smoothly and morale is good.
"The officers are eager to get out and work cases, work investigations. I believe things have really picked up here at the Charleston Department of Public Safety," Johnson said.
Johnson first served as interim director for the department during the city's interview process while City Manager David Brewer considered candidates with help from Mayor James Conn and City Attorney Michael O'Rourke.
"We all felt Paul Johnson was perfectly capable of doing the job and agreed he was qualified not only to be the interim director but to take the job on a permanent basis," said Brewer.
A native of Scott County and a Scott County Central High School graduate, Johnson graduated from the Southeast Missouri State University Law Enforcement Academy in May 1993. He began his career in the Mississippi County Sheriff's Reserve under Sheriff Larry Turley.
In 1994, he was hired by Scott County Sheriff Bill Ferrell as a jailer-dispatcher, working his way up to be a road officer and investigator.
"In January of 2000 I came to work here under the supervision of Richard Couch as a detective for the Charleston Department of Public Safety."
As Charleston's police chief, Johnson said he has been making efforts to get out into the community, "to bring back that trust of the police department."
During his administration, Johnson intends "to rebuild the rapport of the Charleston Department of Public Safety with the citizens of Charleston."
Johnson said he has plans for the department and the community including starting a neighborhood watch program next month. "That was one of the reasons I got into law enforcement, was to some day be in a command position for a department or a county."