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Day in the Life: SPD Chief Kelley Johnson


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Led by Chief Kelley Johnson, the Sylacauga Police Department keeps watch over the city. The definition of the word chief is considered to be ruler or leader. While Johnson does not “rule” over his officers, he claims he does his best to lead in the right direction.

Johnson’s responsibilities vary from day-to-day with some days more exciting than others. Some are filled with paperwork; some filled with action. But what does a typical day for the Sylacauga police chief look like? sat down with Johnson taking an in-depth look at a day in his life.

The chief wakes up at his home just outside of Rockford every morning at 5:45 and gets ready for work. The chief said he very rarely eats breakfast before leaving for work which allows him to quickly get out of the door. He arrives to City Hall at or before 7:00 a.m. On the administration side, he is normally the first one in the office. He opens the administration division, turns the lights on, and conducts a walk through of the department to check the building and offices, making sure they are presentable.

After getting settled in his own office, the chief turns his attention to his computer just after 7. He checks and returns messages and emails from the night before. Johnson said he tries to return every call, message, or email as soon as he gets in the office every morning, ensuring he is in the loop regarding business in the city.

Funneling through police and arrest reports consume a large portion of his morning. Johnson likes to know who has been arrested, what has happened, and makes sure everything has been done according to the law. He is also briefed daily by his Captain Rondell Muse and other divisions. “I want to know everything that happens in my department,” Johnson said. “I try to get briefed in all divisions to keep up with the work of the department.”

Johnson also spends time with the investigations division most mornings. He said it is critical that he is on the same page with his investigators especially on court days or when investigators are bearing down on closing a case.

His mornings are geared towards administrative and CEO-like duties, but that changes after taking a lunch break at SPD’s favorite spot. “Our lunch go-to spot in town is Burger King,” John said. “We go there a lot. The atmosphere is great and Burger King does a lot for the police department.” The chief told the staff is wonderful, and he goes there so much he no longer has to verbally order. Workers behind the counter already know what he wants from the menu.

After lunch Johnson, if he has completed his normal morning duties, he turns back the clock, takes a ride down memory lane, and transforms himself into a patrol officer. He said he will ride and answer calls, and go on ride-a-longs with investigators. “I like policing and have to do a little police work. I can’t get out of the job of being a police officer,” he explained. “Policing is what makes me want to get up and come to work everyday. I love it.”

After an afternoon of policing, his day winds down around or just after 5 p.m. But Johnson’s work day does not stop there. This time of year is grass-cutting season, and Johnson owns and operates a small lawn maintenance business on the side. After work, he will usually go home, load up the mowers and equipment and cut grass until dark.

When the sun sets, dinner time rolls around for the chief. This, he says, is a special part in his day. It is an opportunity to wind down and spend time with his wife Misty. Following dinner, Misty and Kelley enjoy some quality time hanging out watching their favorite TV shows. Ironically enough, Johnson does not get away from police work at home. He said he watches Law and Order: SVU and other police series. His TV obsession, however, does not deal with police work. Although Sunday is not part of a typical day, he said he never misses an episode of The Walking Dead.

After an hour or so of catching up on TV shows and spending quality time with his wife, the chief heads off to bed at 10:00, and rests for the coming day.

Jeremy Law for | © 2017, City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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