Police chief faces vital challenges

Published 10:05 am Friday, April 19, 2013

Similarly to what the newspaper said would be the case when Brigham Anderson became the county’s new prosecutor, new Ironton Police Chief Dan Johnson will have to spend a significant amount of time and energy fighting perceptions instead of crime.

Johnson, who was tabbed to lead the department earlier this week, has more than 25 years of law enforcement experience with the Air Force and the city department.

It will take everything the officer has learned in those roles to overcome significant obstacles as the city’s police chief, not the least of which are operating shorthanded and stemming what appears to be a growing tide of diverse crimes.

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But perhaps the biggest challenge — and in some ways the most important — will be to change the perception of the Ironton Police Department within the community and re-energize the public belief that the agency is doing all it can to make the city safe.

Talk to citizens of Ironton and it becomes increasingly clear that public opinion of the IPD has taken a hit in recent years, with some of the criticism likely valid and some not.

The problem is that perception becomes reality, justified or not.

But these public image issues can be corrected through hard work, organization, dedication, transparency and a commitment to changing the status quo.

Can Johnson do so? He appears to be as well-equipped as anyone. The true test will be in the results.

Citizens must help support him and help the department achieve this.