Newberry County Sheriff Officer Major Todd Johnson of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office was awarded the Strom Thurmond Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement on Friday.
The award is presented by the United States Attorney General for South Carolina and the Strom Thurmond Foundation. It is presented annually to those who exemplify the highest standards of law enforcement service and standards in the field.
Johnson was presented the award for his outstanding leadership in areas such as school safety, technology, and implementing new programs through grant funding.
“Todd is most deserving of this award,” said Sheriff Foster. “He is a true team player who is passionate about all that he does. He is a great asset to the Sheriff’s Office, his church, and all that he does and I am very proud of all that he has accomplished,” said Sheriff Foster, who is a previous receipt of this prestigious award.
“I am so blessed,” said Johnson. “God has put so many people into my life and simply poured out his blessings of me. I accept no credit for what I have done or accomplished but rather pray that God would get the glory from all that he has done for me.”
“I would like to thank Sheriff Lee Foster for being a great leader and for giving me the opportunity to work for this great organization and for all that he has done for me. I would also thank my family, my church family, and so many of those I am blessed to work with who are definitely the ones who made this possible. It is not possible for one person to win this award, but it takes a true partnership of all working together to truly succeed. Chief Deputy Jerry Wright, Major Danny Gilliam, Captain Wesley Boland, Randy Epps, Chief Robert Stewart, and so many others have impacted by life so much and I thank God for each of them. I would also say that God has placed great spiritual leaders in my path men like David McKee, Ike Bledsoe, Steve Young, and again Randy Epps. It is amazing how God always puts the right people in the right place at the right time!”
Johndon, who is also paster of Masters Baptist Church, makes his home in Whitmire with his wife Kerry.
He says that his wife is the glue that holds their family together keeping the home functioning while he is away so much tending to his various duties and responsibilities. They recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and have three adopted children: Joshua, 18; Kaitlyn, 15; and Andrew 13.
“Kerry is a beautiful and loving wife and mother,” said Todd. “It is difficult for a woman to be married to a police officer and a pastor’s wife is one of the hardest jobs ever. She has managed to fill both those roles and still raise three children to love and respect their parents and love Jesus, who could ask for anything more.”
Johnson joined the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy as a deputy in 1994 after serving five years with the Whitmire Police Department. Since then he has worked his way thru the ranks of the Sheriff’s Office from deputy, investigator, captain, and currently major.
Johnson has received state and national recognition in law enforcement for several areas of expertise including having both a professional and personal article published nationally. In addition, he is a member of the National Institute of Justice Technical Working Group For School Safety, which sets guidelines and best practices for school safety across the nation at all levels.
He is seen as a visionary in law enforcement having obtained and/or implementing grants totally in excess of $1.5 million dollars for Newberry County and then spear heading the implementation of those grants on projects such as a new 911 center, laptops in the patrol cars, and electronic fingerprints just to name a few.
Johnson is nationally recognized speaker traveling with the National Institute of Justice and others on a regular basis to present technology and school safety projects that have been implemented in Newberry County.
In 2002, Todd accepted a call to become the bi-vocational pastor of The Master’s Baptist Church in Whitmire. Todd describes the last ten years at the church as an amazing journey with God and a church family who loves him dearly. God has truly blessed his ministry and the church as the church continues to see the lost saved, the wandering the return home, and the saints edified through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The church has experienced tremendous growth, but Johnson is quick to say that the growth is from God because we have a church that always gives God the glory for all that he does as we serve and worship him.
Johnson has received numerous honors in his career. He has been named the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office Deputy of the Year, the Newberry County Exchange Club Law Enforcement Officer of The Year, the Bill Shealy Award for Outstanding Leadership, and recently received the Exchange Club Book of Golden Deeds Award for a lifetime of public service.
He is a two time past president of the Whitmire Ministerial Association and three time past president of the Whitmire Lions Club. He is currently chairman of the School Improvement Council for Whitmire Community School.
In his spare time, Johnson loves officiating little league and high school sports. He just completed his 26 year of officiating high school football.
Johnson has worked regular season, playoff and state championship games in football, basketball, and baseball. In 2010, he worked a state championship game, the North South All Star game, and the Shrine Bowl on consecutive weekends.
This year Johnson worked the Big 16 State Championship game at Williams Bryce Stadium.
Johnson has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Biblical Studies from Trinity University and Seminary and is pursuing a Masters/Ph.D combined program in Biblical counseling.