Co-Workers Respond To Police Chief Suspension - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/7/06-Jacksonville

Co-Workers Respond To Police Chief Suspension

The news of an East Texas police chief placed on paid administrative caught one of his co-workers by surprise.

Jacksonville Police Chief Mark Johnson was placed on suspension earlier this week. Johnson has been with the police department for more than 21 years and has been the chief for the last five.

"It was surprise to me to be honest with you, I'm sure it surprised a lot of people," says Detective Phillip Grimes, Jacksonville Police Department.

Detective Grimes has worked at the Jacksonville Police Department for 13 years. He says he is unsure of what's going on.

"I really haven't heard any of the complaints that I could comment about. I didn't make a complaint," says Detective Grimes.

However, just a few doors down Lieutenant John Page says the morale of the department has been an issue for at least the last six months. He's been in the department for more than 16 years. He says since Chief Johnson was placed on administrative leave, the morale has gotten better.

"I think that the morale is 100% better right now and it's again because the officers that work here and the employees that work here they feel that the city has their best interest at heart and best interest of city's at heart," says Lieutenant John Page, Jacksonville Police Department.

Detective Grimes says his morale is the same as when Chief Johnson was on duty.

"Any person that takes a leadership role it's a difficult role. I'm not the chief of police here and until you walk a mile in his shoes you can't judge them," says Detective Grimes.

They would not be specific with us, but both Detective Grimes and Lieutenant Page say they hope for the best in this situation.

Lieutenant Page has been named interim police chief.

The City of Jacksonville has hired a consultant to conduct an investigation and evaluation of the department. No one knows exactly how long that will take.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.

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