Monday, August 11, 2008

T.E. Johnson

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Retired Albuquerque Police Sergeant Thomas Edward Johnson died at his Moriarty, N.M. home, Aug. 6. He was 75.

Johnson, right, supervises a 1978 accident with injuries scene, as Officer Robert Candelaria, left, Fire Rescue and Ambulance personnel tend to an unseen injured occupant.

Known to his family as Ed, at APD he was “T.E.” but referred to as “the pig farmer.” During the spring, he would bring agricultural reports to briefings. It was not uncommon for him to finish reading the blotter of crime in the area, orders from on high and memos; then he’d announce “a blessed event,” that his barnyard’s population had grown with the birth of sheep or pigs.

He was a big man, one of the changing breed of police. He had been hired at the end of what some called the dinosaur-age. It was a time before the social and civil rights movements of the early 60’s, the Supreme Court’s Miranda Decision, and later, Richard Nixon’s “War on Crime.” The federal government threw a lot of money at law enforcement in the early 70s and it raised standards. New recruits were either already college educated or took advantage of funding to go to school. It rapidly changed the face of policing. Johnson tried to keep up, but seemed to find it difficult.

He and I had a long history dating back to 1972. I worked for him on the Westside of town beginning in January of 1979. We didn’t always see eye to eye. I moved on and he retired shortly thereafter.

He'd served the Albuquerque community for 21 years.

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