Arlington welcomes 15th police chief

Posted Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

Arlington police chiefs

Fifteen men have been police chief since 1915. Before then, the city was protected by marshals:


Date Appointed

Pearl Rudd

Aug. 2, 1915

C.H. "Punch" Wright*

Feb. 21, 1916

Walter Norvil

March 6, 1916

Pearl Rudd


Jim Coke

April 14, 1919

G.A. Coke

April 7, 1924

W.M. Douglass

May 14, 1925

G.A. Coke

June 21, 1926

Otto Grimmett

Dec. 20, 1926

W.M. Douglass

April 11, 1927

Ed Collins

April 16, 1929

Linton Lovell

May 5, 1931

Ed Collins

April 24, 1933

A.B. "Ott" Cribbs

April 17, 1934

Herman Perry

Feb. 1, 1971

Roy Ables

Oct. 1, 1983

David Kunkle

Jan. 14, 1985

Theron Bowman

March 9, 1999

Will Johnson

March 18, 2013

*Wright refused to take office

Source: City of Arlington

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ARLINGTON -- Pledging to protect the community and back the officers who serve it, Will Johnson was sworn in Monday as only the 15th police chief in Arlington's history.

Johnson, 40, had served as interim chief since last April, when City Manager Trey Yelverton selected former Police Chief Theron Bowman to fill a vacant deputy city manager position. Earlier this month, Yelverton officially named Johnson as chief because of his proven leadership, innovation and dedication to community-based policing.

"I needed a candidate who I knew was going to work every minute of every day to lower crime and the perception of crime in our community. Someone who would work with the police staff to make sure we were achieving the results the community expects, all while keeping officers safe on the streets," Yelverton said during the swearing-in ceremony at the Arlington Convention Center.

"I can say, with 100 percent confidence, Will Johnson can fulfill those expectations and much, much more."

Johnson thanked his family, city leaders, community volunteers and the men and women in uniform whom he said he was privileged to serve with the past 20 years.

"The outpouring of love and support that I have received has been overwhelming," said Johnson, whose wife, Laura, pinned his new badge to his uniform during the ceremony. "For that, from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you very much."

Johnson, who joined the department as an officer in 1997, served on Bowman's command staff the past five years. As chief, he will now oversee a department with an $86 million budget and 829 personnel.

Arlington City Councilman Robert Rivera said Johnson is not only well-respected among law enforcement agencies across the state, but also he is respected at home by the residents and business leaders who work closely with the Police Department to fight crime and blight in their neighborhoods.

"Chief Johnson will be dynamic public safety champion for Arlington," Rivera said. "He has an incredible amount of neighborhood credibility."

While he pledged his commitment to support and encourage the uniformed men and women who did their best daily to serve Arlington, Johnson told the gathered officers in the same breath that he would discipline any behavior "outside the confines of law" in order to protect the department's integrity.

"If you do what is right, I will be there to support you at all costs. Give it your best and together we will make this community better," Johnson said.

Counting Johnson, Arlington has had only six police chiefs since 1934. Bowman had served as chief the past 12 years.

"Now the baton has been passed to an equally great leader," Mayor Robert Cluck said.

This report contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Susan Schrock, 817-709-7578

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