Kingsport Times-News: Video and photos: Former CHPD chief attributes resignation decision to 'political environment'

Video and photos: Former CHPD chief attributes resignation decision to 'political environment'

Jeff Bobo • Sep 20, 2018 at 7:30 PM

CHURCH HILL — In a press release issued Thursday evening, moments after his resignation as police chief took effect, Mark Johnson attributed his leaving to “an increasingly predominant political environment.”

However, Johnson didn’t go into any specific issues that tilted him toward deciding to step down. He only stated that the hardest part of his job was its “political nature.”

There was a big turnout of friends and well-wishers Thursday afternoon for a reception in Johnson’s honor at the Church Hill Senior Center.

He received cards and gifts, including a framed departmental photo and Bible from his officers; a watch and badge from the mayor; and a fire helmet from the fire department.

As soon as the clock struck 5 p.m., however, and Johnson’s resignation was official, he issued a press release explaining his decision to leave the CHPD after 35 years in the department and 23 years as chief.

“The decision to resign was extremely difficult because I still enjoy the management and the law enforcement aspects of the job,” Johnson stated. “For many years, we were allowed to attend position appropriate in-service training. I’ve always remembered a speaker telling an auditorium full of police chiefs to be cognizant of the one or two best and worst parts of our jobs and how it’s normal that they change over time.”

Johnson added, “He went on to say that when the bad outweighs the good for an extended period of time, it’s time to exit because staying negatively impacts the citizens we’re sworn to serve, our officers, our families and ourselves. For me, one of the best parts of the job has been the times we’ve been able to do things that have made lasting, positive differences in people’s lives. I’m also thankful for the bonds I’ve formed with officers, their families, employees, residents of Church Hill and law enforcement officials across the state. We are created to be in relationships. The hardest part of my job has been its political nature; specifically, trying to achieve law enforcement objectives while operating within an increasingly predominant political environment.”

Johnson further stated that he has complete confidence in newly appointed Chief Chad Mosley, whom he described as a topnotch person who will prove to be a topnotch police chief.

Johnson also expressed gratitude to “God for His protection but also for the enormous amount of grace and mercy He’s shown me because I’ve required a bunch and my wife, Tammy, who has remained supportive through the small victories as well as the daily grind.”

Church Hill operates under a strong-mayor form of government where mayors appoint the only committee that can overrule their personnel decisions.

Johnson said he also owes a debt of gratitude to the four mayors under which he worked.

“Although they didn’t have to, they were gracious enough to keep me around this long,” he said.

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