U officials promote Johnson to deputy police chief

Steve Johnson will fill in for new police Chief Greg Hestness in Hestness’ absence.

by Koran Addo

A week after promoting a new police chief, University officials promoted Capt. Steve Johnson to deputy chief effective immediately.

As deputy chief, Johnson’s responsibilities include filling in for Chief Greg Hestness in his absence, supervising the department’s two lieutenants and maintaining the department’s daily functions.

Johnson, who has been with the department for 25 years, will also continue his captain duties.

As deputy chief, Hestness said, Johnson will have increased access to more of the department’s confidential workings.

In addition, Hestness said Johnson will have a larger role in the department’s administrative functions.

“(The promotion) is recognition of the hard work (Johnson) has done and also for the amount I will have to rely on him to make sure (the department) is accountable and responsible,” Hestness said.

Police officials said the decision to promote Johnson ensures a high level of professionalism in the department because of Johnson’s “depth and breadth of experience.”

University Services Communications Director Lori-Anne Williams said Johnson’s promotion is logical because he has had a strong leadership role within the department for several years.

Like Hestness, who as assistant vice president for the Department of Public Safety added police chief to his resume April 1, Johnson will accept his new responsibilities without an immediate pay increase, officials said.

Hestness said he has recommended a pay increase for Johnson, but it has not been solidified.

With impending budget cuts, Williams said everyone in the department is taking on more responsibilities.

Johnson said he looks forward to his new responsibilities, even though much of his day-to-day work will not change. Before he was promoted, the police department did not have a deputy chief.

“Personally, I’ve been doing work similar to this for a while,” Johnson said. “This just makes it official.”