Peers remember former sheriff

Published 6:23 pm Friday, July 20, 2012

The Chilton County Sheriff’s Department and the Clanton Police Department lost a former long-time employee Thursday.

James Earl Johnson, 73, of Clanton dedicated 46 years of his life to law enforcement, serving as a Chilton County sheriff’s deputy and chief deputy, Clanton police chief, Chilton County tax assessor and Chilton County sheriff.

Billy Maddox, who worked with Johnson at the sheriff’s department, said he also helped with the Chilton County Rescue Squad and the Boys and Girls Ranch.

“He was a man that always had interests for other people,” Maddox said. “If he could help a person, he wanted to help them. He was just a man who loved doing what he was doing – law enforcement.”

According to Maddox, Johnson established numerous neighborhood watch programs in the county.

“He was a great man to work for,” Billy said. “He was always available if you needed him. He was just a man who loved his county and what he was doing in it.”

Keith Maddox, Billy’s brother and deputy chief at the Clanton Police Department, said Johnson was instrumental in sparking his and Billy’s interest in law enforcement careers.

“I have great admiration for all the things he did while he was here,” Keith Maddox said. “He’s served the community for decades. He was really a good man and has meant an awful lot to this community.”

Surviving are his wife, Bettie Johnson of Clanton; daughter, Pam Mallery of Clanton; and son, Wade Johnson, a police officer in Clanton.

Services for Johnson will be held Saturday, July 21 at 11 a.m. at Liberty Hill Baptist Church with the Rev. Kent Dodson officiating.

Friends will be received from 9–11 a.m., Saturday, July 21 at Liberty Hill Baptist Church.

Interment will follow in Liberty Hill Baptist Cemetery in Clanton, with Martin Funeral Home directing.