Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Celebration of Life: Raymond Leo Johnson, Retired Chief of Police, 1936-2017
By Amanda Scurlock
Published August 17, 2017

Former Inglewood Chief of Police Ray Johnson passes away(Photo Courtesy: Patricia Johnson).

Ray Johnson died August 1, 2017 in Sacramento of complications from Leukemia.  Born Raymond Leo Johnson on April 20, 1936, in Wilton, Arkansas to parents Grady and Lucy Johnson, Ray is survived by his wife Patricia, daughter Ava Palmer (Terry), grandson Terrell Palmer, granddaughter Kyana Palmer, stepson Michael Hogan, grandson Christopher Hernandez, siblings Marolyn “Jan” Walker, Donnie Johnson (Penny), Ralph Johnson, Patricia Johnson Harris (Donald), Karen Lampkin (Roger), and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents, brother Grady Johnson and sister Gwendolyn Carr.

Ray served as a unit leader in the United States Marine Corps from 1953 to 1957.  He graduated from CSU Sacramento, earning his BA in Vocational Education in 1975.

Ray joined the Bakersfield Police Department in 1959, serving as a police officer before joining the California Highway Patrol in 1965.  During his 21 years of exceptional service with the CHP, he performed a wide range of assignments rising rapidly through the ranks from traffic officer to first ever African American Sergeant to first Deputy Chief (division commander) ending his CHP career as Division Commander of the Southern Division.

1988 Medal of Valor receipants: Officers Ron Ragan, Lloyd Smith, Dennis Brown, Sgt. Darrell Jensen, Officer A Slavd, Bryan Mylan, Bill Cross and Chief Ray Johnson (Photo Courtesy: Patricia Johnson)

As the Operational Commander of the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles, he was responsible for the planning, training, and supervision of over 2,000 CHP personnel assigned to provide for the safety of millions of people who attended the games from around the world.


In 1986, Mr. Johnson was selected to serve as the Chief of Police for the city of Inglewood, California He managed 315 employees in the full-service department, which included many special enforcement units, along with its own jail, communication center, disaster preparedness unit, legislative analysis section, I.D. and photo lab, and personnel and training division.  He was proud that his efforts and leadership toward implementing unique approaches to solving the city’s crime and drug problems and bringing the community together, greatly aided the city of Inglewood in earning the prestigious All America City Award.

In 1991, Governor Pete Wilson appointed Mr. Johnson as executive director of the Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice Planning (OCJP).  Reporting directly to the Governor’s Office, he provided advice and recommendations regarding the Governor’s Public Safety and Victim Services agenda. One of the significant programs that began under Mr. Johnson’s leadership was the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Program, which strengthened services to women who were victims of violent crimes and improved law enforcement and prosecution strategies to address these crimes.

He was a member of the Governor’s Policy Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, chaired the California Council on Criminal Justice Committee and the Southwest Border States Coalition.  As Chair of the Coalition, he worked with representatives from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, along with other federal and state agencies to facilitate the development of a computer information sharing system designed to target illegal drug trafficking along the United States Border with Mexico.

Deputy Chief Jim Butts, Sgt Percy Roberts, Chief Ray Johnson (Photo Courtesy: Patricia Johnson)

After serving seven years as the head of OCJP, Governor Wilson appointed Ray as a member of the

Youthful Offender Parole Board in 1998 where he served until he retired in June 2006. Ray has long been involved in a variety of community and law enforcement organizations.  He remained active in the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), International Association of Police Chiefs, National Criminal Justice Association, California Police Chief’s Association, California Peace Officers Association, and the Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County (Life Member).  His community participation also included organizations focusing on youth activities, mentoring programs and services to victims of violent crime.

Ray Johnson (Photo Courtesy: Patricia Johnson)

Ray believed education held the potential to fulfill destinies. He was committed to the purpose and ethical service of law enforcement, therefore, in lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made to the California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation Scholarship Program. 2244 North State College Blvd, Fullerton CA. 92831

Memorial Services are scheduled for August 25, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at Bayside Church, 8191 Sierra College Blvd, Roseville, California 95661

Categories: Celebration of Life | News
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