TRIBUTES have poured in for popular Westbury police officer PC Mike Johnson, who died suddenly on Monday 3rd of August.
PC Johnson, 46, collapsed at Westbury Police Station after jogging to work and was assisted by two of his colleagues who administered emergency first aid. Sadly, the Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) beat manager for Westbury’s rural area died before reaching the Royal United Hospital by air ambulance.
His fiancee Sarah Kaufmann, a fellow PC said, “We have had so many cards and calls from people, it has been unbelievable. The support we have received from the police has been fantastic too.
“We will miss everything about Mike. He was always laughing and never complained about anything. He was a fantastic father to both his and my children and we were an extremely happy family. Our time together has been cut tragically short but this last year has been the happiest time of my life.”
The couple got engaged during a romantic trip to Venice in February and were to marry next year. Just a week previously the couple had moved in together in what Sarah described as their dream house. She said, “He made me laugh so much. Around the house he was always singing or whistling, and having a laugh. It was a running joke that he was always late for everything. If he said he would be home at 7.30pm you knew he would be home at 8.00pm. You could always depend on him though, if he said he would do something, you knew he would do it.
“He was who he was – there were no airs and graces with him. He got on with everybody and he could relate to people, which is what made him so good at his job. People would talk to him but perhaps wouldn’t talk to other police officers because they felt they had an understanding with him. He always had time for people, whoever they were.
“He never complained or moaned about anything – he was always upbeat, positive, and happy. He was just a fantastic guy. There is nothing that he could be faulted on. I am 43 and I have had the happiest year of my whole life with him.”
Mike leaves two children, Alice, 18, and Alex, 13. His daughter, Alice said, “He was just such a fantastic dad.” He will also be sadly missed by Sarah’s three children Laura, Emily, and Rebecca.
Sarah said “Everything in his life revolved around his children. I can’t tell you how much he adored his two children, then when I entered his life, he took on my children and showed them so much love and they loved him too.”
A serving officer since 1987, PC Johnson will be remembered as a popular and visible presence in the community who was dedicated to his work. With 22 years in the force he was due to receive his long service award next year.
“He loved his work and cared so much about the people in his villages,” said Sarah.
Inspector Dave Minty, sector head for Warminster and Westbury, said, “Mike was an exceptional officer who made time for everyone. He was always upbeat and was never afraid of a challenge. As a colleague and friend he was ever the entertainer and his fellow officers and I will miss his great sense of humour.”
Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Luke Breedt, who worked on the NPT with Mike for three years said, “We achieved a really good rapport and working relationship with all of our communities and that was down to Mike. His nature and his manner of policing was well received by everybody. I learnt everything from Mike and I will miss him greatly.”
Westbury’s internet forums have received a number of posts from members of the community who wished to pay their respects:
“‘He was a professional copper who cared, giving up his own time for the community, always friendly, always helpful and always saw good in others. A great loss, my thoughts go out to his colleagues, family and friends, a lot of people can learn from his example.
“Mike was a great chap who served the surrounding Westbury villages with warmth , compassion and care for all , personally he will be in my mind a great loss to our community , and indeed the people who had the pleasure of meeting and working with this man.”
“Mike Johnson was a gentleman who took an immense amount of pride in providing a service to his community.”
“A very popular police officer and great character.”
“I think even the criminals liked him.The town has lost a very good police officer and he will be sadly missed by the community.”
Uniformed officers escorted the coffin of PC Johnson to Semington Crematorium for his funeral on Tuesday afternoon.