OKLAHOMA CITY – In support of law enforcement, legislation developed with the assistance of a fallen Tulsa police officer will be named after him next session. Sgt. Craig Johnson, a 15-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department, was shot early Monday morning after a traffic stop went wrong. He later died from his injuries.
Johnson was the Tulsa lead on a statewide coalition working on legislation and policies regarding copper wire theft, which has increased in recent years due to its variety of uses and high market price. The statewide coalition involves businesses, utilities, construction, builders, municipalities, schools, churches, scrap metal dealers and law enforcement and is headed by Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa.
Bush said Johnson spearheaded the coalition as the Tulsa lead and provided valuable insight from his experience from the front lines.
“Sergeant Johnson would often work a double shift and drive down for coalition meetings or legislative committee meetings. The only thing he asked for in return was a fresh cup of coffee to make it back home,” Bush said. “He was selfless when it came to serving his community and state. There is no greater hero than Sergeant Johnson, and I know he will be greatly missed by myself, other coalition members and members of the Tulsa Police Department.”
Bush said she plans to refile the legislation in the upcoming session and will rename the bill in his honor. The original bill, House Bill 3031, was passed by the House prior to the legislative session being interrupted by COVID-19 in mid-March.
Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, is a former Tulsa Police Department officer and voted in favor of HB3031 earlier this year.
“The death of Sergeant Johnson was a horrible tragedy,” Ford said. “Our public safety officers put their lives on the line every day to protect Oklahomans of all backgrounds, and it’s devastating that what should have been a traffic stop came to this. Our Tulsa Police officers need the support of their community as they mourn the loss of one of their brothers.”
Rep. Josh West, R-Grove, is a U.S. Army Veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“My heart goes out to the family members of Sergeant Johnson,” West said. “I know firsthand what it is like to lose soldiers on a battlefield, what makes this worse, is the fact that this senseless act of murder was carried out in our own country. We must continue to support our brothers and sisters who put on the uniform every day, protecting our communities.”
Sen. Chuck Hall, R-Perry, will be the co-author for the re-filed measure. He passed Senate Bill 1749, a companion bill to HB3031, out of the Senate during the 2020 legislative session, but it stalled in the House due to COVID-19. Sen. Hall plans to re-file his Senate bill renaming the act in honor of Sergeant Johnson during the 2021 legislative session.
“I’m heartbroken over the loss of Sergeant Craig Johnson,” Hall said. “I worked closely with him over the last year to draft legislation in conjunction with the Oklahoma Scrap Dealers Association to curb copper wire theft in our state. Sergeant Johnson worked diligently to bring all sides together on the issue to find a solution for this problem, and it was a true honor to work with him on the bill. I’m excited to once again join Rep. Bush to hopefully get this legislation to the finish line and honor Sergeant Johnson in the process.”
A group of lawmakers also issued the following statement in support of law enforcement.
“We fully support law enforcement, especially when they lose a colleague in the course of duty. As civilians, we are grateful every single day for the sacrifices our public safety officers make. As legislators, we rely on the expertise and first-hand experience of our law enforcement officers across the state to set sound policy,” the group said. “Today, however, we are Oklahomans mourning the loss of one of our state’s finest.
“We will continue to work with law enforcement to develop legislation that protects them from the threats they face daily while also preserving public safety for the communities they selflessly serve. With everyone at the table, we can preserve public safety, support law enforcement and protect all citizens from any injustice while building and strengthening relationships in our communities. Law enforcement always provides a valuable perspective, as evidenced by Sergeant Johnson’s selfless service both on the front lines in Tulsa and here at the Capitol.”
In alphabetical order, the group issuing the statement includes:
State Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon
State Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa
State Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow
State Rep. Ty Burns, R-Morrison
State Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa
State Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle
State Rep. Rusty Cornwell, R-Vinita
State Rep. Denise Crosswhite-Hader, R-Yukon
State Rep. Dean Davis, R-Broken Arrow
State Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa
State Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee
State Rep. Derrel Fincher, R-Bartlesville
State Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow
State Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola
State Rep. Jim Grego, R-Wilburton
State Rep. David Hardin, R-Stilwell
State Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow
State Rep. Ronny Johns, R-Ada
State Rep. Chris Kannady, R-Oklahoma City
State Rep. Dell Kerbs, R-Shawnee
State Rep. Lundy Kiger, R-Poteau
State Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa
State Rep. Robert Manger, R-Oklahoma City
State Rep. T.J. Marti, R-Broken Arrow
State Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond
State Rep. Stan May, R-Broken Arrow
House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka
State Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan
State Rep. Garry Mize, R-Edmond
State Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Arcadia
State Rep. Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs
State Rep. Terry O’Donnell, R-Tulsa
State Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland
State Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond
State Rep. Daniel Pae, R-Lawton
State Rep. Randy Randleman, Eufala
State Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy
State Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay
State Rep. Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher
State Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks
State Rep. Chris Sneed, R-Fort Gibson
State Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany
State Rep. Danny Sterling, R-Tecumseh
State Rep. John Talley, R-Stillwater
State Rep. Zack Taylor, R-Seminole
State Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore
State Rep. Mark Vancuren, R-Owasso
State Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City
State Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston
State Rep. Josh West, R-Grove
State Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore
House Speaker Pro Tempore Harold Wright, R-Weatherford