A funeral service was held Saturday (March 30) at Clarksville High School to honor a fallen officer who died in the line of duty earlier this week.
Larry Johnson, director of the Fifth Judicial District Drug Task Force, was remembered by colleagues as a dedicated officer committed to making his community a better place to live.
"Larry Johnson is a hero," said Clarksville Police Chief Greg Donaldson. "He gave his life for what he believed in. He gave his life for the badge that we all wear; that we believe very, very deeply in."
The United States Honor Flag was illuminated and placed next to Johnson throughout the service. Its presence honored Johnson as a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Chief Donaldson said as the director of the drug task force, Johnson didn't have to be out on the streets checking on parolees.
"He made that decision that he was going to be out there working hard to protect his community," said Donaldson. "I think that speaks well of his work ethic that he would never ask his people to do something that he wouldn't do."
Pope County Sheriff Aaron DuVall remembers meeting Johnson years ago when both were working as investigators in nearby counties. Sheriff DuVall says he'll miss his friend's smile.
"Anytime he greeted you, he had a smile on his face," DuVall said. "As he was leaving he would always say, 'Is there anything I can do?' and I really knew he meant that."
Johnson's pastor from Stillwell Bible Baptist Church, Jim Goodman, said there is one thing Johnson wouldn't say though.
"He never said goodbye," Goodman said. The crowd chuckled as if to indicate they knew exactly what he was talking about.
Goodman said when asked why he never said "bye," Johnson said it was because he always expected to see the person again.
"Larry, you'll be in our hearts and our minds," said Goodman, "but I will not say 'bye' because I expect to see him again."
Johnson was laid to rest at Patterson Springs Cemetery in Oark. He is survived by his wife, three sons, two daughters and seven grandchildren.