Robbery Reveals Ridgeway Police Deficiencies

RIDGEWAY – The Town of Ridgeway is once again a one-cop town, and that officer, Don Johnson, is only part-time. It was during Johnson’s off hours last week that the Dollar General was robbed by a pair of armed assailants who held store employees and their family members at gunpoint while making off with $650 in cash. During Town Council’s Oct. 10 meeting, Johnson requested additional police equipment, including assault weapons, as well as a second officer.

“I’m not trying to break the bank, but we’ve got a bank in town and if anyone were to rob it, they’d have a lot better stuff than I’ve got here,” Johnson told Council as he patted his holster.

Johnson’s requests came less than 24 hours after two men armed with shotguns robbed the Dollar General at 260 N. Dogwood Road. Ridgeway’s sole police officer also requested a new computer, fax and copy machine for the police station, as well as an in-car camera for the patrol car. According to his report to Council, Johnson responded to 13 calls last month, issued 16 citations and 16 warnings.

Johnson has been on his own since Sept. 19, when former Chief of Police James Ashford resigned. Ridgeway Mayor Charlene Herring said Ashford was looking for full-time work, which Ridgeway could not afford. Ridgeway went to a part-time Police Department in August of 2011, cutting Ashford’s hours in half in a money-saving move for the Town’s budget. Council hired former Highway Patrolman Greg Miller as a second part-time officer in January 2013, but Miller left several months ago to serve as a deputy with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office.

Last week, Herring said Council would take Johnson’s requests under consideration.

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