LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Retired Lakewood Police Chief Charles Johnston died over the weekend “after a valiant battle with cancer,” the department said Monday.
Johnston, 78, spent 30 years with the Lakewood Police Department, with nearly 20 years as the chief.
During his time, he headed every division and also served a two-year term as acting city manager. He’s responsible for a department name change, making the switch from the Lakewood Department of Public Safety to the Lakewood Police Department.
The Vietnam veteran’s honors included four Bronze Stars for heroism, the Purple Heart and the Air Medal for 50 helicopter missions.
Johnston was also a dedicated booster for Special Olympics Colorado, and he was elected into their Hall of Fame for helping to raise $200,000 for the program.
“Chief Johnston will be remembered as a strong leader with an incredible sense of humor who transformed the Lakewood Police Department into who we are today,” a statement from the Lakewood Police Department says. “Our hearts are with Chief Johnston’s family at this difficult time. Thank you for your service Chief. We have the watch from here.”