- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

EDWARDS, Miss. (AP) - Louis Johnson is retiring Thursday as police chief in Edwards but he won’t be slowing down.

Johnson said he’ll spend more time coaching and mentoring kids in the community. He currently coaches five youth basketball teams.

Johnson has been police chief for 38 years of the 39 has worked for the police department.

“I’m 62 years old, and I think it’s time for me to do something else like spend more time with kids like I like to do,” Johnson told The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/1CnNzz9 ).

Johnson began coaching baseball and basketball before donning the uniform and badge. The interaction over the decades has built a bond between the small community and its police force.

The relationship between Johnson and his police force and the community often keeps skirmishes in check.

“When it’s a fight between kids or something, most people would have to spray them with Mace to break them up, but I just have to drive up and say, ‘y’all cut that out,’ ” he said with a laugh.

Johnson’s coached boys and girls, black and white, and many of them have gone on to play high school and college ball. He’s even coached three generations in some families.

“He coached all my uncles, and now he’s coaching some of my cousin’s children,” said Edwards Officer Terence Crump. “He started with our parents and with us and now our next generation of kids.”

Mayor Marcus Wallace, before he was even a teenager, was one of Johnson’s ballplayers. He said it has been an honor to have him as a coach, a police chief and a fellow city official.

“Chief Johnson has been a pillar in the community for a number of years, and not just as the chief of police,” Wallace said. “He’s been a father figure to a lot of kids. He has truly served this state and the town of Edwards extremely well.”

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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