Chief of Police Samuel A. Johnson, Sr.

Chief of Police Samuel A. Johnson, Sr.

Dexter Police Department, New York

End of Watch Friday, September 11, 1987

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Samuel A. Johnson, Sr.

Chief Samuel Johnson was shot and killed when he was ambushed while responding to shots fired call on Pillar Point at 6:30 pm.

A man had just murdered a friend and then went to a nearby intersection and set up an ambush. As Chief Johnson responded to the shots fired call, not knowing a murder had been committed, he slowed at the intersection to turn when the suspect opened fire on him with the shotgun. Chief Johnson's patrol car ran into a guard rail, where the man came up and shot him several more times before stealing his radio and service weapon. After other units failed to reach Chief Johnson on the radio, they went to investigate and found where he had been shot.

After a high-speed pursuit, the suspect was shot several times and wounded. He pleaded guilty for the reason of insanity and was committed to a state hospital.

Chief Johnson had served with the Dexter Police Department for 13 years. He was survived by his wife and five children.

The State Highway 180 Bridge was renamed the Samuel A. Johnson Memorial Bridge.


  • Age 55
  • Tour 13 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Monday, September 7, 1987
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Committed

ambush, shots fired call

Most Recent Reflection

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I was there on Piller Point that night. Sam was my partner. We worked together in Brownville, Dexter, Glen Park, Police Dept. That was a bad night. Sam will never be forgotten. He was a good man and a good Police Chief. RIP BROTHER. 9/11/87.

Retired Deputy Police Chief.
Glen Park, Brownville, Dexter, Police Dept.

September 12, 2023

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