Becky Johns is retiring after 35 years at the Bay County Sheriff’s Office
BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -
Becky Johns is the Support Services Supervisor for the Bay County Sheriff’s Office. She may be a behind-the-scenes employee but she can’t go anywhere without running into someone she has helped.
“She’s Bay County’s mom,” said Ruth Corley, Bay County Sheriff’s Office public information officer. “She just cares and she just has that huge heart.”
Johns started her career at the sheriff’s office 35 years ago.
“(At) 26 years old I walked in for an interview with two people,” said Johns. “They took me into Sheriff (Lavelle) Pitts office, he never looked up from his desk. ‘Miss Sammons, that was my name at the time, what do you want to do?’ Me being scared to death (I said) I want to be sheriff one day. And he said alright get her a uniform.”
She may have changed her mind about becoming sheriff but her dedication to the job has made her an integral part of the team.
“So I was hired and then I went into the radio room,” said Johns. “Back then it was punch cards and we wrote our own logs. Today I couldn’t work 9-1-1.”
Back then she also had quite the paycheck.
“I made $5.16 an hour, and I said woohoo I was rolling in it,” said Johns.
She didn’t stay in the radio room very long.
“They put me in investigations. Two weeks later they split up investigations. Half were going into records and half would stay in investigations. So I was the records part and that’s where I started and I’ve been there ever since,” said Johns.
However, records isn’t all Johns has tackled in the past three decades. Her passion is Project 25, a sheriff’s office sponsored event that raises money to buy Christmas presents for local needy kids.
“It’s my heart. That is my heart,” said Johns. “Of anything that I have ever done in my life. It’s the kids. When we did parties where they would come to us and watching these babies walk in with no shoes, no shirt. Until you’ve experienced it you have no idea.”
It’s a project she will have a tough time giving up.
“The sheriff (Tommy Ford) said I can come back and do Project 25 until I can’t do it no more,” said Johns. “It’s a joke (co-workers tell) Miss Becky will be going around Wal-Mart at 90 years old telling us what to do. Lo and behold if I’m alive at 90 years old I’ll be doing it. I might not be in charge of it...well probably will...probably.”
Love for law enforcement now runs in the family.
“I have just absolutely loved my career,” said Johns. “My kids have been involved with this agency. My son actually works here (as a deputy). He was in shopping carts through Project 25 along with my daughter (when they were kids.) Now their kids are involved with Project 25 and they love it.”
Her favorite memories are connected to Project 25.
“We were shopping for Project 25 and a young kid came up and he said Miss Becky and I said yes. It was crazy in there. He said I was one of your children from Project 25 and I want to give you this $20 to give back. That’s a good memory,” said Johns.
One she will be taking with her as she tackles a new project in her life...retirement.
“They told me the other day you have to do an exit interview. That’s where you tell them how you feel. I said okay, mine ought to be pretty cut and dry hung up on the wall for people to see because I don’t have anything bad at all [to say],” said Johns.
So what does she have planned with all that free time she’ll soon have?
“Neysa, anything that I want to do I’m gonna do it,” said Johns. “I’m probably gonna be on grandma patrol.”
But for the last few days she has behind her desk at the sheriff’s office, she’ll be thinking more about the past than the future and those who have made a lasting impact on her life.
“I’ve worked under six sheriffs,” said Johns. “All of the sheriffs I’ve worked for I have loved. They’ve all been so good to me. I cannot tell you of one sheriff that I didn’t care for. I have loved every one of them. They have always been there for me, for my family. What more could you ask for? It’s a family here bottom line..”
A family she will continue to support.
“That’s what I can do for them, pray for these guys on the road because they have been my life,” Johns said. “I love my job. It’s gonna be tough. The people is what I’m gonna miss. I will miss this place so much.”
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