Stephen T. Johnson, a retired high-ranking Philadelphia Police official who served as the liaison between the department and the LGBT community, died Jan. 2 of pancreatic cancer. He was 63.
Johnson served as the department’s LGBT liaison from July 2010-November 2012. He spent more than 35 years as a member of the Philadelphia Police Department, retiring as a deputy commissioner and the head of the department’s Internal Affairs Division. Throughout his career, Johnson was assigned to a number of districts in the city, spent time in the Highway Patrol Unit and was appointed a deputy commissioner in 2008.
As LGBT liaison, Johnson worked with the Police LGBT Liaison Committee to funnel community concerns through the proper channels.
Johnson attended the committee’s monthly meetings and told PGN near his retirement that he respected the organization’s mission and the efforts of its members.
“I was most impressed by how hard these people worked to create an environment of equality for the community,” he said. “I was impressed by their dedication and their work ethic when it came to extending themselves to rectify situations of prejudice in our city.”
Committee secretary Rick Lombardo said Johnson played a key role in that work.
“He made sure that if we had an issue, it was resolved, and in a timely manner.”
Lombardo noted that, during Johnson’s tenure, the committee took steps to extend its outreach to areas and communities outside Center City, a process Johnson supported and helped facilitate.
Lombardo said Johnson was well-respected both by the committee and department, which helped strengthen ties between the community and law enforcement.
“He didn’t mess around. If there was any issue at all, he took care of it. He was a cop’s cop, and a pleasure to work with.”
A viewing will be held from 8-11 a.m. Jan. 9 at St. Cyprian Roman Catholic Church, 522 Cobbs Creek Parkway, followed by a funeral service. Burial will be at Fernwood Cemetery, 6501 Baltimore Ave.