'Mayor of Gaston Point’ retires from Gulfport Police Department

'Mayor of Gaston Point’ retires from Gulfport Police Department
Retiring Gulfport police officer Windell Johnson stands with Police Chief Leonard Papania during his retirement ceremony on Friday. (Source: John Fitzhugh)

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Community policing is a vital aspect of law enforcement, and retiring Gulfport Police officer Windell Johnson was the embodiment of that philosophy.

Johnson was known as the "Mayor of Gaston Point" during his 30-year career with the department, first as a patrolman and later with narcotics.

Johnson was one of several retirees honored Friday during the department’s semi-annual awards ceremony at the Handsboro Community Center. Other officers, employees and civilians were also honored for their role in keeping the city safe.

Johnson spent a lot of time at Gaston Point Elementary School making a connection with the children there. He said he knows his work made a difference in the west Gulfport community.

“Gaston Point has changed quite a bit," Johnson said. "Everybody is more into each other and trying to be aware of their community as far as helping each other, and I’m proud of the change it has made.”

Johnson said it is vital for the community to work hand-in-hand with the police department.

“Trust is a big issue. The more they trust the Gulfport Police Department, the more they’re able to work with them. We appreciate the citizens in every way or form that they can come in and help us do our job," he said.

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