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We begin with two members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol who embody the phrase "like father, like son."
"To be quite honest with you, I was nervous."
It’s hard rattle the nerves a seasoned criminal investigator and polygraph examiner. But Sergeant Jeff Johnson’s not talking about a case. He’s talking about the moment he handed his son, Cody, his diploma from the Missouri State Highway Patrol academy back in June of 2018.
“And, of course, the Governor is to my left and the Colonel is next to him. And it was almost surreal.”
The younger Johnson works as a road trooper based out of Sikeston.
“Initially, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do”, Cody tells me. But by the time I got to college, I decided I wanted to be in law enforcement for sure.”
“I was proud that he wanted to follow in my footsteps but I was also a little bit nervous by the fact that he’s chosen a career that’s obviously can be quite dangerous”, Jeff says.
Cody does admit, he did sense some push back from one of his parents.
“My mom initially really didn’t like the idea of it. I mean, she was supportive of it. But she really didn’t care for it too much.”
Why not? I asked.
"Just because the fear she had with my dad being in it. And then now me being in the same thing, so."
The Johnsons’ paths have already crossed on duty.
“We’ve actually worked in some capacity together at various times”, Cody tells me.
Doing what? I asked.
We’ve interviewed people together."
It happened when the younger Johnson, still working with a field training officer, got called to a homicide in Sikeston.
“We were assigned a lead to conduct an interview together of a witness in the homicide”, Jeff continues. “It was neat. And it was also a little bit strange because my personal life and my professional life are colliding all at once.”
“It’s different because I mean you’re at work and you’re kind of professional doing that”, Cody replies. “And then your dad’s there. It’s a little odd. But it’s nice.”
It’s also nice to have someone who truly understands the job, Cody says.
“I mean, you can tell someone what’s going on at work and everything. But until they’ve actually been there and done that then, they really don’t know.”
“Cody is a pretty sharp individual”, his dad tells me. “I think he’s going to go far. And he’s just a credit to the uniform, I believe.”
And just like there’s no denying the resemblance between father and son, there’s no hiding the pride Jeff Johnson feels for Cody and his career choice.
“Oftentimes I have trouble realizing that my son’s the age that he is. And that he’s a Missouri State Trooper. When I look at him, I still see my son.”