By Monroe Roark
A man wanted in Colorado
since 1999 was found and apprehended in McDonough recently thanks to
the cooperation of the Henry County Police Department and the FBI.
HCPD Chief Keith Nichols
recognized four of his officers at a Board of Commissioners meeting
two weeks ago by reading a commendation letter from the FBI
regarding the case.
Nichols said Friday that the
suspect, Torrance Johnson, had been sought for violating his parole
in Colorado after going to prison for committing some forgeries. He
did not know whether Johnson had been living in Georgia the entire
time but the FBI learned of his whereabouts and notified the HCPD’s
C.A.G.E. (Criminal Apprehension and Gang Enforcement) Unit.
“This guy was supposedly
dangerous and had done some other stuff according to his dossier,”
said Nichols. “Obviously, being a fugitive from justice, he was an
escape risk and a flight risk. He’s not Al Capone, but he could have
Some preliminary research led
local officers to begin surveillance on the house in McDonough where
Johnson was believed to be living, and through that work and the use
of photographs they confirmed that they had found their man.
“The guys did a good job,”
said Nichols. “They did some research and made sure we didn’t snatch
the wrong individual. Using pictures the FBI provided them, they
were able to see that this was the same guy.”
When they finally went to the
house to ask for consent to search, Johnson gave them a fake name
and they smelled marijuana. Using a special fingerprint reader, they
were able to confirm right then and there that it was indeed
Johnson, and after getting a search warrant they found marijuana.
Johnson was arrested Feb. 4 on drug charges as well as the parole
Officials from Colorado
extradited Johnson and took him back, Nichols said.
While the length of his stay
in Georgia is still uncertain, Johnson had a Georgia driver’s
license which may or may not have had his real name and date of
birth. He probably obtained the license before more stringent ID
requirements were implemented in the past few years, the chief
Johnson also had a wife who
was not present at the time of the arrest but showed up at the house
some time later. Nichols said his department was not aware of
whether she knew of Johnson’s criminal past or true identity.
Sergeant Dan Blythe and
officers Erin Combs, Nick Jackson and John Gleason were all
mentioned in a letter sent by Agent Ricky Maxwell with the Atlanta
Division of the FBI, thanking them for their assistance in helping
to locate and arrest Johnson.
The letter read in part, “All
of the officers should be commended for the immediate assistance
they provided which directly led to the arrest of a fugitive on the
lam for more than 15 years. We thank you for the professionalism and
hard work displayed by your department. Sergeant Dan Blythe,
officers Erin Combs, Nick Jackson and John Gleason’s outstanding and
exemplary actions in this matter reflect great credit upon
themselves and the Henry County Police Department.”
Nichols said at the BOC
meeting that he wanted to publicly recognize the officers involved
for their outstanding police work.
“I’m very proud of these guys and what they do.
They do an excellent job keeping our community safe,” said Nichols.
“I wanted to share with you and the county what an exceptional job
they do each and every day.”