St. Johnsbury cop writes about policing in the first person

St. Johnsbury Corporal George Johnson (second from left) during his January, 2020 promotion ceremony. Police chief Tim Page (no relation to author) at far right.

By Guy Page
As a public service, Vermont’s police officers write press releases of arrests, missing persons, accidents, etc.. Many deal with the sad, tragic, all-too-common subject of intoxicated people hitting other people, often family members. There are so many “domestic dispute” reports that most newspapers (including VDC) don’t print many of them. After a while, they all start sounding the same. 

But one police officer is doing his part to change that. 

St. Johnsbury Police Department Corporal George Johnson’s press releases depart from the canned style taught at the Dragnet Joe Friday School of Cop Speak – “This officer advised the individual to cease and desist” – in favor of a more first ‘you are there’ first-person perspective. 

A member of the Vermont National Guard who has served overseas while being employed by STJPD, Johnson was promoted to corporal in January 28, 2020. That day, on a social media post, a St. Johnsbury resident said, “Corporal G. Johnson is #1 Lifesaver in my book. The youth in town think very highly of him as I do and the community.”

Johnson’s police reports are just as accurate and factual as the typical press release, perhaps even more so. What makes them so different, so refreshing, is his ability to give the reader a sense of what it’s like to serve as a police officer in a small-town police department. For example, read his latest work:

“On 08/09/2023 I was working as a uniformed police officer for the town of St. Johnsbury, Caledonia County in the State of Vermont.

“At approximately 2105 hours, a resident of 223 Railroad Street in St. Johnsbury called the St. Johnsbury Police Department.  Stating that his neighbor’s Dylan Stapelfeld and a female are in an altercation and that Stapelfeld had thrown a chair.  I was also informed by dispatch that Stapelfeld had active conditions of release to include a no Alcohol condition.  

“As I responded, I observed a female carrying a newborn infant walking fast on Railroad Street and being pursued by a shirtless Stapelfeld. Stapelfeld appeared to be yelling and angry and the female appeared afraid and upset. 

“I stopped and interjected myself between them to prevent him from pursuing her further.  I observed blood on Stapelfeld’s chest.  I asked him if he was “Dylan” and he lied twice stating that he was not. Stapelfeld’s eyes were bloodshot and watery and his breath smelled of intoxicants.  Stapelfeld then tried to walk away and I grabbed his arm to detain him. I asked Stapelfeld how much he had to drink and he replied “I’m going home.”  Stapelfeld later provided a breath sample that registered his BAC at .214.

“I asked the female if the blood on Stapelfeld’s chest was hers or his. she replied “His from his finger. He got sent home from work and he’s been causing problems because he’s been drinking.”  I later observed blood on the infant’s clothes.

“The female later stated that Stapelfeld had chased her down the road and “He was following me, hitting me as you were pulling up.” It should be noted that Moquin-Johnson had the newborn infant strapped to her chest during this time and in her arms.  

“Stapelfeld was arrested and transported to the St. Johnsbury police department. Judge Jiron was contacted and he ordered that Stapelfeld be released with new conditions and a new court date of 08/14/2023.”

There’s so much there – the terrified woman, the [alleged] abusive pursuer, the ‘catch and release’ judicial system. This is part of the job, every day, for the Vermont police officer. Johnson is doing his best to help non-police officers understand. 

More of Corporal Johnson’s compelling non-fiction narrative can be read at the St. Johnsbury Police Department blog

Categories: Media, Police Reports

4 replies »

  1. I wonder what the judge would have done if it were his daughter and grandchild envolved? This judge needs to go!

  2. Congratulations Corporal Johnson ! It was my privilege to work with George while he was a Security Officer for the SOV in Montpelier. At the time he was living in Lunenburg, and commuting to Montpelier. I don’t remember him ever calling in, and missing a shift, or even being late for a shift. To bad I could not say the same about more of my fellow officers that lived more locally. Stay safe George !

  3. Thank you so much Corporal Johnson for your hard work and dedication to the people of St. Johnsbury and Vermont. Your service is greatly appreciated and needed.

    Corporal Johnson was a student of mine in a nutrition class through the Vermont State Colleges. Not only was he a hard working student who aced the class, he also had, to this day still, my favorite research paper presentation ever- he hunted and prepared fresh local partridge with caramelized onions and graciously shared this delicious meal with the class. Keep up the great work Corporal Johnson and thank you for your ongoing bravery and service.

  4. According to the “official” “ad hoc” “unelected” law enforcement justice task force committee review board fake authority council, where was the social worker? Will they be issuing a report reprimanding Corporal Johnson for doing his job, pick his actions apart and put him on administrative leave? Being there are a dozen or more law enforcement fake authority committees, councils, boards, and task forces; there has to be at least one that will find fault on the Corporal’s actions and his reporting. How dare he de-esculate and put public safety first? How dare he grab the suspect’s arm? Did he use the proper pronoun when addressing the victim, the baby or the suspect? Did he misuse punctuation in his report? Was a t uncrossed or an i not dotted? Rest assured, in despot Vermont, no good deed goes unpunished. Take it to the bank – if it’s open or solvent. Thank you for your service Corporal Johnson. May God bless you and protect you from the State jackboots.