By Audra Streetman

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – The Lakewood Police Department is mourning the loss of retired Police Chief Charles Johnston. The 78-year-old died over the weekend from cancer.

Chief Charles Johnston (credit: Lakewood Police Department)

Johnston’s 30-year career with Lakewood began in 1970. Before working in law enforcement, Johnston fought in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the Air Medal for 50 helicopter missions.

Officials at LPD say Johnston was responsible for changing the agency’s name from the Lakewood Department of Public Safety to the Lakewood Police Department. The new era at LPD included new titles and agent uniforms.

“He also created a legacy of recognizing our agent’s education and professionalism by working with City Council to adopt a philosophy that police agent pay and benefits would always remain at least one percent above any other police department in Colorado,” the department said in a news release. “He also established our Speakers Bureau, Neighborhood Watch and Citizen’s Police Academy programs. Chief Johnston will be remembered as a strong leader with an incredible sense of humor who transformed the Lakewood Police Department into who we are today.”

Audra Streetman