Off duty police chief hurt in freak accident

BENNINGTON, Neb. (WOWT) - A veteran lawman has been seriously hurt in a freak accident while off duty. Now, the community he’s helped for many years wants to return the favor.

Bennington’s small police force is down a man, and he’s a good one.

"Les Johnson has always given everything to the community,” said Bennington police Sergeant Tim Pittman.

Chief Johnson fell while working inside a Waterloo storage unit earlier this week. Luckily, his daughter was nearby to call a rescue squad.

"Some sort of accident happened causing a fall where he sustained some serious head injuries and spinal injuries," said Pittman.

Johnson has been Bennington’s police chief for 13 years.

The owner of A-Bee’s Rentals in downtown Bennington said he hopes the Chief will be back patrolling the town.

"He gives you that big wave of his as he drives down the street. Its unfortunate this had to happen. He’s one of the best I've had in this city for protection of the community," said Doug Stephens.

Protection that won’t drop off.

"The Douglas County Sheriff and Nebraska State Patrol have been phenomenal stepping up to give us an extra hand," said Pittman.

Pittman is the only other full-time Bennington officer, but a reserve and five part-time cops help provide coverage. The mayor, Matt John, said two more part-timers may be added and another full-time officer if next year's budget allows

While Chief Les Johnson is expected to make a slow recovery, he’ll likely face expenses that are beyond what insurance will cover. A fund has been set up for him at the Bank of Bennington. The information is below.

Injured Officer Fund
Chief Les Johnson
Bank of Bennington:

  • 156th St. & Highway 36
  • 156th St. & Spaulding